The smallest phrase you write could have the biggest impact. 

We often think of first impressions as the make-it-or-break-it moment during a big interview or a first date, but what about your business’s tagline? 

Whether you run a company with hundreds of employees, a small shop or you’re an influencer (AKA, you are the company), you need an eye-catching tagline. But what is a tagline and why should you worry about getting it right? 

Chris Chin, CEO of Polished Agency and the face behind @SeptemberMondays, has been working with his team for years to craft memorable, clever taglines for companies of all kinds. 

Your tagline is like your business’s ID. It should be the most condensed form of your who, what and why,” says Chris. 

The taglines that stick in our minds are crafted to be timeless. They are not punny or used as a punchline. In its simplest form, a tagline is a small set of words that evokes the essence of the brand it belongs to. But how do you get yours just right? 

Chris served up these tips for anyone looking to refine or create their own tagline: 

  1. Keep it concise. If you’re exceeding 10 words, your tagline is getting too long. Think about it like this. Your tagline is probably going to be accompanying your logo, and if you’re viewing it on a mobile device, the tagline is either going to get cut off or create a really unpleasing block of copy below your logo. Be mindful of everywhere your tagline will live when you create it. 
  1. Your tagline should either explain an important feature of your brand or it should be actionable—ideally you hit both of these marks. Nike’s tagline “just do it” puts motivation behind the products they sell. Loreal’s tagline “Because you’re worth it” tells the customer that everyone needs treat-yoself moments. It’s uplifting and inspires action. 
  1. Here’s an important “don’t” to keep in mind. Don’t write your tagline around a specific campaign or one aspect of your brand. It needs to be holistic and also needs to look ahead to what the company’s big-picture goals are. If you’re a sustainable shoe brand and you’re launching a new line of holographic sneakers, you wouldn’t make your tagline something like “Put the shine in every moment”. You’d probably speak to the sustainability and comfort with something like “Good for the earth & sole”. 
  1. Another important part of creating a tagline is making sure it’s actually yours. Before you get too pumped up, do a thorough Google search and make sure no one else is using the tagline somewhere else. You can even trademark your tagline through the US Patent and Trademark Office to ensure no one else can claim the tagline once you’ve established it’s yours. 
  1. Before you settle on one tagline, try to narrow it down to 3-5 really strong and solid options that effortlessly capture what your company is all about. Run these options by some trusted friends, colleagues or hire a focus group to weigh in on feedback. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you love your tagline. What matters is that it’s memorable to others. 

Now that you have all of the tools, you can create a unique tagline that’s concise, effective and helps your company stand out from the crowd. Chris suggests getting started by brainstorming words that relate to the problem your company solves for someone, whether you’re making someone’s life simpler, giving them access to something they don’t currently have or are providing a product that’s made to last. If you’ve got benefits, your customer wants to know about them, and your tagline is a great place to flaunt those facts.