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24.09.2020 Business Features

Creating A Compelling Tagline From Scratch: Ten Tips For Start-Ups

By Albert Shiebila Mali
Creating A Compelling Tagline From Scratch: Ten Tips For Start-Ups
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Tagline is one of the most effective ways to connect your product or service emotionally to the hearts and minds of your current and prospective customers to make your brand relevant to your target audience.

The startup ecosystem is a highly competitive one, but most startup founders are naturally passionate about making a change in the world and improve lives. Bitterly, it’s only a few of the startups that know how to create and differentiate themselves with a solid or compelling tagline of their own.

For a startup to succeed, it has to emotionally connect it products or service to the hearts and minds of its current and prospective customers with the main objective of owning and controlling their wallet or purse for long time to help drive profitability.

Make no mistake about it. A business tagline is a recognizable and deep brand building process a startup owns. Tagline and slogan or motto are often used interchangeably in Ghana part of the world. Kotler and Keller asserted that “A brand slogan is an external translation that attempts to creatively engage consumers.” A tagline is a short, three-to five-words phrases that captures the irrefutable essence or spirit of the product or service you provide. In simple terms, it’s a short phrases or short statement that communicates a business offer.

Tagline is a powerful tool that guides the type of products or service to offer and how to develop your communication message to creatively engage consumers. Your tagline has to be desired, enduring, relevant and resonate with the interest of the target market, else it will fail.

Start-Ups with a million questions to ask which could have a big impact on their future success among other things are: How can a startup create a compelling tagline from scratch or from the head start? How can a startup break out of the overcrowded industry with a compelling tagline? Is there systematic approach or tips to achieve this and thereby sustain high performance? In my quest for answers, I have listed Ten Tips for creating a compelling tagline from scratch.

Concise and Clear

In the business world, shorter is always better if it communicates the required information. This requires that the message line should be short or avoid all unnecessary details and contain no unnecessary words. A concise and clear tagline has two benefits: your key messages will stand out, and saves customer valuable time to capture your message fast. This is important because, the world is pulling everyone’s attention in every direction in which our attention spans get shorter and shorter.

Long tagline makes the customer work harder and may create confusion. Your tagline has to catch people’s attention quickly, clearly communicate the basic point you want to put forth. If the reader or viewer only have let say fifteen seconds to look at your tagline, he or she should still be able to get a pretty good idea of what you intend to communicate. It has to credible, clear and sound, not complicated and not wishy-wash. A good example is Nike with “Just Do It.”

Communicate a Product or Service Truthfully

A good tagline must not only deliver clear and concise message but must also advertise an offering (product or service) truthfully or else customers will lose trust and interest. For instance, Southwest airlines said “the speed of a plane at the price of a car-whenever you need it”. It is advertising an offering of friendly service, speed, and frequency (end-to-end departure of airlines). When your business lacks a tagline that speaks to buyers or in a way offer something truthfully to buyers, it is likely to have no great commercial potential and has no natural take-off capability.

Unique and Not A Copycat

How distinctive or unique are you going to be different from the rest of the pack or competitors? To stand out, go for something that’s unique and in a way ignite thinking. A classic example is Apple with “Think different”. A well thought and crafted lines that focus on the thing’s others don’t do can be of great competitive advantage or strategy. As M. Porter said “a strategy is performing activities differently than rivals do.” Don’t copycat what others are promising, craft a unique message line that are of higher priority to your target customers and that your organisation is committed in fulfilling that uniqueness better than any of your so called “also-rans” competitors.

Addressed the Customer Pain Point

A pain point is unsolved need (e.g. Speed, healthy diet, convenience, reliability etc.) which bother customers so much even though they are aware of the problem but they’re helpless to solve it themselves. Identified what the customer pain points are and find a way to integrate it into your line. Good example is FedEx with “when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”. FedEx was addressing the customers pain point of “too slow”, meaning FedEx understood his clients’ pain point and met them.

Generally, if the customer does not consider that the crafted line speaks to their deepest need or pain point which they consider to be important to them, your message is likely to be ignored entirely. The tagline should address concerns or needs of the end users which is of high priority to them.

Memorable and Measurable

A lot of design thinking and innovation replication is always done to validate and perfect a tagline which oath to change the way customers think and feel about a product or a service whilst at the same time being memorable and measurable as possible. There’s what we call “Selective retention” in marketing where people will only remember a marketing stimuli or communication that support their beliefs and forget communication’s that do not support their beliefs. Therefore, try to make your tagline short, snappy and align it with the beliefs of the end users so that it can be stored in their memory for a long period of time, if not forever.

Align with Your Business or Brand Name

You can give customers great experience by coming out with a tagline that reinforces the power of your business or brand name there by helping you to connect your product or service to the mind and soul of the customers with ease. Think of good examples like KitKat with “Have a break, have a KitKat”, Reliance general supplies with “Get reliance, get results”.

Connecting to What You Stand For

To highlight what you stand for in business in numerous ways, you could integrate it into your tagline. Neil Leslie said “it’s clear fact that one line can’t communicate every facet of your business. Instead, you’re looking for an overarching value statement that describes you, what you stand for, and what people can expect from you”. World famous brands like BMW with “The ultimate driving machine” and Nokia with “Connecting people” are few outside there that communicate what the really stand for, hopefully you can also begin yours here.

Connecting to The Vision and Mission

The commencement of a good tagline can start and end with completely connecting it to mission and vision statement. For instance, the mission of Southwest Airline is “dedication to the highest quality of customers service delivery with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” In fact, Southwest Airline is able to achieve this by connecting its mission and vision statement with “the speed of a plane at the price of a car-whenever you need it” as the tagline. The new age of every organisation is to learn how to connect it employees, customers, suppliers to its mission and vision statement. A well articulate mission and vision statement could be the starting point for developing an integrated and aligned tagline for you.

Using Figure of Speech

All businesses want their customers to obtain the necessary communications quickly and easily, understand what is communicated with ease and pleasure, interpret the message with ease of mind and respond to the message with confidence. One of the goo

.0d ways to do this is to use figure of speech for developing the tagline. A typical good example is Access Bank with “Speed, Service, Security”. This is a good deal to help you play around nouns, adjectives, and verbs you associate with your brand.

Call of Action to Do Business with You

One of the pathways to inspire customers into action is to develop a tagline that serves as a call of action to do business with you. A classic example is Malcom with “where Ghana shop”. It is a simple recipe to creatively engage customers that requires practice or action through doing.


To finish up, startup tagline conveys it’s promises, and how to solve problems for people. Creating a tagline for a startup is a must if you want to be successful. With the help of the simple tips above, you can develop a strong tagline from scratch with ease.

This piece is written for the benefit of Start-Ups who, for whatever reason, wish to create an effective tagline for their own brand positioning without the aid of professional consultation.

If you have any questions about building a successful tagline for your Start-Up, just get in touch.

Albert Shiebila Mali is a Business Developer with expertise in Accounting and Marketing. He holds B.Sc. in marketing and a CA as well. Since graduation, he has worked with impact driven organisations, nurtured Start-Ups and his passionate about supporting the growth of Start-Ups using unique marketing strategies as a tool. He writes about relevant marketing and business topics and pieces.

Personal Email: [email protected]/[email protected]

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