13. Tag Line


Words for tone and feeling…

Lying between your core essence and your one-sentence summary is your tag line. A tag line is a phrase, three to seven words long that creates an emotional feeling or adds a descriptive element to your branding. A tag line needs to form a complete sentence.

The most famous tag line is Nike’s: “Just do it.” It is a message that sets Nike’s brand apart from its competitors, none of which have any memorable tag lines.

Also famous is Apple’s “Think Different.” It was exactly the right message for what was then a niche brand, aiming at the market of creative workers who are paid to think creatively.

More often, the tag lines are descriptive. With my own brand, it is Fledge, the conscious company accelerator. That tag line is attached to the brand anywhere and everywhere it fits.

To create your own tag line, start with your one-sentence description, and try taking out words one by one, pruning it down to a pithy, descriptive three to seven words.

For Coca-Cola:

  • The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.
  • world’s largest beverage company… refreshing consumers… more than 500… brands
  • 500+ brands… refreshing consumers… beverages
  • 500 brands of refreshment
  • 500 ways to refresh

When creating tag lines, one-sentence descriptions, and most of the writing you need to do for marketing, remember that fewer words are better. Thus, in all the “messaging” you work on for your brand, use this same process of iteratively pruning, reordering, and replacing words.

Take a moment and look back at the above iteration of the (proposed) Coca-Cola tag line. Imagine this is your company and someone asks you what you do for a living. If you answer, “I’m the founder of Brand X. We refresh consumers with more than 500 flavors of beverages,” more often than not, you’ll get a polite nod and no follow-up questions. If instead you answer, “I’m the founder of Brand X. We refresh the world in 500 ways,” you convey most of the same idea but leave open an obvious follow-up question and hopefully the start of a useful conversation.

Be creative. Remember, the point of your marketing effort is to grow awareness of your brand, and, to do that, you need to get other people besides you talking about your company.



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