How to Create a Stand Out Strapline
Chances are you can immediately recall big brand names above from their straplines alone. Why? Because these straplines help them stand out from their competitors.
Did you know that the average person scrolls through 96 metres of social media per day?! That’s the height of Big Ben!
According to Google, every day…
- 500 million tweets are posted
- More than 350m Facebook photos are uploaded
- Users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts on Instagram
- 5 billion YouTube videos are watched
So your brand has less than six seconds to make a great first impression because if it doesn’t stand out, you’re not being seen…
…and if you’re not being seen, it won’t matter how good your product or service is – no visibility renders you as good as invisible.
There’s a LOT you can do to stand out, detailed in my book ‘Let’s Get Visible!’. But one question I get asked a lot is “Do I really need a strapline?”
WHY USE A STRAPLINE?
Your strapline is a powerful marketing and brand positioning tool. It’s a short phrase that is usually paired with your company name or logo to communicate something extra and meaningful about your offering. It may sit with your logo or be used separately.
In seconds, a strapline gives you:
- Differentiation, helping you stand out from your competitors
- A clear and memorable brand promise to potential customers
- A hook to help customers feel an affinity with your brand
So whilst you don’t need a strapline, if you can tell people more about your business in a matter of seconds as they are scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity?
Here are my top three tips on creating your stand-out strapline:
1. FOCUS ON THE TRANSFORMATION
Think about things from your customer’s perspective.
Your strapline could just be a descriptive line about what you do or sell, which is OK if you have a business name that doesn’t describe what you do.
But it is far more exciting to evoke an emotion, feeling, i.e. the transformation you will bring to their lives or your brand promise.Think about your brand voice and vocabulary as well as part of your strapline development i.e. speak to your target market in their own language.
The strapline for Shifts to Success is ‘Break out. Make the change. Live your life.’ It’s on the longer side, but we can get away with it as the words are short. And anyway, these eight words do a lot – they clearly articulate the customer vision, brand promise and take them on the journey to that end transformation.
2. KEEP IT AS SHORT AS YOU CAN
A strapline needs to be memorable. Short and punchy action words have the most power.
Generally, I recommend no more than eight syllables as optimum (see above). Of course, rules are made to be broken – and if it’s strong as a concept, you might get away with a longer one. But generally, the shorter the better.
For example, Mark Bowden was trained and known as a hypnotherapist but niched his business to a mental performance consultant for professional footballers. He was struggling with his book title, despite multiple suggestions from his network, coaches and publisher.
I listened as he ran them by me. They were all quite clever but a bit long and wordy, talking about accessing the latent power of the mind, tapping into your potential by unleashing your brainpower, harnessing the power of the brain to enhance your performance…etc.
But this was a book aimed at footballers. The right brand voice for them needed to be the sort of motivational language you’d hear in the locker room before a match, using short, sharp and punchy words. Think Sun headlines!
Mark loved the title I came up with so much, we also used it for his brochure (below) and it became the strapline for his subsequent rebrand.
3. USE BIG BRANDS FOR INSPIRATION
Those straplines we talked about at the beginning?
They were of course, for Tesco, L’Oréal, Nike, Skittles and McDonalds.
Here’s a bit more on why these work and some other inspiration…
Tesco – Every Little Helps. Friendly, approachable, aludes to saving those pennies as well as being versatile enough to lend itself nicely to campaigns when they were supporting the Covid pandemic and the NHS.
L’Oréal – Because you’re Worth it. An empowering strapline, delivered by a host of internationally famous, glamorous spokeswomen. L’Oréal may be a mass-market brand, but its positioning is highly aspirational, implying that its products will make you feel a million dollars.
Nike – Just do it. Empowering, positive, gender-neutral, powerful. This is about an attitude rather than a particular sport or product, which allows for any amount of future diversification.
Skittles – Taste the Rainbow – simple, tasty, colourful, imaginative, playful and fun!
McDonalds – I’m Lovin’ It – does what it says on the tin. Tells us why you should have a MaccyD’s. Doesn’t alude to anything but enjoyment.
Gillette – The Best a Man can Get. The brand was obviously promising the best shave, but the implication was always that Gillette would also help a man snag a gorgeous girlfriend. In 2019, Gillette started to evolve its brand in the wake of the #metoo movement. They haven’t changed their strapline but created a slogan for a campaign around ‘The best men can be’, showing men calling out sexism and championing equality. This brave move went viral, but divided opinion and alienated some of the brand’s core audience.
De Beers – A Diamond is Forever. A brand promise that speaks not just of everlasting love, but of an heirloom which can be passed on to your children, and their children too. Suddenly spending all those thousands feels like an investment.
Apple – Think Different. Yes, if you’re British, it should be ‘Think differently’ and it was actually an advertising slogan, not a strapline, but this one has endured and became iconic in itself as it is aspirational, visionary, exciting, rebellious, timeless and deeply aligned with Apple’s company and brand strategy.
Lastly…the difference between a strapline and a slogan…
A strapline should stay as a constant whereas a slogan may change tactically for a campaign. (When you’re brainstorming straplines, save any rejects as potential slogans for campaigns in the future).
Whether you’re looking for an entire rebrand or just need to stand out more, book a free 30-minute Brand Clarity call with Sapna Pieroux, and let’s see what we can do…Her award-winning book ‘Let’s Get Visible!’ goes into more depth on Stand Out as part of the whole VISION Process. The book promises to help you get brand clarity, stand out in your industry and supercharge your business growth. Buy it here.