Branding, Agency, Design, Communications, Brand

Straplines from famous brands
How to create a strapline that stands out

Tesco, L’Oréal, Nike, Skittles and MacDonalds.

Chances are you can immediately recall the brand names above from their straplines alone. Why? Because they 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 in 2020:

  • 500 million tweets are posted daily
  • More than 350m photos are uploaded each day to Facebook
  • Users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day on Instagram
  • 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day

…never mind all the other distractions, tasks and people fighting for your target customers’ attention.

This means your brand has less than six seconds to make a great first impression because if it doesn’t stand out (for the right reasons) you simply won’t be seen…

…and if you’re not being seen, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. A lack of visibility will render you as good as invisible, especially if your audience goes for your better-looking competitor.

There’s a LOT you can do to stand out, and in my book ‘Let’s Get Visible!’, I go into a lot more detail. But one question I get asked all the time is “Do I really need a strapline?”

If you want to stand out, then I’d say “Yes”.

WHAT IS 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 to communicate something extra and meaningful about your offering. It may form part of your logo or may be used separately.

In seconds, it gives you:

  • Differentiation, helping you stand out from your competitors
  • A clear and memorable promise to potential customers
  • A hook to help customers feel an affinity with your brand

So no, you don’t really NEED a strapline, but if you can tell people more about your business in a matter of seconds, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity?

Here are my top three tips on creating your strapline:

1. WHAT’S THE TRANSFORMATION?

Whilst you were working on your business name, you’ll probably have generated a lot of words relevant to your business. Don’t waste them! They will also be useful for strapline development, as well as part of your brand voice vocabulary.

Think about things from your customer’s perspective. What do they need to know? This could just be descriptive of what you do (your offering, what you sell – e.g. support services for divorced women, see below), but it is way more exciting if you talk about the transformation you will bring to their lives – i.e. your brand promise.

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Independent Mamas helps women reboot their lives after divorce

2. KEEP IT SHORT

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. 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 as the actress never said to the bishop, the shorter the better.

It can be a descriptive phrase, like Invincible Apparel’s ‘X-shaped Fashion that Fits’

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Or three separate positioning words (the power of three!), as with ei8ht Leadership Coaching’s ‘Liberate. Motivate. Elevate.’

InnerVisions-ID-Branding-Consultancy-London-STand Out - Logo 2The strapline for Shifts to Success is ‘Break out. Make the change. Live your life.’ These words articulate the customer vision, journey and brand promise in just a few words.

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3. USE BIG BRANDS FOR INSPIRATION

(But obviously, don’t copy them!)

NikeJust 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.

L’OréalBecause you’re Worth it. Another 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.

GilletteThe 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 BeersA 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.

AppleThink 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.

Oh – and if you’re wondering about 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).

If you’re struggling with generating a company name, strapline or just wondering how on earth to stand out, book a free 30-minute VISION call with me and let’s see what we can do…

My award-winning book ‘Let’s Get Visible!’ goes into more depth on Stand Out as part of the whole VISION process. It will help you get brand clarity, stand out in your industry and supercharge your business growth. Buy it here.

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