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How to come up with the perfect tag line

From the Resene Trade blog

A tag line can be a helpful way to promote your business and ensure your clients know what your brand and company is about.

You don’t need an expert to come up with one for your business. Why not have a go yourself?

Here are the top tips for finding the right one that works as hard as you do.

But first, what is a tag line?

A tag line is something that sits with your business name to further highlight exactly what you do and how you do it. Usually, it will outline a main benefit to the customer or client for using your services over someone else’s.

These are a great marketing tool and can help give your brand a little more personality. You can add it to your vehicle, your business cards, your website and any other marketing materials you use.

Explain what you do

When you hear a tag line, can you immediately name the company, or at least what they offer? This should be your main goal when picking those key words and phrases.

For example, one leading company uses the tag line “Better Together”. While these words sound great, you may not be able to guess they are for a power company.

How about this one: “Dairy for life”. You immediately know that the company has something to do with the dairy industry. If you guessed that this tag line is from Fonterra, you would be correct.

Essentially, ensure your clients know exactly what you do – or can at least take a good guess – from your tag line. Ideally, it will add a little about your business as well. For example, you could highlight your reliability by picking a tag line such as “Painters who always show up”.

Keep it short and simple

A tag line should be short enough to fit on a postage stamp. If in doubt, stick to the golden rule: use no more than five words. Many businesses only use two or three, and the brevity of the phrase helps keep your message punchy and memorable.

Make it memorable

A memorable tag line is one that is easy to say and simply ‘sounds good’. Some quick tips to make yours catchy is to try using words that rhyme, or even words that start with the same letters.

Resene’s tag line follows every ‘rule’ so far, and uses alliteration to make it memorable: “the paint the professionals use”.

Think about your favourite companies and their tag lines. What stands out about the ones you can remember?

Double check it’s unique

Finally, even if you’ve come up with a tag line you absolutely love, you’ll still have to make sure no one else already has it!

Try running a Google search with your tag line idea in quotation marks. This will search that exact phrase and see if it already exists elsewhere. If it does come up, first double check to see if another company is using it as a service or trade mark. If that’s the case, it is a legally registered term and you won’t be able to use it. In most cases however, it will be up to you to decide if you still want to go ahead with the line. For example, if a small company in Utah also has it, you’re probably fine to use it in Australasia, whereas if someone has already thought it up in Wellington, you may be better off coming up with something unique.

Use it

Once you have your tag line, make sure you use it – on your vehicle, quotes, website and more.

And if you find over time that your business evolves and the tag line doesn’t fit as well as it used to, consider changing your tag line to reflect your business better. Even large companies change their tag lines if they find their old one doesn’t fit with where they want their business to go.

September 2019

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