Calling All Student Entrepreneurs: Tell Us About Your Startup

How To Design A Killer Tagline For Your Startup?

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May 8, 2014

The tagline or slogan is important for any startup. Nobody knows about your new venture and the value you are going to offer yet. So, the tagline of your business often acts as a basis for them to find out what your business is all about. This is why your start up tagline should provide a clear picture of what it does. However, you don’t need to overdo it by trying to say too many things under the shade of your tagline because a tagline is not just about marketing success but also about having your customers see the vision and mission that the startup is working on.

So, you need to use a tagline that is SIMPLE and that matches with the vision of your startup and STICKY enough to get glued into everyone’s head.

In my earlier article on ‘Naming Strategy’ I was mentioning the technique of using rhyme and alliteration, i.e. both words starting with the same letter. (Example: Coca-Cola, Best Buy, Dunkin’ Donuts, PayPal, Blackberry etc.) Same technique can also be used for tagline. One great example can be the tagline of M&M: ‘melts in your mouth, not in your hand’. Lexus also had a tagline ‘Pursuit of Perfection’ that connects with its audience of high achievers who are literally pursuing perfection.

Another popular technique is to use ‘double entendre’ where you can use the words or phrases in such a way that can be understood in different ways. ‘Nothing runs like a Deere’ is an awesome tagline by the company John Deere. They are comparing their vehicles with ‘Deer’ using this technique. ‘It’s hard to stop a Trane’ is another tagline or slogan used by the company Trane, a world leader in providing quality heating and air-conditioning services over 100 years.

'Repetition’ is another technique that you can use as well while thinking of a slogan for your startup. FedEx used it to the perfection with its brilliant slogan ‘when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight’. They used both absolutely and positively in a way that it would stuck into someone’s head after s/he reads the line. So, you can also try using two strong and positive words that suits with your startup vision.

Lastly, I would discuss one more technique that is called ‘reversals’. Do you remember the famous quote from Shakespeare ‘to be or not to be’? Reversal plays a great sticky role everywhere. Grocery delivery company FreshDirect grabbed the market with their superb tagline ‘Our food is fresh – Our customers are spoiled’. The late Charles Revson introduced Revlon Fire & Ice and borrowed the tagline ‘Some say the world will end in FIRE, some say in ICE’ from poet Robert Frost and it became immensely popular.

If a tagline or slogan isn’t memorable, there is no point using it because it’s just a waste of space. So, brainstorm and do your own research to find an appropriate one. Good luck!

Flickr image by Jacob


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M Murshed Haider, FCMI is the co-founder & CEO of optiMA HR Solutions. He is a passionate motivational speaker and corporate coach as well.

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