What is a tagline? 9 steps to create a perfect tagline for your business

Your business likely stands for several values at once: Product quality, attention to service, and the value you provide are just a few of the brand values that double as your guiding principles. A tagline is one of the most essential ways to communicate these values to current or future clients. But summing up your company in a few snappy words is way easier said than done. This Namecheap guide to creating a tagline will take you through the basics, offer you a step-by-step process to developing your own tagline, and provide tips for creating a statement that’s memorable and impressionable.

What is a tagline?

A tagline is a quick and memorable statement associated with your business, brand, or product. A tagline is used for advertising and marketing as part of your overall branding strategy, helping you stand out among competitors and stick in a current or potential client’s mind.

What’s the difference between a tagline and a slogan?

Taglines and slogans share a lot of similarities: They’re both short, catchy, and linked to your business or a specific product or service. However, the two statements differ by their use: Taglines are supposed to be a permanent part of your branding, while slogans are more specific to a marketing campaign. While both are prominently associated with your brand, one has a more permanent place in your advertising and marketing, and the other has an expiration date, even if it’s still memorable to your audience long after the advertising campaign is complete.

Photo by Peter Aroner on Unsplash

Let’s illustrate this with a famous example: Nike. “Just Do It” is arguably the most recognizable tagline in modern advertising history: Just saying it immediately creates an association with Nike. While “Just Do It” is ever-present for Nike, they have introduced other campaign-specific slogans throughout the years. Take the slogan “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” for example. This slogan is immediately recognizable just like the tagline, but is associated specifically with a 2018 advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.

Another great example is Allstate’s use of “You’re In Good Hands.” This tagline is a prominent feature in many instances of Allstate’s logo. However, when the question “Are You In Good Hands?” is posed in a commercial, this is a variant on the tagline that is specific to the advertising campaign — in other words, a slogan — that immediately evokes the Allstate brand and mission.

Types of taglines and 11 famous examples

While there are many types of taglines with as many end goals and purposes, branding experts often categorize taglines into one of five types: imperative, descriptive, specific, provocative, and superlative. Here’s a bit about each tagline type, the “why” behind each, and some examples to help you see these theories in action:

Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

  • Imperative: An imperative tagline utilizes a verb to communicate a command. These types of taglines encourage customers to take action. Nike’s “Just Do It” in the above example is an illustration of an imperative tagline. YouTube’s “Broadcast Yourself,” Hint’s “Drink Water, Not Sugar,” and WeWork’s “Do What You Love” are also great examples of imperative taglines.
  • Descriptive: A descriptive tagline is a succinct statement about the business, product, or service. It is designed to summarize the business’s mission or vision in a way that’s memorable to customers. Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less.” does this quite nicely, effectively explaining to the consumer that the store has many items and options at accessible prices. Similarly, Ally Bank’s “The Better Way To Bank — From Wherever You Are” describes the online bank’s accessibility and ease of use.
  • Specific: A specific tagline underscores the business’s product or service and strengthens the brand’s connection to that particular item of importance. Volkswagen’s “Drivers Wanted” tagline exemplifies that: The car company is speaking directly to drivers that may want to purchase its vehicles. Similarly, Bounty’s famous “The Quicker Picker Upper” speaks directly about its absorbent paper towels.
  • Provocative: A provocative tagline aims to trigger a thought or association between a brand and a desired outcome. These taglines are often posed as questions, but they don’t have to be. One of the most famous provocative taglines is “Got Milk?” for the California Milk Processing Board.
  • Superlative: A superlative tagline awards a place of honor to a brand’s product or service. This intends to automatically create a positive association between the product and being the best in its class. Coors’s “The King Of Beers” is an excellent example of a superlative tagline, and so is Disneyland’s “The Happiest Place On Earth.”

8 steps to create a great business tagline

For such a succinct statement, you may think that creating a business tagline will only take a few minutes, but those few words take a whole lot of work to perfect. These eight steps can help you navigate the tagline creation process.

Step 1: Build your team 

Who will help in the tagline development process? Select individuals in your company who would make great additions to this committee, from entry-level folks to the board room. There are many ways to engage your company, including sending out company-wide surveys to solicit feedback, setting up “lunch and learn” workshops to discuss the tagline, or offering bonuses and other perks to those who participate. 

Step 2: Identify your key values

Your tagline needs to speak to your core values as a brand and as a company, so make sure that your most essential principles are present as you create your tagline. If your company does not have a mission statement, vision, or core values set up, now is a great time to develop those. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and a shaky foundation can undermine your efforts.

Step 3: Identify what you want others to know about you

Simply put, what do you want a potential new client or customer to know about you within seconds of learning that you exist? That feeling or experience should be the bedrock of your tagline. For example, Lay’s tagline, “Betcha Can’t Have Just One,” signals that their snacks are delicious crowd-pleasers — an experience they want customers to associate with their potato chips. 

Step 4: Lead with your heart — consider plays to emotion

How do you want people to feel when they think about or learn about your brand? Do you want them to feel empowerment, motivation, trust, or something else entirely? Tap into that feeling and choose words that communicate that emotion with ease and with clarity.

Step 5: Begin brainstorming

There’s no such thing as a bad idea as you think of new taglines for your company, but there is such a thing as an off-topic idea. Anchor your brainstorming sessions on your company’s mission, vision, and core values as discussed above. This gives you a strong anchor upon which you can build a rock-solid foundation for a quippy and meaningful tagline.

Feeling uninspired? Check out Namecheap’s suggestions for digital tools that help boost your creativity.

Protip: The goal here is to put ideas to paper. It’s okay if your tagline is too long, too wordy, or unclear in this process. These ideas may spark something new that becomes your final tagline, or these rough-around-the-edges options may shine after some polish in the revision stages.

Step 6: Narrow down your options

You may find that you come up with a handful of options, or maybe you have 30 so-so ideas. That’s okay: What’s important is that you’ve come up with several options, even if some are obviously not as strong as others. Collect all your ideas in one place and review them with your team or committee that you assembled at the beginning of this process. You may find that you and your team like words or snippets used in some, or some complete options may speak strongly to you from the beginning. Try to emerge from this process with three to five viable options to choose from.

Step 7: Get feedback and revise

Working alone isn’t always best for creative thought. Share your tagline with other people in the company, or even friends and family, and ask for their reactions. You may want to present it without context to ensure that someone else heard and feels the same thing you do when they see your tagline. Keep in mind that not all reviews will be glowing, and that’s okay: No one option can possibly satisfy everyone. However, if the same themes come up time and again in the feedback, you may need to go back to brainstorming or revisit your initial list of options.

Step 8: Polish and present!

Once you’re confident in the tagline you’ve developed and selected, it’s time to show it off to the world! Work with a graphic designer or the Namecheap logo maker service to add your tagline to your logo. You can also add your new tagline to your website or business cards with Namecheap’s Visual tools, designed to make creative services accessible and easy for all businesses.

Photo by Brian Lundquist on Unsplash

6 tips for a great business tagline

Creating a tagline can be a tall order — keep it short yet all-encompassing, straightforward yet catchy, focused on the “now” yet with an eye on the future. As you try to summarize everything about your company into this single and singular statement, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep it short and sweet

It may be tempting to write a paragraph about the unique value your product or service offers, but one of the main reasons taglines are so memorable is because they are brief. Branding and marketing experts say that you should try to cap a tagline at seven words or less.

2. Be crystal-clear

A tagline needs to directly communicate what you do in just a few words. Trim the fat from your statement and get right to the heart of the matter. The more room for guesswork, the harder it will be to hammer home your message.

3. Think bigger picture

You may offer a certain number of products or a select set of services right now, but that may change as your business grows or evolves. Think about the larger goals for your business when you’re formulating your tagline to ensure that it will remain strong well into the future. 

4. Avoid empty statements

Just because it sounds cool doesn't mean it’s going to be an effective tagline or that it will be appropriate for your business. Meaning trumps the “cool” factor every time, so be sure to steer clear of vapid platitudes and instead choose your words or phrases meaningfully.

5. Be catchy

A straightforward statement may check some of the boxes mentioned in this guide, but it’s way less likely to be remembered after it’s seen or heard. Choosing creative phrasing can increase the chances that someone recalls you long after they first get acquainted with your brand. You can try some of the following methods to help your tagline stick:

  • Rhymes
  • Homonyms
  • Double meanings
  • Homophones
  • A play on words

6. Be definitive

In many ways, your tagline is your business’s “best foot forward.” This is not the time to second guess your standing! Use strong and definitive language to describe what makes your business the best out there.

For example, if you own a trucking logistics company, don’t say that you “help” clients get from Point A to Point B. State definitively that you can do the job well. Similarly, a lingerie startup doesn’t help customers feel confident: They provide the tools to unleash the confidence a customer already has.

Building your business with Namecheap

Namecheap gives customers the tools they need to have a strong and successful presence online. Through its suite of web hosting services, domain name services, and visual maker, a suite of creative tools for entrepreneurs, Namecheap supports customers as they build and grow their own client base, providing attentive customer service and great value.

A tagline is just one essential component of the whole brand-building package, including the logo, brand colors, mission statement, and much more. With Namecheap’s tools, you’ll be well on your way to a cohesive, forward-facing, and future-thinking brand.


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

Join Our Newsletter

Stay inspired

Get all the latest offers, articles, and industry news straight to your mailbox every month.

Need help? We're always here for you.