Taglines can be a very hard-working, powerful brand asset. What a tagline is, essentially, is a piece of real estate, but that real estate is so powerful and is often either not used at all, or it’s used to emphasize the wrong thing.
Your tagline works in partnership with your brand name. If you have a brand name that is evocative but not descriptive of your product or service, then I would encourage you to have a tagline that does what your name doesn’t, which is explain what you do. If you have a functional name, then your tagline might, again, do what your name doesn’t do, which is bring some zing, some panache to your name-tagline partnership.
Another way that I think about what the tagline should emphasize is I think about: where is our business on its awareness-building journey?
- If you have a low-awareness brand, then you want your tagline to give a handle to your audience. You want a tagline that will help them to see and remember your business.
- If you have a high-awareness brand, then you can have your tagline engage more. It can be more emotive, more interesting, because you’ve already got people understanding what you are, so you can now engage them in a more emotional way.
Here’s an example: Zulily. When Zulily launched, they were a zero-awareness business, actually, and they had an evocative, fanciful name, so they very wisely chose an explanatory tagline: “Daily deals for moms, babies, and kids.” It helped people to understand “What even is Zulily?” and that invited more people into their funnel so that they could become customers.
Fast-forward about four years, and Zulily evolved their tagline. At this point, Zulily was a very high-awareness brand, so they became “Zulily: Something special every day.” They no longer had to explain that they were a daily deal site. They could emote this idea of “Only with Zulily can you have something special every day.”
I would encourage you to really think about “How can I use my tagline in a way that engages customers where they are in their awareness journey with me, with my business?” and to allow it to work in partnership with your name. If you’ve got an evocative name, use a more hard-hitting tagline. If you’ve got a really explanatory name, use a tagline that really engages the hearts of your audience.