do you need a tagline?

If you’re starting a new business or rebranding an existing one, there’s a nagging question that may be on your mind: how do you write a good tagline, one that’s memorable, punchy, and concise?

But before you invest a ton of time in writing a solid tagline, there’s a question you need to ask yourself: do you even need a tagline?

Keep reading below to find out when you need a tagline for your business and when you don’t.


Need help coming up with the perfect tagline for your business?
Download my list of 7 free tagline generator tools.

What is a tagline?

Here’s the “stupid question” you were too scared to ask: what exactly is a tagline?

A tagline is a short catchphrase that communicates your brand’s unique value proposition in a memorable way. In other words, a tagline is a punchy phrase that tells people what your brand is all about.

Taglines in marketing

Decades ago, taglines were a key component of business branding. You would almost always see them in advertising to convey the essence of a brand. And you still do. Just think of Nike’s “Just do it” or McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it.”


need a tagline


But with the rise of pay-per-click ads and social media, the marketing game has changed. Instead of running lengthy newspaper ads or expensive TV ad campaigns, many brands are using online ads to reach their target audiences. Plus, there are many more small online businesses in the market these days. You won’t see these brands running commercials on TV anytime soon. But you will see them advertising on Google, Facebook, and Instagram, platforms where limited visual and copy real estate is better used for a clear call to action than a punchy tagline.

Taglines also aren’t as memorable as they used to be. In a list of the 100 best taglines identified by The Balance, only six were created since 2000. This is just one of the reasons why marketing experts and many big brands (think Starbucks, Lululemon, and Nordstrom) believe businesses don’t need a tagline to make a big impact. This doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from a solid tagline. It just means that you don’t necessarily need a tagline to succeed.

Related: How to write compelling social media posts + 7 free social media copy templates


Need help coming up with the perfect tagline for your business?
Download my list of 7 free tagline generator tools.

When you do need a tagline

Although many brands can succeed without a tagline, there are some cases where it’s a good idea to have one for your business:

1. When your name doesn’t say it all

If your brand’s name is “Chic Custom Cakes,” you don’t need a tagline. Why? Because people can tell what you offer just by knowing your name. It’s a different story, though, if you’re an accountant and the name of your brand is “Marci L. White.” In this case, having a tagline is important for clarifying what you do.

When the purpose of your tagline is to clarify your value proposition, it’s a great addition to your brand even if it isn’t memorable and sexy. For example, “Marci L. White | Chartered Accountant” isn’t necessarily all that exciting. But it does the job by explaining what you offer.


need a tagline

2. When it helps to communicate your unique value proposition

Your brand’s name may give hints about what you do. But it may not do a great job of distinguishing you from your competition. Let’s say, for example, that the name of your brand is “Custom Calligraphy.” People may be able to guess that you offer custom calligraphy services just by looking at your name. However, they may not know what sets you apart from all of the other custom calligraphy providers out there. In this case, a tagline can help you convey why people should choose you, not your competitors.

Related: 13 practical tips for writing insanely powerful website copy + free checklist

need a tagline

3. You don’t have other informative and memorable messages

These days, you don’t need a tagline as long as you have other informative and memorable phrases you can pull out of your pocket when you need them. For example, if you sell eyeglasses, you may have a few different phrases that communicate the value you offer. These could include, “Changing the way you see,” “Envision a new world,” and “Clarity when you need it.” Having multiple meaningful and informative messages is useful because you can pick the best one to use for each marketing campaign. However, if you don’t have them, writing an effective tagline can be useful.


need a tagline

Think about whether a tagline is right for you

It’s easy to assume you need a tagline for your business just because big players like Nike and McDonald’s have one. But the reality is that you don’t necessarily need one to achieve success. If your name doesn’t convey your unique value proposition and you don’t have other memorable messages to do the job, having a solid tagline is a smart move. But if you’ve got a name or set of messages that already achieve the purpose of a tagline, having one may only create clutter.


Need help coming up with the perfect tagline for your business?
Download my list of 7 free tagline generator tools

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need a tagline


Does your business need a tagline? + 7 free tagline generator tools

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