The Case against Taglines for Small Business

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Taglines can be catchy and captivating—but coming up with one is often harder than you think. In fact, creating clever taglines is usually an expensive, difficult and time-consuming process. Is it worth your time? You might not realize this, but the truth is, not every company needs a tagline. For you, it might not be beneficial. So before you take on a tagline project, you need to figure out if it’s right for your brand.

Here are seven important facts about taglines to consider!

  1. Taglines Don’t Equal Sales 

    Sure, a tagline can up your coolness factor, but if that doesn’t translate to more sales, how much is that worth? Many brands spin their wheels trying to look a certain way, forgetting why image matters at all. Here’s the truth: if it doesn’t equal sales, it shouldn’t be your biggest priority.

  2. Most Taglines Are ForgottenLook around at products in your house or office: when you recognize the brand something comes from, do you also remember that brand’s tagline? Walk through a grocery store: without reading the packaging, do you remember the taglines for any products? The fact is, while there are many Big Brands who taglines are household phrases, most companies’ taglines are just forgotten.
  3. Taglines Are Not Fixed in StoneToday’s taglines change and develop naturally over time—so even after you invest in one, it can turn into something different as your buyers redefine it for themselves. Why would you want to spend time and money creating something that is likely to change?
  4. Generic Taglines Can Actually Hurt YouTaglines are a good example of the age-old principle, “If you can’t do it well, don’t do it at all.” A bad tagline is not better than no tagline. In fact, when you use a generic tagline, you run the risk of hurting your company—by either seeming just like everybody else or by discrediting yourself as unbelievable.
  5. Taglines Seem Like MarketingNowadays, prospects don’t want to be sold to; they want to be engaged with. And taglines, which often feel like overt advertising, can often make them skeptical.
  6. Creating Taglines Wastes Valuable TimeEspecially for small businesses, the time and money that go into creating a tagline would be better spent on strategies that deliver—on parts of your business strategy that contribute to sales.
  7. Your Tagline Should Get RepeatedIn April Dunlop’s RocketWatch article, 'Your Startup Tagline is Anti-Social,' she makes the case that most taglines aren’t written the way people talk and thus, they’re not repeated by potential customers. If you’re going to use a three-verb tagline like “Wash, Rinse, Repeat,” you’re not going to have people spreading it to their friends. That’s why, if you’re going to use a tagline, it needs to be written conversationally, in a way that people remember and repeat.

Considering these facts, take another look at your plans for a tagline. Do you need one? Would it be helpful? Or would the time and resources you’d put into creating one be better spent somewhere else?

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