Apple’s famous tagline. And, coincidently, my advice for approaching your own company tagline.
Everyone loves Apple’s branding and messaging. It’s inspiring! It’s so minimal, yet so profound. It makes us think, “This isn’t just a smartphone. It’s part of my identity. It’s me who’s sophisticated and sleek and innovative. I think differently.”
So, how do you write a tagline that does all of that for your e-commerce brand?
Well, for starters: You don’t.
Brands with global recognition shouldn’t be your inspiration for writing your own tagline. “Think differently” works for Apple because most people already know what product Apple makes.
Because they don’t need to explain themselves, Apple’s tagline can be abstract and aspirational …and it can make exactly zero mention of technology, smartphones, tablets, etc.
But most e-commerce companies don’t have that level of brand recognition. So, we have to think differently about writing a tagline.
Three easy ways to approach writing an e-commerce tagline that customers will remember
1. Start with a noun: the Big Thing your product provides that the competition doesn’t
The first tagline approach? Give it to me straight.
What makes your product the best on the market? What’s distinctive about it?
Build your tagline around your answer.
Example: Allbirds’ tagline, “Better shoes in a better way.” This tagline immediately tells consumers the two things their company is known for: better quality shoes and a production process that’s less harmful.
2. Start with a verb: What your customers can do (or become) with your products that they couldn’t before
The second approach is to go a tiny bit aspirational. Build your tagline around the “transformation” customers get when they buy your products.
It can be helpful to think about this using the formula, “When they buy our product, customers can now [insert transformation] better than ever.” Whatever you put in the brackets becomes the basis for your tagline.
(Just be sure to keep it specific and unique—don’t use “Save more time & money!” as your tagline.)
Example: The Ridge Wallet’s tagline, “Carry Less. Live more.” The big differentiator for their flagship product is that it’s minimal and rugged, so you’re not burdened with a bulky wallet.
3. Lead with your purpose: Why you founded your company
Some e-commerce brands were founded on a purpose bigger than selling a useful or beautiful product. If that’s the case for your company, you can convey your purpose through your tagline—because it might indeed be your differentiating factor.
(Just be sure your mission is something your customers care about almost as much as you do.)
Example: LunchSkins’ tagline, “A lifeless plastic.” Rather than talk about their product features or the transformation customers get this tagline zeroes in on the company’s mission to offer an alternative to single-use plastic bags.
Tips for writing an e-commerce tagline that customers remember
Now that you’ve settled on your approach, it’s time to play with the language and make your tagline perfect. Here are some tips for making your tagline as memorable as possible:
- Keep it short. Three to four words is the sweet spot, but definitely don’t use more than eight. (In Forbes’ “Top 10 Taglines of All Time,” only one was over five words.)
- Pay attention to rhythm. Say your tagline aloud and note how it flows in speech. If it feels clunky to say aloud, try something else.
- Use parallel structure. “Carry less. Live more” is a parallel structure—verb + noun, verb + noun.
- Add some alliteration. People remember alliterations. “A lifeless plastic” uses two L words to make their tagline easier to remember.
- Make sure it’s specific. Someone who’s never heard of your company should be able to read your tagline and get an idea of what you sell and why it’s awesome.
Why your e-commerce tagline matters
Your tagline is the wordy version of your company logo. Both 1) give people an immediate idea of what to expect from you and 2) help people recognize your company more quickly.
And the more customers can remember what your company stands for and sells, the more likely they are to think of it next time they need a product like yours—and the more likely they are to even recommend you to a friend, buy their holiday gifts from your shop, and talk about your brand to their community.
Finally, having a tagline you’re proud of makes your life as the company founder easier. Every time you’re out promoting your company, your tagline can do much of the heavy lifting for you. Instead of having to explain from scratch what you make or what your company does… you can whip out that tagline for an always-memorable starting place.