A good strapline encapsulates the heart of a brand experience. It provides a short synopsis of a business’s values whilst communicating what’s integral and unique about that company. But more than that, straplines are often entertaining, clever, and frustratingly memorable.

The best kind of strapline attains instant brand positioning, anchors itself in its audience’s memory, and succinctly communicates the USPs of its parent brand.

To demonstrate this medium at work, look at the examples below and see how many brands you can recognise from the strapline alone:

– I’m loving’ it.

– Eat Fresh.

– Every Little Helps.

– Never Knowingly Undersold.

– Impossible Is Nothing.

– The World’s Local Bank.

Chances are you guessed at least half, probably even more. Which demonstrates the subtle power a strapline can command. But, like anything else in the marketing sphere, there’s an art to the craft of strapline creation. And today we’re hoping to shed some light on the process.

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty and look at how we can go about crafting some brilliant straplines of our own.

Be simple

Remember that one of the primary goals of a strapline is to be memorable. Ultimately, you want people to recognise your brand just from reading or hearing that strapline.

So it follows that the simpler and the shorter, the better. Not only do snappy straplines grab the eye, but they’re easy to retain. Consider which is more catchy: “Eat Fresh” or “The Place To Buy Fresh Sandwiches”…

A great technique for simplifying is cutting. If you come up with a 10-word strapline, see if you can reduce it to 8, then 5, then 4, and possibly even 3. Think about what your strapline is trying to say, and then cut away any excess words that aren’t adding anything to that specific message.

Just remember: don’t use 10 words where 5 will do, and don’t use 5 where 2 will do.

Focus on a single message

Unlike a logo, your strapline doesn’t have to be a Swiss army knife. It doesn’t need a plethora of functions, and it doesn’t have to be crafted to suit all manner of scenarios. Just one: to communicate the essence of your brand.

This is the same as saying that your strapline doesn’t need to act as a company chronicle; it doesn’t need to say everything about who you are and what you do. As long as it aligns with your value proposition, it’s doing its job.

Just think about what it is that your brand does best. Think about the experience you’re providing— the benefits. Lots of businesses use straplines as a means of accentuating unique brand characteristics, which is a good place to start.

So what’s your big draw? Are you the cheapest, the friendliest, the most creative, the most innovative? The goal here is to extract the major benefit of your brand experience and weave it into an effective strapline.   

Generate lots of ideas

Many marketers and creatives would agree that the best ideas often take the longest to think up. When crafting a strapline, the usual rule of thumb is that at least the first 5-10 ideas will be unusable.

This isn’t a bad thing, either, in fact it’s an integral part of the creative process. But the important thing is to recognise that you might not, and probably won’t, get it right the first time. So try to be patient, and don’t settle for substandard ideas for the sake of getting the work done quicker.

To make something truly original and unique you’ll need to wade through that first wave of ideas before you emerge on fresh ground. It’s a longer process, but it will be well worth it in the end.

So write down as many ideas as you can. 50, 100, 200. It doesn’t matter, just don’t stop until you’re completely out of fuel. The important thing here is to allow your imagination to explore freely without the fear of judgement. So write everything down, and don’t forget that you can always cross out bad ideas later.

By generating an obscene amount of straplines, you’ll find yourself breaking totally unfamiliar ground. And, more often than not, you’ll genuinely surprise yourself with the originality and creativity of some of your efforts.

Straplines, headlines, and words. . .

Creating a compelling strapline is just another form of creative copywriting, along with writing headlines, blogs, and ad campaigns. For more reading on this subject, take a look at 4 Techniques For Creating Killer Headlines, and How To Make Content That Sticks, Compels, And Sells.