What is a tagline

A tagline is a phrase, often catchy, that a company or organization uses to quickly convey its brand identity to consumers. Nike’s “Just Do It” is perhaps the most iconic example of a corporate tagline. It’s designed to both catch the public’s attention and tell consumers what a company is about.

How taglines work

  1. More than a logo

    A tagline is used in tandem with a corporate or organizational logo to send a deeper message to consumers about a company's products and values. A logo alone can't always convey the right message to consumers.

  2. It's catchy

    Taglines are almost always designed to stick in a consumer's head, the catchier the better. While some brand logo like McDonalds are internationally recognized, the company's tagline -- "I'm lovin' it -- works to remind customers that they love a menu item and want to keep coming back.

  3. It's aspirational, and more

    Taglines are often aspirational, like Nike's, designed to convey possibilities. They also might be descriptive of a company's products, or use a metaphor that allows consumers to better associate themselves with a company's values.

Why a tagline matters

  1. A few seconds

    Companies have only a few seconds to grab consumers' attention, and the right tagline can be "sticky" and stay with a potential customer long enough to prompt a positive action, such as a product purchase. The more companies get it right, the broader their reach.

  2. Virality

    With the explosion of the Internet and Web-based marketing, companies can shape a message with the intent of going viral. The better taglines push consumers to share messages with family and friends, creating a hive of brand loyalists that become de facto brand messengers.

  3. Differentiation

    Taglines are used by a company to differentiate itself from its competition. Verizon's "Can you hear me now?" is a perfect example of how a company uses its tagline to convey it offers something its competitors cannot -- better geographic service coverage.