illustration of a person designing their business logo and slogan

How to write the perfect small business slogan or tagline

Reading time: 7 minutes

One brand instantly comes to mind when you hear the words “Just Do It.” (And just in case your memory needs a little jog, we’re talking about Nike.) But the magic of a truly great small business slogan or tagline goes far beyond its memorability. A great slogan or tagline creates an emotional response for the brand and makes a powerful statement about what the brand embodies.

In this article, we’ll:

  • Explore what elevates a small business tagline or slogan from good to unforgettable
  • Cover the art of crafting a compelling slogan or tagline for your business
  • Provide insights on when to use these powerful branding tools
Nike Just Do It Mumbai

‘Just Do It’ Nike poster

Overview:

  • What’s the difference between a slogan and tagline? 
  • Do I need a slogan or tagline?
  • What makes a good slogan or tagline for a small business?
  • How to write a slogan and tagline for a small business
    • Understanding your small business’ mission and it’s target audience
    • The research phase
    • Get creative
    • Refine your creative thinking
    • Test your ideas with a small trusted audience 
  • Where shall I use my slogan or tagline?

What’s the difference between a slogan and tagline? 

A common misconception is that a slogan is just another word for a tagline.

In a nutshell, a small business tagline is the longstanding phrase that sticks with the brand, think McDonald’s ‘“I’m Loving It,” and a slogan is more specifically used for shorter term campaigns. Taglines are like the strong foundation of a brand’s identity, while small business slogans are more flexible and change to fit short-term promotions. They both help keep the brand’s message clear and interesting for people, whether it’s for a long time or just for a little while.

I’m Love It McDonalds billboard

McDonald’s infamous ‘I’m Loving It’ tagline, Source via Tasty Ad

McDonald’s “Fancy a McDonald’s?” slogan

McDonald’s “Fancy a McDonald’s?” slogan, Source via Scott Grummett

Do new brands need a slogan or tagline?

If your brand is still in the early stages of development, you’re likely very aware of how quickly a young brand identity can evolve. During this formative period, your brand’s identity, values and direction might shift as you gain a deeper understanding of your market, audience and unique selling points. Rushing to define your brand with a slogan or tagline before these elements are fully realized could lead to a message that becomes quickly outdated or misaligned with your brand’s evolving story.

What makes a good small business slogan?

When crafting a great slogan or tagline for a small business, it should be:

  • Memorable: A fantastic slogan or tagline has the power to embed itself in your memory like an earworm. Take for instance, McDonald’s iconic “I’m Lovin’ It” and Kit Kat’s timeless “Have a Break. Have a Kit Kat.” These phrases have become ingrained in our collective consciousness, standing the test of time and showing no signs of fading into obscurity anytime soon. Their catchy simplicity and universal appeal make them unforgettable, serving as perfect examples of the enduring impact a well-crafted slogan can have on a brand’s identity.
    1. Onomatopoeia 
      • Utilizing the power of onomatopoeia in your small business’s slogan or tagline can significantly enhance its memorability and impact. Onomatopoeic words mimic the sound they represent, engaging not just the auditory sense but also evoking vivid imagery and sensory experiences. This linguistic technique transforms a simple tagline into a dynamic, multi-sensory experience that sticks with your audience long after they’ve encountered it.
      • Consider the iconic Rice Krispies tagline: “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” This slogan is not just memorable for its rhythmic quality but also because it effectively captures and communicates the unique sensory experience of eating the cereal. 
    2. Rhyming 
      • The inherent simplicity and effectiveness of rhyming make it an invaluable strategy for crafting taglines and slogans that not only get your attention but also ensure your brand leaves a lasting impression. This language trick uses our natural ability to notice patterns, making rhymed phrases easy to remember and more likely to stay in people’s minds.
    3. Funny 
      • Humor can be a reliable ally when crafting your small business’s message. When used appropriately and aligned with your brand’s identity, humor can forge a strong connection with your target audience and leave a lasting impression. Consider iconic examples like Wonder Bra’s “Hello Boys” or Lay’s “Betcha can’t eat just one!”—these slogans not only bring a smile to your face but also effectively communicate the essence of their respective brands.
  • Concise: A captivating tagline is similar to a finely crafted haiku—concise yet rich with significance. Apple’s elegant “Think Different” or KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good.” These taglines cut through the clutter with laser-like precision, packing a punch in just a few words. They distill the essence of their brands into succinct statements, leaving a lasting impression on audiences with their simplicity and depth.
  • Resonant: Emotional connection is a powerful tool in branding. It cuts straight to the heart of the audience by speaking to their needs and desires directly. Take Dove’s tagline “Real Beauty,” for example. It challenges traditional beauty standards and celebrates diversity, while promoting a message of self-love and inclusivity. By championing authenticity and inner beauty, this tagline strikes a chord with consumers who yearn for self acceptance. 

How to write a small business slogan and tagline

Distilling your brand’s mission into a memorable, appealing phrase that resonates with your target audience is no mean feat. That’s why we’ve put together a step by step guide on how to write a great slogan or tagline for your small business. 

Understand your small business’ mission and target audience

Before going headfirst into your brand identity, arguably the most crucial step in establishing your small business is understanding your brand mission. 

What are the fundamental pillars of your brand purpose? What defines your ethos? What are your goals and aspirations? 

Once you have explored these foundational aspects, it’s wise to craft a concise mission statement that outlines your brand’s purpose. This statement serves as a reference point as you begin creating taglines and slogans for your brand.

A crucial tool in shaping your small business’ brand, including your slogan or tagline, is envisioning your target audience. The more detailed, the richer the insights. Ask yourself the following questions: Who are they? What’s their age? What’s their eco-socio background and where do they live? 

Research 

Explore other brands your target audience enjoys (your competitors) and draw inspiration from their slogans or taglines. Research brands that you aspire to be like. In addition to looking at their slogans and taglines, look at their bigger picture, too. It may feel a bit “meta,” but the more vividly you paint this persona, the smoother it becomes to tap into your target audience’s mindset and build a connection.

Get creative

Now that you’ve gathered your research, it’s time to get creative and think big. Try not to overthink it—no idea is too silly; the key here is to have fun and go wild. Write down any words and phrases that spring to mind, then words that link to those words and so on. As with any creative practice, there’s nothing more intimidating than a blank page. The best thing you can do is to get started with one small idea and see where it takes you. 

Refine your creative thinking 

With your creative sparks ignited, revisit your initial research. Remind yourself of your target audience’s persona—immerse yourself in the mindset of your ideal buyer, sifting through your findings to extract words and phrases that resonate. This process bridges the gap between creativity and consumer connection, ensuring that your tagline or slogan not only captivates but also aligns seamlessly with the wants and needs of your audience.

Test your ideas with a small trusted audience 

Once you have a handful of slogan or tagline ideas that you’re excited by, it’s time to put them to the test. Gather a small group of people, ideally friends representing your target audience, and borrow their ears. Gather their feedback on the slogans or taglines to gauge their effectiveness.

Where do I use my slogan or tagline?

A tagline or slogan is an invaluable tool for a small business, not only for encapsulating your brand identity and connecting with your audience, but for being physically used in a myriad of ways. Try using your slogan or tagline in the signature of your company email, in the bio of your Instagram and on your packaging.

Muscle Genetics tagline

Muscle Genetics “Impossible Is Nothing” tagline, Source via 99 Designs

Bundle of Joy Baby Basics tagline

Bundle of Joy “Baby Basics” tagline, Source via 99 Designs

Pickle and Chip Snacking for Two tagline

Pickle and Chip “Snacking for Two” tagline, Source via 99 Designs

The Book Keepers Logo

The Book Keepers logo and tagline, Source via 99 Designs

Potion Owl logo and tagline

Potion Owl logo and tagline, Source via 99 Designs

Mee Ae logo and tagline

Mee Ae logo and “beauty of everyday life” tagline, Source via 99 Designs

Recap

A powerful slogan and tagline has the potential to elevate your brand, cultivate a connection with your target audience and ultimately contribute to your business’ success. With the right approach and a bit of creativity, you’ll create a slogan and tagline that encapsulates the unique essence of your small business.

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