Top tips for a strong strapline

It’s interesting to see so many Google searches by people looking for information about straplines. The terms ‘define strapline’, for example, along with ‘strapline example’ are both reularly used in search queries. It’s obviously something a reasonable number of people want to know about, on a regular basis. So here goes.

What is a strapline?

A strapline is a short statement used to represent the benefits of a business. It’s a short cut encompassing an organisation’s purpose, activities, products or services succinctly, clearly and creatively to deliver an instant, powerful, positive at-a-glance emotional picture.

When do you need a strap line?

Also called taglines, straplines are especially useful when your organisation’s name doesn’t make its raison d’etre clear. Say you’re called Evans and Hope, for argument’s sake. Your business’s name is pretty meaningless. You could be selling anything from weird breeds of sheep to posh knickers or home delivered gourmet cooking. In fact you sell contemporary art.

A strapline comes in extremely handy in this fictional case because it helps time-poor, impatient, busy people identify what Evans and Hope do. The company might choose something like Stunning contemporary art for stylish living and working spaces or Beautiful art for beautiful homes.

On the other hand if your business name already makes it perfectly clear what you do, for example Evans & Hope Fine Art Dealers, you can use your strapline to hammer home your brilliance and desirability in other ways. You might choose something like Eye candy for dedicated collectors or A seriously good investment.

The same goes if your brand is a household name. You can be more creative, less prescriptive. All I need to say is I’m loving it and you’ll think McDonalds. Even though the company name doesn’t give away any clues, everyone knows what they sell. While I’m loving it means bugger all out of context, essentially meaningless, the brand’s incredible power and reach means they get away with it.

What makes a strong tagline?

A strong strapline inspires people to find out more about your business. In a digital context Evans and Hope‘s strapline might make people more likely to visit the website – and stay longer – because they know exactly what the company does and have been told in no uncertain terms how cool and desirable its products are.

What  is the difference between a tagline and slogan?

Evans and Hope use the umbrella strapline Beautiful art for beautiful homes to describe the business itself and what it does in general, bringing slogans into play for specific advertising and marketing campaigns, products or services. For example they might dream up a separate slogan for a featured artist or group of artists: Affordable Brit Art for discerning collectors or Own a Damien Hurst masterpiece in just four instalments.

3 top tips for a strong strapline

  1. focus on the benefits instead of the features
  2. make sure it reflects your business’s values and USP/s (unique selling proposition/s)
  3. use clear, plain language
  4. keep it short and sweet
  5. use it to make your business sound irresistible

Do I need a strapline?

No. Millions of businesses do perfectly well without one. But it’s something that can give your company a tiny boost and differentiate it a wee bit from your competitors. In a crowded commercial landscape, every little helps… as long as your strapline works hard for its living. Which brings us onto crappy straplines.

What is a bad strapline?

Pretentious or obscure taglines are usually a bad marketing idea. Unless you’re a mega-brand you need to dream up something clear, creative and functional. Let’s look at Evans and Hope again. If they used the essentially meaningless Making a difference, for example, you’d be none the wiser. They could sell curtains and blinds, eye tests, financial services, bird food… you name it. It’s just fluff.

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