The Underground Marketer Podcast

Episode 30 – How to Create a Tagline That Makes Your Brand Stand Out in a Sea of Sameness

The Underground Marketer Podcast
Episode 30 - How to Create a Tagline That Makes Your Brand Stand Out in a Sea of Sameness

Get it Right From the First Try!

In today’s episode, I’ll teach you how to create an effective tagline for your brand, whether you already have one or starting from scratch. The tagline is important because it will appear on all of your marketing assets: website, product, packaging, signs, etc. But you only get one chance to make the best decision. Once you decide to invest in the idea, it will be difficult to change later. So listen to the episode to maximize your chances of getting it right from the first try. 

3 Big Ideas

  1. Whether you have a brand or not, it’s important to start by brainstorming associations. Think about the themes of your business and what you want to convey to your customers and find the right words and images to evoke that. 
  2. Remember that emotion sells. Your tagline doesn’t have to be logical, but it needs to appeal to certain emotions. 
  3. A good tagline sells not only to your customers but to yourself, your employees, and your investors as well because it summarizes who you are and what your mission is. 

Show Notes 

[01:45] What’s the goal of the tagline?

  • It’s to summarise what your business is about, to capture the brand essence. 
  • For example, Nike has the tagline Just Do It!. It’s very useful in sports, where thinking too much about it can prevent you from taking action. 

[02:40] Start making associations and write them down.  

  • Take a blank piece of paper and write down the brand name. Then just brainstorm words, ideas, concepts that someone can associate with your brand. For example, Nike has the swoosh. What is associated with that? Victory, well-done, completed, etc. 
  • Expand this network of ideas until you capture your brand essence. Use visual associations as well, such as images and colors. 
  • Don’t rush the process. Take your time and immerse yourself in the material. 
  • Once you have that network, it will be easy to figure out the main idea about your brand and what you want people to know. 
  • You don’t have to convey logic, but a certain emotion. People will subconsciously feel a certain way about your brand. 

[07:00] Tudor advises those who are just starting out. 

  • If your brand is entirely new and you don’t have everything figured out yet, be imaginative. 
  • Start from the very vague feeling that you want to convey to your audience. Collect images, colors, and other visual representations of that feeling. For example, start by looking at Google images. 
  • You want to figure out how those feelings are already represented and expressed in your culture – you don’t have to invent something new. Find things that already evoke the idea or theme that you want to convey. 
  • After your research, relax for a few days and let your mind come up with ideas. Make sure to always record them as soon as possible. After you’ve collected your ideas, it’s time for decisions. Decide on the logo, colors, values, mission, etc.
  • For the tagline, brainstorm statements that inspire the feeling that is at the core of your brand and portray it outwards. 

[16:00] Test your ideas before going live. 

  • Don’t test on potential clients because they will tend to tell you what you want to hear. Instead, use interviews or focus groups to get accurate feedback. 
  • Look at their reactions. They should have positive reactions, show interest, and enthusiasm.
  • Use the feedback to make any necessary changes. This is how you maximize your chances of success. 
  • You need to make sure that the conveyed message is the right one. The tagline is not important only to your customers, but to your employees and investors as well. 

[19:30] Tudor summarizes the process. 

  • If you already have a brand, start by building out your network of associations and figuring out your brand essence. 
  • If you build a brand from scratch, be imaginative and collect everything that conveys the feeling that you want to evoke. 
  • A tagline is between 2-10 words, so you need to be able to condense your brand essence into it. 
  • You need to get the tagline right because you won’t get a second chance once you start putting it on all your products and packages. 
  • It will be very expensive to change it in the future, so it’s better to invest as much as you can into getting it right the first time. 

Full Transcript

Read The Full Transcript

Introduction    00:00:03    Marketing, explosive growth, and revolutionary secrets that can catapult your business to new heights. You’re now listening to The Underground Marketer Podcast with your host Tudor Dumitrescu, the one podcast devoted to showing new businesses, how to market themselves for high growth. 


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:00:25    Welcome to the underground marketer. This is the place where we deliver the real truth of our marketing and explore big ideas that can help new businesses thrive and grow into big ones. I’m your host Tudor. And today I want to discuss an important topic with you, and that is how to create an effective tagline for your brand. The tagline is very important because it’s going to appear on most of your marketing assets. So on your website, obviously, if you have a product on your packaging, on signs, about your business, on your business card, pretty much on every asset that you’re going to put out there, including people who, for example, for whatever reason, put their logos on cars or vans and similar things, they, most of them are still going to have the tagline there. So it’s super important because you pretty much only get one chance at it because you invest in a lot of assets once you have it.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:01:27    And once they’re created, it’s very difficult to replace. So choosing the right tagline for your brand is critical. And there’s a process that I like to go through to make sure that I maximize the chances of getting the right tagline. So, first of all, what’s the goal of the tagline. So the goal of the tagline is to summarize the main thing that your business is about to summarize the brand essence. If you want to put it in technical terms of your business, you know, to instantly let people know what their business is about. Like for example, Nick had the tagline just do it right, and just do it with something that was very useful in sports, you know, where thinking too much about something actually prevents you from taking action and from achieving what you want to in terms of, um, physical exertion. And it also means the dare to aspire to be like others, you know, just do it.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:02:29    Just be like your favorite athlete or whoever it is that you admire. So that’s an effective tagline. So how do you go about creating that? And I think that you start by getting really clear about what your brand essence is. And the way I like to do that is obviously you have your brand name, whatever that is. So I like to take a piece of paper, a blank piece of paper, and draw a circle down the middle and write the brand name inside that circle. And from that point forward, I like to draw lines out from it and draw other circles where I put words or phrases or concepts that I associate with the brand. So when I hear your brand name, you know, what things do I associate with that? And I’m going to start putting them down. So for example, let’s say that it was Nike.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:03:26    I associated swoosh with Nike. What else do I associate with a swoosh? Victory, well done completed, something like a checkmark. All those things are things that I associate with a swoosh. So then I would expand this network, you know, from circle to circle and expand it to the point where I really build a network that summarizes what the brand is about and what it makes you think about when you do this exercise. It’s also very useful if you have next to you, a visual guide of the brand. So you don’t just see the name, but you can also see some pictures that we present, what the brand is about. Some colors that we present your brand in, that are used in your brand, and having such a visual guide to help you is going to help your brain create more associations that are relevant to your brand.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:04:20    Because the point here is that you want to uncover the associations that exist in your brand, and you want your tagline to be as comprehensive as possible of all those associations, right? So, um, that’s why you want to build the network. And it’s very important that you go through the process. And typically it’s not something that you can do quickly, you know, like all creative work, it takes time. So when I do this, I like to do it over a longer period of time. I like to carry a small notebook with me, where I have the drawing and I keep adding to it as stuff comes to me because the best ideas and the best associations are always those that come to you after you immerse yourself in the material for quite some time, right? They’re not necessarily the ones that first come to mind.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:05:12    So that’s, that’s what you would do. If you have a visual representation of the logo, obviously also have that, not just name to look at and just think about all the associations and make a note of them, build a network out of them and then look at it, you know, and once you have that network, it’s going to be easier to you to narrow down on exactly the associations that you want to embed in your tagline. So after you go through this process and you’ve created the network, then the next step is obviously to try to condense the feel of your brand because it’s, it’s not something intellectual at this point we’re dealing, let’s say with unconscious and people are going to feel these things, even if they don’t consciously realize that that’s what’s going on. So you need to go from the abstract level of the network to immerse yourself in it, you know, and try to get a feel for your brand.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:06:14    What’s the feel of your brand and whatever that is. That’s what you want to convey in your tagline. Typically your tagline is going to be anywhere, you know, from two, three words, to maybe 10 words, 10, 12 words at the most, and it’s going to convey the essence of your brand, you know, and remember that the essence is not something that brainy and that’s super logical necessarily, but it’s more of a feeling, you know, what sort of feeling is your brand communicating that’s at the essence at the core of your brand. So that’s basically the process that I go through. Now, there is something else that you need to do in this process. If you’re actually creating this for a brand that’s entirely new, right? So let’s say that you want to put a new brand out there and it’s never been put there before.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:07:09    Right. And you want to create an effective tagline. So obviously you may not have all the assets in place. Maybe you don’t even have a logo yet. Right. But you think about creating one and you’re asking yourself, how should I go about this process of coming up pretty much with my brand essence? So the way I do this is I also use a network, but I’m going to use it in a way that is a lot more imaginative, you know? So rather than putting a big circle on the page and writing the brand name, and then going off with associations that come to mind, when I think about it and putting other circles, connecting them and blah, blah, blah, to build a network, right. I’m going to do it more imaginatively. Right. So what does that mean? So let’s say that I will start from the very vague feeling that I want people to have.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:08:03    And I start by collecting images, colors, and other visual representations of that feeling. You know? So let’s say that you want to convey the feeling of strength, masculinity, and vigor. So how would you go about doing that? So, well, the first step for me would be to go out and search on Google, for example, or anywhere where I can find images, you know, strong men, for example, and see what sort of images come by and then write all those stuff down. Or maybe even have a folder where I collect them. So probably I’m going to get images of Cowboys, you know, of men, riding horses, men, driving fast cars, men in the gym, men pushing big weight, men training, military, that’s the of imagery that I’m going to get, right? Because that sort of imagery evokes the brand essence that I want to convey. So that’s how I will start if I have to start from scratch, right.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:09:07    If I don’t have anything yet, I don’t have the colors I don’t have. And then you actually have to look at the images that you gather in. That’s how you can help to define everything, the themes that are involved around your brand, and how it’s best to evoke the essence that you have. Right? So you may take, you may really like, for example, a picture with a big muscular guy who has two, two on his arm, for example, and who’s smoking a big cigar, right? And you may go about, let’s say that you’re trying to build a clothing brand here, and that may be who your ideal audience aspires to be. Right. So you’re going to look at how they dress, what colors are they usually surrounded by? You know, so black is a big one, you know? So if you go to gyms, for example, where, uh, there are weights, most of those weights are black.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:09:59    So black is a big color there. You know, what other colors would it be? You know? So maybe you take the picture with a cigar, right? What color is his, the, to, you know, maybe a dark violet or a dark blue color, you can take that color and explore how it would work with your brand. Or you can take the color of a cigar. If you want to add, you know, that’s a light, a dark darkish, orange kind of color could work well. But anyway, this is the kind of exploratory process that I would go through. And the key here is that you want to find how those feelings are already represented out there. You know, so you’re not inventing something, you don’t start from ‘oh I want to convey the idea of strength, masculinity, toughness’, whatever. And then how do I do this? And then start inventing stuff out of nowhere.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:10:49    No, it’s about finding how those things are already expressed out there in nature or in your culture, you know, because there is a certain standard of masculinity in your college culture, that’s recognized. And when you’re doing branding, you cannot afford to invent something new. Because if you invent something new, then you have to teach people from scratch, which is very difficult. And most of the time, it’s not really going to work out. So what you want to do instead is you want to find things that already evoke the ideas that you want to evoke through your brand in people. You know, so things that already Voke the idea of toughness, the idea of masculinity, all these feelings that ultimately represent your brand, because that’s what the aim is. In the end, you want to create a brand and really attack line after that, which really represents all of this.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:11:44    So if you creating from scratch, that’s the process that I would approach after I gathered a lot of material what’s useful is to put it, to sleep for a, just sleep it over. Don’t think about it, block it somewhere, and forget about it. Just do something enjoyable, just do something fun for a couple of days and let your mind sleep on it. Because what tends to happen is that you’re going to have a flash of insight, oh, this is what I must do subtly. And you may have this flash while you’re doing some other activity while you’re in the shower, whatever it is. But it’s very important that when you have it, you stop and you go and record it because usually, these kinds of thoughts that are coming from your unconscious are very powerful because it relies on all your intuition and your intuition is able to put a lot of different pieces of knowledge that you cannot wrap your head around all of them together.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:12:41    Right? And he does this very quickly and you don’t know how he does it because it’s an unconscious process, but it does it. So it’s best if you can make use of this process. And that’s why I say, let it sleep for a while and then go back to it, record it. Whenever ideas come to you, just hold a notebook around you and record them. And after that obviously return to it and make some decisions, make some decisions about the logo, which is an emblem that could represent what you’re standing for, make some decisions about the color and make some decisions about the values that your brand is going to stand out up for. It’s also useful at this point to write the mission for your brand, you know, what you’re trying to achieve and why. And again, draw that mission out from the materials that you’ve gathered.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:13:28    You know, don’t try to come up to it and invent it or whatever, just draw it out of the materials that you’ve gathered. What do those materials demand? You know, what does that kind of lifestyle, Musk, masculine, strong, vigorous, whatever, what does that life demand out of people? And that’s how you pull it out. Once you have that, then the next step obviously is to play around with your tagline. And again, I would just brainstorm here, but I would brainstorm about statements that inspire the kind of feeling that is at the core of your brand. And that portrays the kind of character that your brand really represents. And it’s going to take a while again to do this. Typically I go through multiple brainstorming sessions, especially for a new brand and I let it sleep again after a while. And then I ended up picking one of them or maybe two of them, something else you can do here.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:14:29    If you have any sort of focus groups, or if you have any sort of way to interact with potential customers, you may want to show them the logo, the colors, and maybe some representative images and the tagline. And she, what they think, you know, get their reaction. And, you know, I don’t like to, because many people, when it comes to coming up with branding and logos and blah, blah, blah, they will tell you to go straight to speak with the people. I don’t like to do that because if you go straight to your customers and speak with them, they don’t really know what they want. They don’t really have access to the information that their unconscious does. So either they will lie or they will tell you things that they think you want to hear, whatever the case, they will not really tell you the truth.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:15:20    And it’s not because they’re mean people or because they, they want to lie to you. It’s just the way the human mind works. And unless they spend a lot of time thinking about this, which is mostly no one that you’re just going to interview, it’s going to be very difficult for them to get the truth. So that’s why I say that use interviewing and use focus groups and all the rest to test your ideas. Once you have them and see people’s reaction to them, but don’t go there in the first place to come up with the ideas, you know, use this method, use the unconscious associations that your mind comes up with and use this to come up with ideas. It’s going to be a lot more effective when you actually go to test this on people, look at their reactions. You know, typically you want to see that they have positive reactions, that they have, uh, reactions of interest.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:16:11    You know, those are very important. So if they suddenly, if you suddenly see them, they get interested in something that’s important. That can be significant and enthusiastic. You know, if you can get them to be enthusiastic about something, then you probably know that that sort of idea resonates very well with them. So that’s pretty much how to approach it. After that, after you do some preliminary testing, you obviously you’d get really solid on the most effective ideas that you’ve had and then build the rest of the brand, including the tagline. As I said, initially, the tagline is going to go on a lot of your assets. So you need to make sure that the message transmitted is good. And if you go through this process, you’re actually going to maximize the chances that you’re going to create an effective tagline that speaks to people. And a tagline is important, not just for your customers.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:17:07    It’s important also for your employees and even for potential investors. And here’s why a tagline will communicate in essence what your brand is about and what you trying to achieve all in one very short statement. So it’s very powerful to employees because it brings everybody on the same page. You know, they can read the tagline, they will know this is what we’re about. This is what we’re trying to achieve. It also helps you attract the right type of employees, right? Because they’re going to be people who believe in the business and who believe in what you’re about and who enjoy those feelings. So for example, imagine that you’re building your own stores to sell your clothing, right. And what you want to do is let’s say you’re still going for the masculine tough look. Imagine that every guy that we employ, you only employ men who are salesmen and they have to have a certain physique to work at your store.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:18:05    You know? So then you start implementing the tagline in the brand essence and everything that you’ve created into all of your assets, you know, your people, and so on and so forth. So the tagline, the point is that tagline is also going to help you with your employees, both in attracting them and instructing them, how to drive the brand forward. And finally, it also helps you with your investors. You know, so if you want to present your idea to an investor, it’s very important that you have a tagline that illustrates what your brand is about in a very clear way, you know, where they don’t really have to think about it. They intuitively know it, they feel it, and it’s right there for them, because then it’s sort of easy for them to know if I want to be part of this, or if I don’t.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:18:52    And the key is that a strong brand, which really fits into the culture and which is going to really resonate with people is something that strikes deep inside. So think about Nike again and just do it. It’s something that strikes deep inside because it’s about removing limitations about moving ahead about being successful, right? That’s, that’s what ultimately Nike is about. So something like that can be very powerful and it’s powerful for all parties involved. So that’s pretty much it about the process that I go through to come up with an awesome tagline. So remember, it’s pretty simple. So you start, but again, simple but not easy, you know, as I like to say, so you start with either having a brand, you know, so a brand already exists. And if that’s the case, if it already exists, then it’s best that you start building out the associations.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:19:45    Like I said, put the name in the middle, have images that represent the brand. So obviously the logo images of stores, if any of them exist, other images that are iconic for the brand, and so on and use those to build your network of associations on paper and expand it and get at the brand essence that you’re currently portraying. You may need to mix this process with the other one, right, where you’re building it from scratch. If you want to change it, right. Changing a brand. So if you’re creating a new tagline, let’s say for an existing brand, that’s difficult, right? Because you want to take where the brand is ad today and sort of envision a future brand state for it. That’s still related to it and creates the tagline in that sense. So you would need to bring in the other process, which is basically where you build a brand from scratch and you build a tagline from scratch.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:20:41    So then obviously as I said, go out there and look into nature and collect images, collect phones, collect colors, collect everything that portrays the feelings that you want to portray and that you want to evoke. So that’s the key there. If you’re doing it from scratch. And remember that a tagline doesn’t have to be long, you know, it’s going to be two to maybe 12 words at the most. So it’s not very long. It needs to condense a lot in a very short statement. Think about apple when they put out the thing, different tagline, right. Which was again, very impactful. Think about how their initial logo, you know, with a, with a rainbow color, for the apple pleading with the thing, different tagline, think about how the apple, which had a bite out of it, you know, and the imagery of Adam and Eve eating from the apple and being rebellious in the garden of Eden place with the concept of things different and being opposed to authority, think about all those images, right?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:21:50    And even the big brother ad that apple put out there, think about all those images and you will see that they can be summed up in the two words. Right. Think different. So that’s what the tagline has to do with has to sum up the essence. What’s the feeling that’s behind being rebellious, uh, you know, disobeying authority going down your own path, being creative, and so on. What’s the key behind all of these and it’s thinking different in that case, but that’s why that was the tagline. And that’s why it was so, so successful. And finally, of course, remember that it’s very important that you get it right, because, with the tagline, you don’t really get a second chance. You know, especially if this is going to go on physical products on your packaging and so on, and you’re going to send out the product into the world.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:22:41    It’s very hard to change, you know? So it’s really important to get it right from the get-go. You know, even if you actually work with a professional and you pay people thousands of dollars, you know, to get it right for you, it’s very important that you do that because otherwise, you’re going to regret it. You know, otherwise, you’re going to regret things. It’s going to be super expensive to change it. That’s why it’s ultimately so valuable. So that’s pretty much what I have for today. So stay tuned for the next episode. And until next time, remember, keep growing your businesses and providing massive value to the world. You are the reason why we’re all growing richer. Our freedoms are expanding and we’re all living in greater prosperity till next time. 

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