How to Create a Good Strapline

Last Updated
July 26, 2010

How to Create a Good Strapline

A strapline needs to represent your business, and put across something of what you do, what benefits you give your customers, or what you stand for. Think of it as if you had one short sentence to sum up your business and persuade a customer to choose you.

Think of the main point or two that you would like to put across: e.g. Low prices, wide choic

Straplines should not be written like a sales message, they should be more interesting and creative; aiming to be remembered by your customers (and potential customers). Simplicity is vital, avoid words that your customers may not understand, and avoid long sentences. Most slogans are 3-6 words, with very few going above 8 words; as they quickly lose their simplicity and become less memorable.

Examples:

Low Prices

Bad Good
  • “We are Cheaper”
  • “Always Low Prices” (Asda)
  • “Always Cutting Prices” (Currys)

Knowledgeable Staff

Bad Good
  • “Our Staff have the Knowledge to Help You”
  • “We Live Electricals” (Comet)
  • “The AA Team” (AA)
  • “Just AAsk” (AA)

Product/Service Quality

Bad Good
  • “Expertly Made”
  • “We Always Provide the Best Service”
  • “We’re Number 2, so we Try Harder” (Avis Car Rentals)
  • “Reassuringly Expensive” (Stella Artois)
  • “Your Potential, Our Passion” (Microsoft)

What You Represent or Stand For

Bad Good
  • “Quality Customer Experience”
  • “Every Little Helps” (Tesco)
  • “Sense and Simplicity” (Phillips)
  • “Vorsprung Durch Technik” [Progress through technology] (Audi)
  • “Just Do It” (Nike)

If you are struggling to think of ideas, try writing a list of 10 individual words that you believe describes your business (e.g. Value, quality, reliability, service); then try writing 10 individual words that describe the benefits you give to your customer (e.g. Time, money, convenience, choice). Then spend a bit of time mixing and matching words, and constructing a small sentence around them.
There are many different kinds of devices that can help provide memorable Straplines; here are some of the most common, why not try a few and see what you can come up with: Question and Answer: Posing and answering a question, or simply having two half sentences making different sides of a point.

“Maybe She’s Born With it, Maybe it’s Maybelline” (Maybelline)

Mirroring: Reflecting or repeating a w ord or words to make a memorable phrase.

“Conveniently Reliable, Reliably Convenient” – for a quality local shop

“Money Talks, So Let’s Talk Money” – for a financial advisor

“Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat” (Kit Kat)

Rhyming: Creating a small rhyme makes your sentence more memorable; though they can feel a little tacky if not done well.

“You Can Tell When it’s Shell” (Shell)

Alliteration: Similar to rhyming, alliteration involves the first sound of a word instead of the end.

“The Best Four by Four by Far” (Land Rover)

If you still haven’t found something you like, try taking the words you already have and look at similar words that mean the same thing.

Is Your Strapline Good Enough ?

An important question to ask is whether producing a bad strapline could damage your business. The answer of course is yes, but most bad Straplines are just forgotten until a better one comes along. So unless you decide to have a strapline such as “Buy This Stupid” it is unlikely that a bad strapline will have much of a negative impact. A good way to test whether your strapline is any good is to discuss it with suppliers or regular customers; and see what their thoughts are on it. Although you cannot rely on this kind of discussi on to be completely accurate, it is better than going ahead without any research! Once you have decided upon your best Strapline, add it to your letterheads, business cards, leaflets and website; and start spreading your message!

Links

What is Branding? What is a Strapline? Page 2: How to Create Straplines

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