What's in a Strap Line?

20th August 2014

So let’s get our terminology right here. Is a strap line the same as a slogan? Oh, and how about a mission statement and a positional statement? Actually if that sounds like a trick question, it’s not meant to. Yes, a strap line and a slogan are much the same thing, but is it what you’re looking for?


Let’s clear the decks by considering mission statements first. Remember that your logo represents your brand but isn’t your brand, your brand is who you are and what you stand for. But it’s more than this, your brand should also reflect the reason why you do what you do. No, you don’t exist just to make money, you also exist to fulfil a function. Your mission statement is how you word this.


Take Google’s mission statement for example: “To organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful. “ It’s simple, it states what they’re up to and tells you where they’re going. Amazon’s is about the same: “To be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Precise, to the point and, frankly, just a bit scary. Having said that, most mission statements are for internal use, but, even so…That aside, the question has to be, do you have a simply articulated mission statement for your business? If not you might want to work one up because if you’re not completely clear about where you’re going and what you’re trying to achieve, no one else will be either.


Back to strap lines. Here are three to look at:


Just do it.


Diamonds are forever


The world’s local bank.


You’ll probably know them all, but how well do they work? What can you tell about the company behind “Just do it” from those three words? There’s a kind of brave assertiveness, but that’s about it. Do you have the several million pounds available in your marketing budget to teach your audience that “Just do it” refers to you? Nike obviously have and they’ll have spent it. It’s clever, and, rather like “You’re worth it” catchy…but at a huge cost of introduction.


How about “diamonds are forever”?  At least it mentions what the business is, which narrows the field somewhat. And, backed by some subliminal messaging courtesy of James Bond and Shirley Bassey this works well as a slogan for De Beers, the world’s diamond magnate. It’s a slogan that informs, at least a bit, but still involves a huge marketing budget to get the message across.


And “The world’s local bank”? Well, it’s a bank, it has branches worldwide and it’s on the High St. Do you see how HSBC’s strapline not only contains more information about themselves but also how they want to be perceived. We’re local. We’re worldwide!


It’s about perception and positioning. The more you can say about your business in your strapline, the more useful it is and the less you have to worry about having to teach your audience to remember it. “Beanz Meanz Heinz” works a treat, it tells you everything you need to know. “Have a break – Have a Kit Kat” does too. They tell a story in themselves. A clever positioning statement like these is worth its weight in gold, they’re simple effective and very clever…how about yours?





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