Do startups really need branding straplines?

Branding straplines (also known as taglines) aren’t just for big companies or films. There also great for startups. Like a startup pitch the written word needs to state very quickly what your startup does and will do for potential customers.  They’re not as easy to create as you might think. However they are extremely important to bring understanding and direction.

Alice_drink_meAlice in Wonderland
read the label (source)

Prospective customers and partners will only give your written words a few milliseconds  to make their mind up if  your service is a fit for their needs. A strong strapline brings a clear understanding, direction and clarity of purpose to customers and employees. We’ve found that straplines are not easy to create. They take time, effort and commitment. Which is why they are so powerful and effective.

This is a good article on creating straplines.  Once made you also have to deliver on your strapline promise. Otherwise your statement is meaningless and trust will be lost. Over the last few months we’ve found some company/startup straplines we’ve liked:-

  • Invent – Hewlett Packard still remains focused on innovating. This dates right back to the time the founders made things.
  • Experience Fanatical Support – Clearly Rackspace are committed to proving the best possible support. Rackspace’s branding artical.
  • Painless Billing – Again a very clear message. This time from FreshBrooks. Outsource your billing to remove the headache.
  • You Send. They Sign. Its DoneEchoSogn’s use of the classic three short statements. Very effective on what the product does and will do for you.

The top level strapline can build out with more detail into sub messages. Freshbooks is a great example:

  1. Painless Billing
  2. The Fastest Way To Track Time and Invoice Your ClientsThis second message brings more detail on the customers pain point and how Freshbooks will save their customers time.
  3. Send, track and collect payments quickly. Great for teams, freelancers and service providers. – Reinforcing speed and who the service is made made for.

We’ve worked hard on our straplines for our startup:

  1. Aware Monitoring – What we do is in the service name
  2. The easiest way to measure website performance – We make a complex thing much easier
  3. On-demand website monitoring with actionable alerts. Share reports in your business and with your customers. – We are a SaaS service (not software) and we bring useful results which can be shared.

So far we’ve used our strapline messaging for our service blog, launch page, company Twitter and on Crunchbase. Of, course we still need to deliver on the promise.. As Charlie Chaplin said “Words are cheap.”

Straplines embody the vision of an organization, no matter how small the company is. All product/company descriptions and messages  can be derived from the pitch and strapline. Its a like a pyramid of descriptions. This structure bring consistency of understanding and clarity of purpose to potential customers and employees.

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One Response to “Do startups really need branding straplines?”

  1. What the heck is startup brand identity? « Nickpoint Says:

    […] been thinking about startup branding for a while. I recently touched on branding when I posted ‘Do startups really need branding straplines?’ and concluded that top level marketing straplines embody the vision of the startup. This brings […]

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