A tagline is a few words that express what a brand stands for. It can be a full sentence, like Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik,” which translates to “Progress through Technology.” Or something less than that, like Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom.” So far as we know, no automaker has committed to a one-word tagline because what would that magical word even be? Lol? Yolo? #?
First you have to know what you’re talking about
Do you ever sit down to write without knowing what you want to say? Many taglines feel like they were created in that spirit: “Feel the adventure.” “Wrestle with life.” “Resist gravity.”
These examples feel wrong because they’re overly broad. They sound like someone trying to write what they think a tagline is, instead of going through the labor of thinking about the brand and riffing on those themes.
Do yourself a favor and start with a firm grasp on what the brand stands for.
Winnow thy words like wheat on a stone floor
Once you have a nice pile of verbal spaghetti, you can get into the really messy part of writing: editing. You cut, and cut, and cut until eventually you’re left with a handful of candidates. Perhaps you can stitch them together Frankenstein-style.
A word of caution, however. Many taglines have visible seams, e.g. “Love. Power. Romance. Brand.” That is not a tagline. It’s three ideas and the brand’s name. It means the writers distilled their ideas, but failed to connect them with, you know, English.
Find a poet, a songwriter, or a musician
Beyond the rational analysis you just performed to find your brand’s core, a tagline also needs emotional verve. You know why you remember Chevrolet’s “Like a Rock”? It’s because the song behind made you feel like you were single-handedly building America while raising barns, playing with horses, and wearing dusty leather gloves.
Hire one of the artistic people above to take your ideas and imbue them with emotional appeal. It’s what they do, and it’s what your customers will respond to. And if you don’t like what you get back, just hire someone else. It’s better to get it right than to change it three months later.
What do you think is the best tagline ever created by an automaker? What makes it resonate for you? If you had to write a tagline for your company, what would it be? Let us know on our Facebook page.