How To Write A Strapline
Good straplines are hard to forget, and great ones can stay with us forever. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a strapline can be defined as “a short, easily remembered phrase used by an organization so that people will recognize it or its products.”
You’ve probably brought a few to mind already. “Every Little Helps”, “I’m Lovin’ It”, “Just Do It”. Examples like these are the gold standard of the craft. They’re clever, punchy, powerful, and instantly recognisable.
And though they seem simple enough on the surface, straplines can be incredibly difficult to create. But it’s an effort worth making. Because when done right, a good strapline can work wonders for your brand and greatly expand the scope of your marketing.
So let’s get down to business and look at how we can go about crafting some brilliant straplines of our own.
Keep it 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 the strapline.
In other words: the simpler the better. Not only do snappy straplines grab the eye but, importantly, they’re easy to remember.
A great technique for simplifying iscutting. For example, if you have a 10-word strapline, see if you can reduce it to 8, then 5, then 4, and so on until you reach the minimum number of workable words. Think about what your strapline is trying to say, and then cut away any excess words that aren’t contributing to that specific message.
Focus on a single message
Unlike a logo, a strapline doesn’t have to be a Swiss army knife. It doesn’t need to be crafted to suit all manner of scenarios. Its main job is tocommunicate the essence of your brand.
Consider what it is that your business does best. Think about the experience you’re providing— the benefits. Lots of businesses use a strapline as a means of highlighting unique brand characteristics, which is a great strategy.
So perhaps think about your unique feeling point. 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.
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.
So write down as many ideas as you can. The number doesn’t really 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.
Make it memorable
One of the key indicators of a strapline’s quality is its memorability. After all, just like a marketing jingle, a strapline’s job is, simply put, to be memorable.
This can often come down to trial and error, but there are a few tricks you can use to increase your chances of success.
Consider the linguistics of your strapline, for example, and how it sounds when read aloud. Think about incorporating onomatopoeia, alliteration, and rhyme. Small things like this can really make a difference. But again, it’s important to be open-minded and unselfconscious during the creative process. Approach it playfully, give yourself permission to come up with bad ideas, and just see what happens.
A big problem with memorability, however, is that it can be difficult to measure. Because you won’t necessarily know whether or not your strapline is memorable until people are reading it.
A good solution is to show a few of your favourite ideas to friends, family, and colleagues. Let them look at your selected straplines for a few minutes, ask for some general feedback, and then take the samples away. After a few days simply go back and ask which, if any, of your straplines people remember.
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.