Clarify Your Tag Line In 5 Words Or Less
KEEP IT SHORT
A tagline is the few words after your logo or business name that defines your brand. Slogan is the old school word for a tagline. Not everyone has or needs a tagline necessarily (like Target), but if you want or have one, it needs to be short.
I hate to sound bossy here. After all, it’s your business and you can manage it anyway you see fit. But in my opinion, if you’re tagline is too long—then it’s just a paragraph, and it’s too hard to remember.
Being memorable is the whole point of a tagline. Isn’t it? Well, maybe not the whole point. A tagline is a quick definition of your business. Or it’s the opinion or message of your business. It’s the phrase you definitely want associated with your business.
Think of “Have a coke and a smile”, or Nike’s “just do it”. You hear the name, and the phrase automatically pops in your head, like a catchy song lyric (thus the word catchphrase, another synonym of a tagline). It’s just lives in your head. Don’t you want your tagline to go viral like that? Then keep it short.
Not everyone’s business is mega known like Coke or Nike. Still a tagline is important. Even if it doesn’t grace the minds of all humanity, you still want it to quickly convey to the reader or listener what your business does or how you want people who use your product or service to feel when they use your product or service.
If your tagline is too long, people won’t finish reading it- or they won’t recognize it as your tagline. It’s just copy.
FIVE WORDS OR LESS
So why the five words or less rule? Because it narrows and clarifies the focus of your brand’s message. Clarity is key. Have you ever landed on a website or seen a business card and for the life of you had no idea what it was for? What is this business? Did it intrigue you enough to research it? Probably not.
As a whole, people are entirely too busy to devote time to that. The reality of communication today, social media, tv, our phones, texting…is to keep it short and sweet. Hmm, maybe we’re not so sweet to each other anymore- but we should try. (I’m all for promoting more kindness.)
Back to the point, your tagline is not where you wax on about all your business features, services, products or benefits. That’s what you put on your website! (wink, wink)
Consider the slogan (tagline) of the United States that was established in 1956, “In God We Trust”. It’s short, memorable, and directly points to the beliefs we were founded on. It’s printed on all our currency.
Other nonofficial taglines of the USA have been “Let Freedom Ring” or “Land of the Free”, conveying strong emotion and still under five words. But what if the whole preamble to our constitution was our tagline? It’s a tad long for a tagline, don’t ya’ agree? Take a look…
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Whew! Not fitting that on our currency for sure.
TAGLINE TIPS: THE 5 C’S
Yet, I’ve seen business cards and websites use a full paragraph as a tagline. No, no, no. (head slap) I bet the business owners are super passionate about their business and intended to make sure nothing is left to chance. Get it all out there--now. Everything they want people to know all on a 2 x3 inch card though is a bit much. And not great for design. Remember the acronym KISS? Use this to remember how to construct a tagline, but change it to: Keep It Short & Simple.
Shorter and clearer has more impact.
Another rule of five is my tagline tips, the five C’s: Convey, Clean, Clear, Concise, and sometimes Clever.
Convey your brand’s message, in a clean design, in a clear way so it’s easy to understand, in a concise fashion of five words or less, and maybe even figure out how to be clever. Be careful with being clever though, sometimes clever equals confusion, and no one wants that.
Consider also all the places people will see your tagline and I bet you’ll agree it works better if it’s five words or less.
alongside your logo
in your website header, page banner or blog signature
in social media posts
in printed materials (your letterhead or business card for example)
One last thought…
DOES YOUR TAGLINE FIT ON A COFFEE MUG?
If not, it’s time to clear the word clutter and clarify your brand’s message.
As always, thanks for reading! -Angela Meredith of Less Stress Design
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