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A company tagline: Does your business need one?

A great tagline can make your brand more memorable. But the question is, does every company really need a tagline? Here are three scenarios in which a company tagline can add value.

You’ve heard that you need a company tagline… but do you?

It depends.

Personally, I don’t believe that every business needs a tagline. With that said, there are certain situations in which a tagline can add a lot of value.

Before we jump into the details, let’s take a second to clarify what a tagline is — and isn’t.

What is a company tagline?

A company tagline is a short phrase that communicates your brand promise to outside audiences, such as customers and business partners. Typically, a tagline contains just a few, memorable words.

A good tagline is intended to last for multiple years. Unlike an advertising slogan that can have a short life span (often one or two years), a tagline is designed to endure for a series of years.

Company taglines often appear in logos and at the end of ads. Generally, they aren’t used as advertising headlines.

So, back to the question at hand…

When does it make sense to create a tagline?

#1: You have an abstract business name.

You have a really cool business name. Unfortunately, when you share your company’s name with people, you’re met with a wall of blank stares. It’s so quiet you can hear crickets.

To complement your business name, you need a great tagline that clearly and concisely communicates what your company does.

While there are many different types of taglines, a descriptive tagline can be a great choice if you have an abstract business name. Quite simply, a descriptive tagline explains what your company does.

Here are a few examples of descriptive taglines:

  • Mutual of America — Your Retirement Company
  • Raid — Raid Kills Bugs Dead
  • Titleist — The No. 1 Ball in Golf

#2: You’re repositioning your company to reflect new services or products.

UPS is a classic example of a company that has changed its tagline to reflect the evolution of its services.

In the early 2000s, UPS wanted to alter its reputation, so it was known as more than just a speedy shipping company. The company’s services had evolved to include new capabilities, such as supply chain management and logistics. UPS wanted to better highlight its range of solutions.

As such, in 2002, the company replaced its “Moving at the Speed of Business” tagline with “What Can Brown Do for You?” More recently, the company changed its tagline to “We [Heart] Logistics.”

It’s worth noting that in the company’s 100+ year history, the UPS tagline has only changed six times:

  1. Best Service, Lowest Rates
  2. The Tightest Ship in the Shipping Business
  3. The Package Delivery Company More Companies Count On
  4. Moving at the Speed of Business
  5. What Can Brown Do for You?
  6. We [Heart] Logistics

While a good tagline is designed to last, that doesn’t mean it will last forever. As your business evolves, your tagline may need to change too.

#3: You want to carve a niche in a really competitive market.

Whether you’re a startup company or an existing business, a good tagline can help you stand out from your competition.

At its best, a tagline communicates the essence of your company. It conveys what makes you special and how you’re different. It sends the message that you are a leader in a particular trait — such as innovation, reliability, rebellion, or fun.

Here are a few examples of taglines that differentiate a company or highlight a particular strength:

  • Apple — Think Different
  • 7-Up — The Uncola
  • Chevy Trucks — Like a Rock
  • Staples — That Was Easy
  • Hallmark — When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

A good tagline lasts in people’s memories. It sticks in people’s minds even after your ads have faded or people have left your stores. Ideally, people remember the essence of what makes you special.

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Until next time!