How to Write an Employer Brand Tagline that Doesn't Suck2 min read.
You know that short phrase that lives at the top of your careers site? Yes, it matters.
Your employer brand tagline should distil the essence of your employer brand into a few well-chosen and impactful words. It sounds simple, but all too often we see companies miss the mark, with words at the top of a sleekly designed job page that look to be the result of a particularly uncreative last-minute brainstorm; that feel like a hollow, copy-paste Hallmark Christmas card message.
Think of how many companies broadly reference ‘making a difference’ or ‘building the future.’ There’s nothing particularly wrong with this, it’s just overdone. Taglines like this are ten a penny; there’s nothing unique or compelling about them and they don’t tell candidates what they need to know.
Given that it’s a key tool in your arsenal to differentiate your company from others, your tagline should not be a careless afterthought. If it smacks of cliché or stands at odds with how people think of your company, your talent audience will notice, and you risk appearing tone deaf and insincere.
Instead, your tagline should be approached with the same creativity and diligence that you adopted when forming your brand. It is not going to be completely unique, and that’s okay. Inevitably it will share a theme or sentiment with other companies. But if it’s true to your organisation and isn’t a thinly veiled copy of your competitors’ messages, you are on the right track.
Let’s look at some examples.
These taglines focus on growth, development, and the benefit the employee will derive from joining the organisation:
HubSpot – Let’s Grow Together
H&M – Be Everything You already are and everything you can be
NatWest – We Champion Potential
Others broaden out beyond the individual, focusing on the impact an employee can have on the wider world:
King – Making the world playful
BT - The connections you make will help shape tomorrow
Nestle – Be a force for good
Nike – Move the world
These taglines speak to their audiences’ inner ambition, and the intrinsic joy of undertaking a challenge:
YouTube – Create in Unexpected Ways
Next – Let’s take it on
To be an authentic representation, your employer brand tagline needs to be propped up by a bed of research.
If you have been thorough with your employer brand research, gathering data of your employees’ unfiltered perceptions, you will already have a solid idea of the reality of your employee experience. That’s good. Distilling it down further shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
Unfortunately, there’s no specific formula for writing an EB tagline as it should be completely centred on the unique experience your company can offer. There are, however, guidelines to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Here are five criteria to satisfy when devising your slogan:
Is it expressing something different enough from your competitors to stand out?
Is it interesting or even important to your talent audience? Does it accurately reflect the most important aspect of your employer brand.
Will it still represent the company in 12 months’ time regardless of trends, growth or changes in the industry?
Is it ‘out there’ enough to resonate with talent?
Can it flex as your company continues to progress?
As this diagram shows, you should look to target the sweet spot between what your consumers want, and what your brand does best.
Ultimately, the goal is to produce a streamlined phrase that expresses and aligns with the mission values. One that serves as a tangible bridge from the reality of today to the aspiration of tomorrow.
If it elicits questions or curiosity from the reader, this can be a compelling tool, but those questions need to be intentionally thought out.
We’re looking for “how might that apply to me?” rather than “is this English?”
Nike’s consumer line ‘Just do it,’ is one of the world’s most powerful slogans because the ‘it’ is personal to whoever reads those words. Everyone and their grandmother know the phrase because Nike hit the nail on the head by balancing the emphasis on company values with the individual consumer.
Once you’ve come up with your tagline, ask yourself:
Does this apply to the vision of the organisation and the immediacy of the individual?
If you can achieve that, you’re creating a correlation between what something means to a prospective employee and what it means to everyone in the organisation and that’s as good as it gets.