In 1993 the California Milk Processor Board was faced with a dilemma. They found people knew milk was good for them, but they didn’t care. Their tagline, “Milk does a body good,” had previously been focused on how milk supported a healthy lifestyle. The new tagline refocused on a feeling of nostalgia; of the universal experience of pouring your breakfast cereal only to discover there’s no milk on hand.
By the late 1990s, approximately 80% of Americans had heard or seen the tagline “got milk?".
“Got milk” is an example of how to write a great tagline. The phrase quickly became a part of pop culture, an enduring reminder that milk is a staple of any American breakfast.
Taglines communicate directly to your audience who your brand is and why you matter. You can write your tagline by learning about what makes these phrases great and enlisting the help of a tagline generator—no marketing team needed!
Know the difference between a tagline and a slogan
Before you can learn how to write a great tagline, you need to understand how taglines differ from another type of punchy messaging—slogans.
A tagline is a brief, catchy statement, while a slogan is a memorable phrase. Both are used for branding and advertising. The general rule of thumb is a tagline represents your business, whereas a slogan represents a product. Take a look at these examples:
A tagline is arguably more crucial than a slogan because it will represent your company as a whole in the foreseeable future. For this reason, you want to put time and effort into the process of tagline writing.
Look to your favorite taglines for inspiration
When it comes to learning how to write an effective tagline, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, take what you love about your favorite taglines, like Nike’s "Just do it!”, McDonald's "I'm lovin' it", or Apple's "think different" and apply these elements to your own tagline writing process.
Consider the work tool Notion’s tagline, “All-in-one workplace.” In four simple words, the tagline represents the comprehensive nature of Notion’s tool. Even the clean, simple style of the phrase reflects Notion’s minimalist visual design.
Take a lesson from Notion by making your tagline short and to the point. Challenge yourself to describe what makes your brand great in five words or less.
Khan Academy is a free online educational platform. Their tagline, “For every student, every classroom. Real results.” communicates not only that the tool is accessible but also that it will deliver value. It shows conviction in the product’s worth and answers why their target audience should care about the product.
Khan Academy’s tagline succinctly communicates WHY customers should care about their product. In your own tagline, be sure to include those vital details.
Or how about this example: GoDaddy is a domain registrar web page where you can create a free website. Their tagline, “It’s Go Time,” is dedicated to the go-getters and the entrepreneurs who use their website. The phrase is a play-on of words that pair with their GoDaddy company name, making it catchy and easy to remember. Try using play-on-words in your own tagline to make it catchy.
Capture the main factor that makes your product great
For many consumers, a tagline is the first piece of advertising they see from a company. You want people to read that line and be engaged. Otherwise, it’s a lost opportunity, and they will likely move on to another brand.
Grab a potential customer’s interest by telling them exactly why they should care about your brand in your tagline.
Don’t try to cover everything—what your product is, the purpose of your product, and why your product is valuable can be a lot of information in a short amount of words. To avoid overwhelming your audience, focus on just one or two of these key elements in your tagline.
Below are two taglines that effectively communicate the main reason the brand is worthwhile:
- “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” With this tagline, the insurance company State Farm clearly identifies its core value—dependability. They’re available for customers when they need them, like a neighbor. The brand doesn’t even need to bring up their industry, insurance, to clarify this worthwhile trait.
- “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good.” Again this tagline never mentions anything about jelly, just that their name is Smucker’s and that it’s good! Their brand, in this tagline, represents quality above all else because nothing else should matter.
The fact that these two taglines have been around for years (and will likely be around for many more years to come) is no coincidence. They make each brand’s unique value crystal clear.
Make your tagline short and snazzy
To increase the memorability of your tagline, keep it simple. Numerous studies have found that the human brain can only memorize a sentence with up to seven items. So if you want your audience to remember your tagline, it should never be longer than seven words. In fact, a copywriting course found that most Fortune 500 company taglines were either 3 or 4 words long.
When you think of a tagline, think brevity. You'll push yourself to use powerful language with a restricted word count, and you won't be wasting customers' time.
Brainstorm taglines with Copy.ai
The hardest part about writing a good tagline is creativity. A brainstorming tool, such as Copy.ai, can provide you with ideas to help you get over writer’s block. It’s comparable to brainstorming with a junior copywriter.
Before you start writing your tagline, you’ll want to have a clear idea of your brand voice. Copy.ai’s brand voice tool can help by providing a series of tones. You plug in your product or your brand name and the description of your product. You can have your brand target a specific audience. By targeting your specific audience, you’ll be able to make the most out of this tool and help you figure out what brand voice is going to best resonate with your audience.
If you need help coming up with the brand tagline itself, consider using Copy.ai’s Motto Generator tool. You plug in your product name, the description of your product, and what audience you’d like to target. Then, the tool uses that data to come up with tagline ideas that fit your target customer and product.
Run the Copy.ai motto generator a few times to develop a list of sample taglines you would consider using. Then, choose the one that best suits your brand or pick a business tagline that’s a close fit and adapt it to match your business’s voice.
If you don’t find something you like after three or four tries, adjust your inputs. For example, change the keywords in your description or give the generating tool even more information to work with within the description. You might also consider targeting a more specific target audience or choosing a different target audience to change the tone of the tagline.
For each tagline you like, be sure to do a quick Google search and make sure another company isn’t using it. Put quotes around the search term, so Google searches for the exact phrase.
Test out your taglines
To find the best option, test out your favorite taglines (try to pick 10 to 20) with a small group of coworkers—to gauge their reactions and the memorability of the taglines.
Make sure not to give them more than 20 options. The more you share with them, the less likely they are to remember many of them.
To do your testing:
- Read a few different taglines to your coworkers and walk away.
- Don't give them any other context.
- After 24 hours or so, go back and see if they remembered any of them.
The ones they remembered are usually the ones you want to go with because those are the most memorable options.
You may find your coworkers come up with other variations of your taglines when they recall them. Consider these different tagline variations as a part of your brainstorm because they may be more memorable than the original versions.
If you work in a remote office, consider sharing your list of taglines verbally with your coworkers over a Zoom meeting. First, instruct them not to write any of the taglines down. Then, after 24 hours, ask your coworkers which ones they remembered.
Based on this exercise, narrow your list to two taglines. From there, you can do A/B testing through an email list of customers. A/B testing is where you expose a portion of your audience to one of your sample taglines and then send your second tagline to an equal number of other audience members. The tagline with the best audience response is the one you choose.
You can also put your two taglines as your email subject lines on separate emails and see which email gets opened the most. The email that got opened the most had the most engaging email subject line, therefore the best tagline. And that’s your winning tagline!
Now that you have written the perfect tagline...what’s next?
You’ve got a catchy tagline that communicates your brand’s value. Great! From here, it’s time to infuse that tagline into your company messaging. You might put the tagline on your homepage’s banner. Or write a social post explaining your tagline’s meaning and how it reflects your brand values. Put it out there and see what kind of response you get.
Luckily, Copy.ai can help you with this social messaging. We have tools for writing hashtags, LinkedIn Text Ads, and Instagram captions. The possibilities are limitless. Try Copy.ai for free today!