Create a winning tagline – it’s easy – Just do it!

brainstorm your taglineYes, Nike made it look so easy with their ‘Just do it’ tagline. It still resonates today, yet believe it or not that tagline was launched on the world over 25 years ago.

The tagline was a success because it was short, easy to remember. The meaning was simple and clearly understood. It was to the point, it was bold and it was confident. It was also re-enforced in every single mention of Nike until the brand became synonymous with the brand and vice versa.

Great work! Now it’s your turn.

I’m sure at this stage you will come out with a few great phrases. Even if they seem really clever, chances are someone’s already thought of them or they don’t quite fit all the requirements. So, as we say in the writing world, be prepared to kill your darlings.

Once you’ve verbalised, discarded and cried over the ideas that are floating on the surface of your mind you can get down to some real work. 

Below are a handful of simple tips to help you get started as you formulate a tagline for your business.


  1. Verbal Vomit or ‘Brain Dump’ as I like to call it. As a creative involved in branding this first stage is vital. My approach is to bring the marcomms team together and whiteboard everything, and I mean every single idea, the good, bad and the ugly. Even when the designer says ‘this product makes me think of my little pony floating in space’ (it really happened), write it down. After this has been exhausted, there are two approaches. Many brand agencies will wipe everything off the whiteboard and start all over again. I prefer to leave the ideas up on the whiteboard for a day or two and take some space from the project. It’s also good monitoring people’s reactions as they read through them in passing. After a day or two i get everyone back in a room and go through each one and discuss its merits, or just laugh and wipe off as required.
  2. Determine the audience. As simple as this step sounds, it’s also quite important. The difference between a tagline meant for a consumer and one for a business can be huge. Not only is it important to make such a distinction, but getting as targeted as you possibly will also help refine your tagline into something incredible.
  3. Simplify: The shorter the better. Need I say more?
  4. Focus: What does your audience care about?
  5. Energise: If your tagline appears safe and generic, your brand/product is going to be perceived that way, too. Don’t be scared.
  6. Determine the tone: Is your company serious? Scientific? Do they make fun of themselves? Make sure their tagline aligns with the company’s persona.


There are many more considerations and steps to this fairly lengthy process, and the process varies slightly depending on whether you are an internal team member or an external agency. For example, someone external to the company would have to ask a lot of searching questions at the start of the process such as, ‘Describe your company/product/solution in three words’

Skipping to the end of that process, when narrowing down the short-list of your ‘favourite’ taglines think about what the competition are doing/saying, think about the messaging you are aiming to convey/align to, and think about any challenges your product may have to overcome. If your audience has a preconceived idea that the product is smaller – therefore it must be of lesser quality, or you’ve left something out, a tagline that addresses that concern could be a good way to go. For example, I worked on the launch of a product that was getting smaller and smaller, had all the original parts and was better than ever, but the intended audience were dubious it could still work as effectively. The tagline ‘Compact without Compromise’ was born, addressing all concerns and promoting the benefits of size at the same time.

As I said, there are quite a few steps in the process, (and too many to share on this blog) so if you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at

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