Personal branding part two: Crafting a personal tagline


  by Kath Magrobi

Personal branding part two: Crafting a personal tagline

The second of a four-part course on personal branding. The no bull guide to understanding personal taglines. And to creating one that works for you.

Reading time: 4-5 mins

Last month we explained the benefits of developing an authentic personal branding strategy. We also said: start with a personal branding statement. And we gave you creativity sparks so you could create a vivid branding statement of your own. 

Now, we turn the focus to your personal tagline. Read on to find out what this is and why you need it. Then do the exercises and create one that’s on-the-nail for the brand you’ll start projecting into the world.

What is a personal tagline?

It’s a memorable motto that serves as a permanent expression of your greater purpose. A taglines is long-lasting (and) instantly recognizable with your brand. It’s targeted to the people you most want to reach out to. Both helping to attract new audiences, and keep you top of mind with your existing audience (source).

You can use your personal tagline for your email signature, in your social media profiles, on business cards, and wherever your audience needs to get a sense of who you are and the value you bring.

Getting familiar with taglines through commercial examples:

  • Alien (the movie) – In space nobody can hear you scream
  • Nike – Just do it
  • Redbull gives you wings
  • The New York Times – The truth is worth it
  • Time magazine – The world’s most interesting magazine
  • WWF – Taking action for a living planet

Think about it: 

What brand taglines pop into your mind without too much thinking? 

Which taglines appeal to you the most? Can you work out why they resonate with you?

Clarity, creativity, benefits

Back in 2010’s, US marketing research academics did a deep dive into the psychology of taglines. Over and again, people preferred taglines where:

  1. The message was clear and simple
  2. The wording was clever, creative, and catchy
  3. The benefit to the intended audience was obvious

Eldzier Cortor, The Eviction

Do individual taglines follow the same rules? 

Yes, because a personal tagline is a way of getting right down to the nitty gritty of your own story. It’s grounded in your values, says what you’re best at, explains who you serve, and tells how you’re different from everybody else.


From the Isabel Allende Foundation website.

Author Isabel Allende clearly defines that here she is wearing her social justice, advocacy and non-profit hat. The tagline is short, and values driven. It does assume that you know a bit about Isabel Allende – she has the advantage of being a famous writer. 

Here, what Ann Handley offers is immediately obvious in their tagline.

From the Ann Handley website.

Download an exercise on good and bad taglines
Download a worksheet to help you craft your tagline

Last month: Building your personal brand
Next month: The art of the elevator pitch

Interesting reading: How Women Can Develop — and Promote — Their Personal Brand.

The QW+ personal branding course draws on material we use in our media training. It is a unique blend of leadership and media skills training offered through an unabashedly feminist lens. Contact to discuss your organisation’s training needs.

Featured image: Thandiwe Muriu, Camo 2.0