MarketingNerd

About this marketing blog…


My name Is Matt and I am a huge marketing nerd. My marketing blog is about providing practical marketing advice & tips you can apply to your business and campaigns today.

Feel free to get in touch or just say hello.

Writing a marketing strap line that means something

Find out how to create your perfect marketing strapline with substance

In this post I’ll show you the process to follow in order to  create a strapline that has purpose and works , as well as the common pitfalls to avoid.

What is a marketing strapline?

A great marketing strap line should summarise what your brand stands for in just a few words. It doesn’t have to be descriptive (although some are, like eBay’s “The world’s online market place”), but it should support your brand positioning and communicate what you are about.

Why use a marketing strapline?

The benefits of developing and using your own brand strapline include:

This all sounds very simple, but trust me it isn’t.

A strap line must be done well, or not at all

I can remember the drawn out and painful affair that was my first attempt to implement a strap line at a company I worked for.

The mistakes I made were:

Brands will literally spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on agencies to develop their marketing strap lines, with varying degrees of success.

One of the strap lines that grinds on me the most is Burger King’s “Have it your way”.

The introduction of this to their marketing was a total knee jerk reaction to the increasing popularity of Subway and it has absolutely no substance.

Who honestly goes in to BK and customises their burger? You have it how it is given, therefore I’m not having it my way at all.

On the flip side, McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” helps to support their strategy of tying the brand to positive emotional connections.

Coke do the same thing with their “Always Coca-Cola” with the double whammy of implying any moment is the right moment for a Coke, not just the summer.

Examples of great strap lines

Before we get to my tips on how to write a great marketing strapline, here are some examples of what I think are the best straplines in the business. These are all winning straplines that stand the test of time.

 The best straplines are short, punchy, “on brand” and have meaning! 

Here are my tips on how to go about creating a killer marketing strap line that has substance and benefits your marketing:

Tip one: Make sure it has substance

A strap line is not just a fancy marketing exercise to fill some office time and tick a box, it has to mean something and be grounded in reality or you shouldn’t have one at all.

brand promises

For example, if you want to focus on customer support, is that a genuine strength of yours?

Just saying it won’t make it true, and the disconnect between the promise and reality will create problems with your customers.

I think that is what irritates me about Burger King’s, it just doesn’t mean anything.

Tip two: Keep the number of people working on it to a minimum

The larger the team, the more voices there are that want to be heard and the harder it is to come to a final decision.

I have personally learnt this the hard way.

Create an internal working team that has the authority to work up the strapline with out any external pressures.

Tip three: Stay on brand

Your strap line has to fit in with existing branding and make sense to your customers.

For example, if your customers are what we’d describe as ‘silver surfers’ (pensioners), don’t do a riff on a recent popular cultural reference or run with an aggressive tone.

Nike’s “Just do it” fits in perfectly with their slightly edgy branding and no-nonsense approach.

It also doesn’t limit their product range in any way, as it doesn’t make any references to a sport or even clothing.

Tip four: Be creative

Apple’s “Think different” is a great example of being creative.

It is aspirational, it positions the businesses internal culture, it is exciting and it is timeless.

It is also applicable to everything they do, not just one particular product or piece of technology.

Author

Hello! My name is Matt and I have a serious passion for anything marketing related, both academically and professionally. I started writing this blog as a way of expressing my thoughts and opinions on marketing, and in response to the number of theoretical blogs out there that presume unlimited resources. My focus is on providing realistic and practical marketing advice you can apply to any business and campaign.

    Comments 48
    • Elaine Young
      Posted on

      Elaine Young Elaine Young

      Reply Author

      Looking for a punchy strap line for a sizzling summer promotion for clients looking for great staff


    • Kellie Jensen
      Posted on

      Kellie Jensen Kellie Jensen

      Reply Author

      Hi Matt,
      I respectfully disagree with you about Burger King’s “Have it your way.” I remember when this came out when I was a kid and everyone was talking about how you could order what you wanted on your burger finally when McDonald’s would not let you have what you wanted. As a kid this was a big deal to me because I didn’t like onions or pickles so I could go to BK and have it they way I wanted it.


      • Matthew Telfer
        Posted on

        Matthew Telfer Matthew Telfer

        Reply Author

        Hi Kellie,

        The ability to remove a couple of elements was a nice touch but there aren’t many variations you can ask for, and not enough for me to develop a strap line.

        I think their current strap line “Taste is king” is far, far better. Puts a clear gap between themselves and McDonalds (which never competes on quality).

        Cheers,

        Matt


        • Kellie Jensen
          Posted on

          Kellie Jensen Kellie Jensen

          Reply Author

          Hi Matt,
          Well they did it for 40 years with that campaign. After they did it, McDonald’s started letting people have it their way too. Just saying.
          Cheers back


        • sas
          Posted on

          sas sas

          Reply Author

          the best strapline used by them is :
          ‘KING BIG!


    • Harvey
      Posted on

      Harvey Harvey

      Reply Author

      Good article. I am currently coming up with my first strap line for my company and I am finding it a difficult task. We are a food service company but our main USP’s are customer service and relationship building rather than positioning ourselves on quality or price.


      • Matthew Telfer
        Posted on

        Matthew Telfer Matthew Telfer

        Reply Author

        Hi Harvey,

        Creating a strap line that connects with everyone is really difficult, especially from an internal sign-off point of view.

        Maybe ask your clients to describe your company in 3 words and see if that generates any ideas?

        Good luck!

        Matt


    • Jean Fleury
      Posted on

      Jean Fleury Jean Fleury

      Reply Author

      Hi Matthew,

      I’ve recently started work for a young company and I am trying to come up with a strap line for them. They produce high quality bespoke industrial furniture from reclaimed materials. Any ideas please?


      • Matthew Telfer
        Posted on

        Matthew Telfer Matthew Telfer

        Reply Author

        Hi Jean,

        It would need to take a lot of time to understand your business and your customers to give any ideas that are specific to your business. If you want me to give any feedback on what you’ve already come up with, I’m happy to do that.

        Matt


      • Stuart C
        Posted on

        Stuart C Stuart C

        Reply Author

        Scrapa-cularly comfortable furniture!
        Reclaim comfort with (company name)
        Three chairs for comfort!
        History your bum will thank you for!
        Tree-rificly comfortable, Metally beautiful!


    • Juanita Aniello
      Posted on

      Juanita Aniello Juanita Aniello

      Reply Author

      Great article, made you really think. I am not in marketing although I do have marketing ideas for my creations/inventions. I have a few ideas on the above especially the young company that produces high quality industrial furniture. You would need to know more about the company, its name, what type of image it wants to project ( a young image or more conservative image)what it’s focus is on(customer service, after care, selling, price, combination of some or all). That really goes for any company needing a catchy strap line. By the way, I am fast becoming one of the generation referred to as ” Silver Surfer” a term I really hate, so I really hope no one uses that in their strap line. It is quite a derogatory term besides in the passage of time everyone becomes a silver surfer.


    • David
      Posted on

      David David

      Reply Author

      I wish! Under seventy I’m white haired and mainly bald.


    • S Fletcher-Mallinson
      Posted on

      S Fletcher-Mallinson S Fletcher-Mallinson

      Reply Author

      I personally can identify strongly with Burger King’s ‘Have it your way’ because for most of my life I have asked for something or other to be changed, usually pickles, onions or mustard omitted. In fact even today I prefer Burger King because of their motto and eagerness to please, but I find now that McDonalds can be just as accommodating when I ask for one of their special big burgers and ‘hold the bun’ (due to a gluten sensitivity).


    • A Reada
      Posted on

      A Reada A Reada

      Reply Author

      You might think Apple’s “Think different” is a great example of being creative.

      Most people I know think it made them a bit of a joke. It shouted to the world that they don’t know the difference between an adjective (different) and an adverb (differently) or which one to use.

      Impression given: ‘We think we’re trendy, but actually we’re a bit stupid / ignorant’

      Or maybe it was a conscious decision to appeal to just that sort of market? – People who think they’re trendy but aren’t in fact the brighest stars in the dark sky?


      • John O
        Posted on

        John O John O

        Reply Author

        Re Think Different, I appreciate A READA’s point. A strap line doesn’t have to be grammatically perfect to be memorable and appealing – the main aim, as I see it. You are right that the adverb should be used, but Americans are more likely to use an adjective to serve as one.
        One could say ‘I’m lovin’ it’ is a similar insult to grammar as usually verbs of the head and heart like love, hate, believe, hear are only used in the simple form (i.e. not ‘I’m hating it’ , but ‘I hate it’). The language mutates and these soundbites are built to appeal and get our attention.
        They don’t replace a jolly good book!


        • Andrew
          Posted on

          Andrew Andrew

          Reply Author

          Wasn’t “Think different” a response to IBM’s strapline of the time, which was “Think”?


    • Steve
      Posted on

      Steve Steve

      Reply Author

      How about a strap line for mobile massage service by male therapist in east anglia


    • Rich
      Posted on

      Rich Rich

      Reply Author

      Get Secure Get Garrison is one of ours at Garrison Locks. This is good but needs more!

      I have to agree that the Have it your way for BK never done it for me. TBH.


    • Tony
      Posted on

      Tony Tony

      Reply Author

      Hi we are starting a new venture most of us have been in the industry over 20 years. Site not finished yet http://www.yappley.com working on a strap line but to encapsulate our ethos in two or three words is proving to be quite difficult. Any advice most welcome.


    • francesca small
      Posted on

      francesca small francesca small

      Reply Author

      Hi Matt. We are currently going through a re brand at work and we are changing our name to Joe’s. we are a food service company that sells mainly marinated chicken and cooked chicken products ( chicken burger etc) although we do sell other concepts of food now such as curry.
      our philosophy is very much about our service and how we are your right hand man ( the second chef). we really need a strap line that represents our service as well as the food.


      • David
        Posted on

        David David

        Reply Author

        Is it necessary to mention the product? “Rely on Joe’s” / “Joe’s Got You’re Back” / “Reliable Joe’s” / “Joe’s Make you Look Good” etc etc?


    • Stuart C
      Posted on

      Stuart C Stuart C

      Reply Author

      We’re an additional support needs charity that provides specialist 1 to 1 support for people with Dyspraxia in Scotland. We’re rebranding because we’re changing to a social enterprise.
      Out strap line is simply “Dyspraxia Scotland, the help that you wished for”. It was developed because our clients usually come to us when they are at their wits end or have not been able to get the help they really want and need.

      Any ideas greatly appreciated and very welcome.

      Thanks.


    • Nicola
      Posted on

      Nicola Nicola

      Reply Author

      Hi Matthew,
      Greater article. I am finding it difficult to make our Usp tangible in just a few words. So is more of a sentence than a line.
      We our a small wellbeing centre that offers counselling, personal training, nutrition etc. Our Usp is that our therapists have experienced the type of therapies we offer due to our own lack of wellbeing at some point in our lives – so we understand… My ‘sentence’ is:
      Our team understands because we have accessed the support we offer at some point in our lives…
      Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
      Thanks,
      Nicola


      • Edel
        Posted on

        Edel Edel

        Reply Author

        A lived experience


    • linda cloke
      Posted on

      linda cloke linda cloke

      Reply Author

      Hi Matthew

      Great article thank you. It inspired me immediately. I am starting a new events business which offers discounts. Its called MiZone and I have come up with the strapline

      It’s Your Choice!

      do you think this is too harsh?


    • Denise
      Posted on

      Denise Denise

      Reply Author

      Timely article. I am about to open a luxury glamping retreat called Swallowfields. The website is currently being built and I would like to add a strapline. The site is set in a wildflower meadow with lots of nature surrounding it. It’s a place to come and chill out, get back to living in the moment and recharge the batteries. Currently have thought of

      space to breathe, time to dream

      or would like a connection to the Swallow bird .. living life as free as a bird … I’d welcome any ideas?


    • mikeonfreeserve
      Posted on

      mikeonfreeserve mikeonfreeserve

      Reply Author

      Nicola,. try

      A better reflection.

      Mike


    • Anna Maria
      Posted on

      Anna Maria Anna Maria

      Reply Author

      Hi ! It is an timeless article 🙂

      I am organizing a PhD School on data Science.

      PhD school “Data Science essential. Preparing for the digitalized energy sector: the case of wind energy.
      I was asked to write a Stripline ??!? so I found your article.

      I thought to
      Discover data with energy
      Discover Innovation
      innovation is discovering
      Data is Energy


    • anna maria
      Posted on

      anna maria anna maria

      Reply Author

      Hi

      I am organize a PhD School
      “Data Science essential. Preparing for the digitalized energy sector: the case of wind ener-gy

      I have been asked to write a Stripeline :-O ??!!
      then I have found your site 🙂

      My first ideas:

      Discovery goes with the wind

      Data is discovery, discovery is opportunity. Mine it.

      Be ready for changes: learn how to discover

      all a bit bad 🙁


    • sallyann
      Posted on

      sallyann sallyann

      Reply Author

      Hi there, I am doing a business degree and we have to do a business plan on a made up business. We have chosen a dog-friendly cafe called Central Bark. We are struggling with a strapline and as we have no customers we can ask we were wondering if anyone has any ideas, please.
      Thanks in advance


    • thina
      Posted on

      thina thina

      Reply Author

      Hi,

      we have a kitchen lifestyle brand that meets your kitchen requirements when you cook,bake,store and cleanup, whilst contributing a added wow factor through a unique product experience, our products are environmentally and socially responsible.

      agencies have previously suggested; it’s taken care of, makes a difference, so much more
      i think” Passion for kitchen & more” could work please share other ideas


    • Camping with Style
      Posted on

      Camping with Style Camping with Style

      Reply Author

      It took me a long time to settle on a strapline for my blog, The one I initially came up with, I later found was already being used by someone, so had to think again, but It’s so important to make sure it says everything you need it to say without being waffly or too obvious and dull.


    • Theme Direct
      Posted on

      Theme Direct Theme Direct

      Reply Author

      Love this article! Great read and some really interesting website straplines! 🙂

      Just wondering on a punchy strapline for our Theme Direct business, the product is a Website Builder with built-in expert Marketing & Promotion tools for non-technical users to promote their new website.

      Any help much appreciated! 🙂


    • Bernard
      Posted on

      Bernard Bernard

      Reply Author

      Hi There

      Thank you for taking the time to write it.

      For a domestic helper employment agency,

      “working for you”

      Any opinions welcome!


    • Annice
      Posted on

      Annice Annice

      Reply Author

      Hi Matt,
      I’m trying to come up with a strapline for an exhibition that I’m working on concerning George Balanchine, his life and works. How does the following sound: Come Dance with Me!
      I am in the initial phase of conception and while I want it to sound catchy and creative, I also want it to be taken seriously. Thanks for your advice.
      Graduate student in Museum Studies


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