Product Marketing

5 Steps for Developing a Tag Line for Your Product, Business, or Website

By Bobette Kyle

A tag line is the one or two line descriptor that often comes after a product logo or company name. It is one of those things that looks simple but isn’t. Large companies pay advertising agencies a lot of money to develop tag lines for their companies and brands.

Many companies, however, do not have a large enough budget to hire an advertising agency. If you belong to one of these small budget businesses, do not despair. With some creativity and persistence, you can develop your own tag line.

First, decide what you want to communicate with your tag line.

If you have a positioning statement and/or unique selling proposition, write them down. Your tag line should reinforce them.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Who are your customers?
  • What benefits do you give your customers?
  • What feelings do you want to evoke in your customers?
  • What action are you trying to generate from your customers?
  • How are you different from your competition?

Try to get one or more of these across in your tag.

Second, prepare to brainstorm.

Gather tag lines from other companies and brands. Look in other categories besides your own and try to find tag lines from both large and small companies.

As you find tag lines, write them on index cards or individual slips of paper. You will be mixing and matching them and pairing them with unrelated items as you brainstorm.

Pay attention to the words used, how they are put together, and which of the above questions they address. By doing this, you are more likely to come up with a unique angle for your own tag line.

NOTE: You are looking at others’ tag lines only to spark ideas. Do not plagiarize. You must come up with your own, original tag line.

To find tag lines, look around. You may find them anywhere there are advertisements, packaging, or logos. Look in cupboards, around desks, in magazines, on TV/radio commercials, in print advertisements, and on Web sites.

To get you started, here are some tag lines I found in only a few minutes:

  • hp – “invent”
  • Craftsman – “Makes anything possible.”
  • Kenmore – “Solid as Sears.”
  • – “The sweetest site on the Web”
  • – “Integrating traditional and online marketing strategy.”
  • Marketing Best Practices – “The Web’s leading small business marketing newsletter.”
  • Nike – “Just do it.”
  • TLC – “Life Unscripted.”
  • Surprise by Design TV show – “We’re not just changing rooms. We’re changing lives.”
  • Schnucks (Midwest Grocer) – “We make it easy.”
  • Berry Burst Cheerios – “Naturally sweetened whole grain oat cereal with real berries.”
  • Altoids – “Curiously strong peppermints.”
  • The Name Stormers – “Company and Brand Name Development.”

Find your competitors’ tag lines – look at them and strive to be better and different.

Gather together books to help you come up with different ways to phrase similar ideas. My favorite is “Word Menu”. Others likely to be of help are “The Describer’s Dictionary” and “Twenty-First Century Synonym and Antonym Finder”.

Third, brainstorm.

This works best if you can get a small group together, but can also be done solo. Set up a place with a lot of writing space – use dry erase boards, easels with big paper pads, note cards, etc.

Go through your props. Look up words or concepts in the books. Rearrange your various props so you can look at them in different ways. Write down *everything* that comes to mind and all the new ideas each phrase sparks. They do not have to make sense. You want a large number of ideas.

There are additional brainstorming resources down the left margin at the URL listed above.

Fourth, consolidate your list.

After brainstorming, go through all of your ideas. Pull out those few you think have the best potential. Try to reduce longer ones to fewer words.

Fifth, choose the one best tag line.

You should be left with a short list of possibilities. To pick the single best tag line, get others’ opinions. If you have some funds budgeted, work with a market research firm to test the tag lines with your customers.

You can also conduct informal research. Set up a free survey at and encourage people to take the survey. If you have direct contact with customers, ask them what they think. Give them an incentive to help you, such as a discount or small freebie.

When you are done, you will have a tag line that will help your business thrive.

Copyright 2003, Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.

Bobette Kyle has more than a decade of experience in Corporate Marketing; Brand and Product Marketing; Field Marketing and Sales; and Management.

She is author of the Marketing Plan Guide “How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Web Site Marketing for Small Budget Businesses”, named one of the top 15 books of 2002 by Read more about the guide here:

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