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Business Strategy

How to Create a Showstopper Tagline that Instantly Tells Your Clients You’re the One They’ve Been Looking For

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands

It’s finger lickin’ good

Think different

I’m betting you know those taglines and you’ll have no problem naming all 3 brands (just in case… I’ve shared the answers at the end of this post 🙂 

And that’s why businesses have taglines…

Great taglines are just a few words long but that’s more than enough to evoke a brand name in the hearts and minds of ideal clients and customers.

When it’s done right, a powerful tagline can capture the essence of your business and attract a loyal tribe of fans and followers who resonate with your message.

So, your tagline is like a tiny but mighty vehicle…

It transports your brand out into the world and it can instantly give people insight into what you do and why it matters. 

Live Happy, Thin and Free

There are essentially 2 types of taglines — Type 1 and Type 2 — and very different directions you can take with each one.

The Type 1 tagline tackles the basics and it conveys what your business is about or what you actually do for people

A Type 2 tagline is an actionable tagline or what I call a slogan headline. It works like a call to action and it motivates your audience to get off the couch and do something!

So here are some great examples…

Mentorhub is a company we worked with and their tagline is The Future of Online Education.

This is a great Type 1 tagline because it instantly conveys Mentorhub is on the cutting edge of online education — it conveys what their business is about.

You might have heard of Susan Pierce Thompson and her New York Times bestselling book, Bright Line Eating.

We worked with Susan on her company tagline (you’ll see it on the book jacket) and we came up with Live Happy, Thin and Free.

This is a Type 2 tagline where we’re communicating the call to action — the thing that will motivate people — to experience Susan’s amazing Bright Line method.

Our tagline at Live Your Message is Be the Superhero to Your Tribe.

And this is also a powerful Type 2 tagline because it’s actionable… it’s essentially asking you to go out there and lead your tribe 🙂

The Beta Tagline Test

So, when you’re in tagline creation mode, I recommend you put each of the taglines you come up with through what I call “The Beta Tagline Test.”

This is a simple 3-question test:

Question 1

Can your tagline get you noticed?

Question 2

Does it clarify what you do?

Question 3

Does it communicate why people should care?

If it’s a yes on all 3 questions, congratulations! You’ve got yourself a kicka$$ tagline 🙂

So, this is important…

The Beta Tagline Test isn’t a do-or-die kind of deal.

If you get a no on a couple of questions, see if you can get to yes by adding your website banner content or company name.

So, let’s take Live Your Message…

As I said before, Be the Superhero to Your Tribe is our tagline and it definitely gets us noticed so that’s a yes for Question 1.

There’s some clarity on what we do in our company name — you’ll get the idea that it’s something to do with messaging 🙂 

And when you look at our website, you’ll see our navigation menu bar at the top includes items like “Branding and Web Design.”

This adds even more clarity on what we do… so that’s a yes for Question 2.

Then there’s our main banner or “hero banner” on our homepage with this provocative question in big, bold font…

How do you stand out from the noise of a billion websites?

This communicates why people should care… that’s a yes for Question 3!

And so, between our tagline, company name and website banner content, we get a yes on all 3 questions 🙂

One important pitfall to look out for…

Lots of entrepreneurs fall in love with a clever or witty tagline which doesn’t make any sense to their audience and they end up confusing people and getting ignored!

Even if you think you have the smartest, sassiest, snappiest, tagline on the planet, if it’s confusing or unclear there’s only one thing to do… dump it!

So, not all businesses need taglines.

If you have a business name that’s extremely literal — maybe something like Coaching for ADHD — then you probably don’t need a tagline because you already have a Type 1 tagline in your company name.   

But if you’re playing a bigger game and you do lots of different things and have a lot of different offers in your business, then it’s good to have a tagline that helps people get a clearer picture of what you do.

And when you’re ready to create a tagline, here’s what I recommend…

Decide early on if you want to focus on a Type 1 or Type 2 tagline.

Then see if you can answer yes to all 3 questions on the Beta Tagline Test either with just your tagline and if that doesn’t work, think about getting those 3 yes-es with your website or company name.

And speaking of names… 

I know a lot of people struggle with naming their product, program or course and so we created the How to Name Anything training.

This includes an in-depth, step-by-step guide on how to name a blockbuster product, program or service PLUS a laser-focused strategy session with an expert coach who’ll review and give you priceless feedback on the name you come up with 🙂 

You’ll walk away knowing exactly how to come up with a product, service or business name that’ll get you noticed — in all the right ways and by all the right people —  in 5 seconds or less 🙂

Get How to Name Anything here

Before I go, here are the brand names that match the taglines at the start of this post:

  1. M & Ms
  2. Kentucky Fried Chicken
  3.  Apple

Did you get all of them? 🙂

And what’s your company tagline? Is it a Type 1 or Type 2? Does it pass the Beta Tagline Test?

And if you don’t have a tagline yet what are some of your favorite brand name taglines?

Share in the comments below… I read and reply to every single one!

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Francis Wasajja

    Thank you madam Marisa for that article, but when am choosing a tagline does it need to be in line with philosophy of my business or more about my business value preposition?

    Reply ·
  2. Robin Hardy

    Great article, this is so true. So many times we forget the company name, however that tagline is stuck in your head. Definitely has started me to think differently about that tag line, far more important than I had previously thought. Thank you for the nudge!

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks Robin! And certainly…taglines matter 🙂

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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