Should You Display A Tagline?
Taglines were at one time all the rage. Now increasingly websites are ignoring one of the most valuable areas of real estate – the space next to the site ID. Are marketers right to drop the tagline or is this a missed opportunity to communicate something important to your users?
What is a tagline?
A tagline is a short but meaningful phrase that summarises what a site is about and if possible what makes it great. When the tagline is next to the site ID or logo it can be a very effective way of communicating your message because it’s the one place on the screen where users expect to find a short slogan describing the site’s purpose. A good tagline can therefore improve site engagement and increase your conversion rate.
What makes a good tagline?
A good tagline should embody three characteristics:
- It should communicate your mission.
- It needs to reflect your brand persona.
- It should engage with your target audience.
A good tagline gives you the opportunity to communicate your purpose and your brand’s persona in a way that resonates with your target audience. It should be consistent with your value proposition and communicate something lasting and meaning about the brand. Here are three examples of effective taglines that clearly communicate benefits of the brand.
The qualities of good tagline also include:
- It is clear and informative.
- It’s just long enough – A maximum of six to eight words.
Toms has a tagline that is 15 words long and so it is too long to display adjacent to the site ID. Although the tagline is powerful because it communicates how the brand is acting in a socially conscious manner it may be missed by many visitors because it is below the fold.
The Accor Hotels tagline “Feel Welcome” might be a reasonable slogan for a TV commercial, but on a website it fails to tell you enough about the website.
- They communicate differentiation and a clear benefit.
- It’s personable, lively or even clever.
The discount supermarket Lidl, for example, uses its own brand name as a replacement to the word “little” to cleverly get across the brand promise that you don’t have to compromise on quality even though prices are lower than other major supermarkets.
Poor taglines are too generic and don’t add any information or meaning to the logo. “Hotels & Resorts” for the well-known Hilton brand is too generic as it’s telling us what we already know. Another hotel chain tells us it’s owned “BY WYNDHAM” which again doesn’t add much to our perception of the site.
Some sites don’t need a tagline?
Some websites believe they don’t need a tagline because they are so well known that their brands are universally recognised. However, even these websites could benefit from a good tagline. Why waste a perfectly good opportunity to tell your visitors why they should stick with your website rather than a competitor’s site?
Interestingly even Amazon, who are one of the most well-known internet brand in the world, has now added the phrase “Try Prime” to its logo. Amazon test everything that is added to its site and so this must have a measurable benefit as otherwise it wouldn’t have been approved. This is more of a goal than a tagline, but it confirms the power of adding meaningful copy next to your logo.
Other brands are so well known for their offline heritage that they are also instantly recognisable. Again though they would probably benefit from a tagline because their online purpose is never identical to their offline mission and it’s useful to communicate the difference.
How Do You Create Your Tagline?
Creating a tagline involves three simple steps. It should be a collaborative process and so it’s important to get some people with a diverse background together and if you can a prospect or two.
Brainstorm your entire business in a few sentences:
Using any prompts you like (e.g. your brand value proposition and history), do a brain dump on a whiteboard or flip chart of all the ideas and statements about your online brand that you can think of. Don’t let anyone dismiss anything at this point.
Once you have all your ideas written down then use a voting system to get agreement on which phrases to take forward to the next stage. Make sure a senior stakeholder has an input into the decision or even allow them to make the decision. Otherwise they may not buy into the version you have chosen.
Reduce it down:
Remove any unnecessary or repetitive words and if you have more than one phrase make a decision on which to take forward. Keep any alternative taglines for A/B testing if you want to A/B test in the future.
Cut the phrase down further:
Reduce the number of words down to a maximum of six to eight words. If you are happy with it get some feedback from customers and prospects before testing it on your site. This will ensure you haven’t come up with anything that conflicts with the current perception of your brand (unless that’s your aim) or it’s not too ambiguous or has some hidden meaning.
Taglines offer websites the opportunity to tell your visitors in an unobtrusive and concise way why they are better off with you. A good tagline is not easy to craft, but it is worth the effort because it can improve engagement and enhance visitor understanding of your online brand. Taglines are also easy to A/B test as they only make up a few words on your site and should be adjacent to your logo or site ID. A good tagline can only add value to your site and so why would you not want to create a short phrase that improves user understanding and engagement with your proposition.