Taglines: Does Your Brand Really Need One?

Taglines aren’t necessarily good nor are they bad. Most brands don’t need them, but most clients want them. So, are they really necessary? This really all depends on your company and what you want out of your brand in regard to inspiring your audience. While taglines can be powerful when used correctly, they can also be a detriment when used poorly.

Reasons You Need a Tagline

To make taglines work effectively, a brand needs to use them correctly and support them with enough media backing to make them resonate with the audience. “Just Do It” – arguably one of the most recognizable taglines – works so well because Nike invested billions to introduce the tagline and to reinforce that messaging in all future marketing efforts. It also works because it has meaning and supports the brand’s purpose and philosophy. It’s a tagline so powerful that if you saw it alone at the end of a TV commercial, without Nike’s name ever mentioned at all, you would still know it was their commercial. But Nike is the exception – 99.9 percent of brands do not have such power, or money.

Here are three main reasons you might need a tagline:

  1. To differentiate your brand from the competition with a specific message you can own
  2. To help express your brand philosophy, mission or purpose
  3. For visual representation of your brand (more of a design aesthetic reason)

Reasons You Do Not Need a Tagline 

Most people do not remember a brand’s tagline. They either remember the brand name and/or the tagline, but rarely do they associate both together. Why? Because the world is inundated with visual and verbal pollution – the mind simply can’t understand, store and remember all the messaging out there.

Another big problem with taglines is many are similar and do a poor job at differentiating. If you search for taglines using the word “live,” you’ll get about a million of them: “live brilliantly,” “live comfortably,” “live joyfully,” and on and on. But do you know which brands are associated with these taglines? Probably not. When it comes down to it, not even Nike needs a tagline anymore. “Just Do It” is so well ingrained in our brains that just by seeing a sneaker or their “Swoosh” mark, we think of the brand.

Here are three main reasons you might not need a tagline:

  1. If your brand is well-defined and needs no further communications
  2. If your brand has purpose, clarity and knows why it exists
  3. And if your brand is true to its audience – their needs, desires and interests

As with all things, whether you decide to implement a tagline or not, be sure to make that decision with purpose and intent. By remembering your purpose throughout the process, you’ll ensure your tagline aligns perfectly with your brand and that your brand continues to inspire your audience to take action.

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