Working with brands to establish or reinvent their identities, we’ve heard a lot of talk about brand taglines lately. What brands have the most memorable taglines? Which ones have the worst? Are brand taglines even necessary today?

Even if it never sees the light of day, going through the exercise of creating a concise slogan can set the tone for how a brand communicates who they are and what they represent. If nothing else, a great tagline can become a constant source of inspiration. “Just do it,” anyone?

So, what do the most successful brand taglines of the world have in common?

They Are Simple

From “Are You In Good Hands?” to “Live Más,” a great tagline can be so simple it hurts. Some of our favorites aren’t even complete sentences. The most effective taglines capture the essence of a brand’s values succinctly and powerfully.

They Are Timeless

Despite the news that Scrabble added 5,000 new words this year to their dictionary, smart taglines avoid slang or recently coined terms that will inevitably become dated. That means no hashtags. A great tagline can represent a brand for years to come and should survive the test of time.

They Are Memorable

Leaving a lasting impression is hard. Doing it in a single phrase is even more difficult. So, our hats go off to the brands that nail it. Just reading “Always Coke-a-Cola” puts the jingle into our heads and the Apple logo constantly reminds us to “Think Different.” Creating a memorable tagline can take a lot of time, and some trial and error. It’s all worth it when a brand lands on something that resonates with the world.

They Become Synonymous With Their Brands

When a consumer sees a brand tagline, they should instantly associate it with the related brand. This seems obvious, right? It is astounding how many people can recall a tagline without knowing the brand it belongs to. An amazing tagline is useless if nobody connects the dots back to the brand.

They Are Aspirational

BMW boasts that they build “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and American Express warns “Don’t Leave Home Without It.” The most powerful taglines skillfully toe the line between reality and the ambitions of a brand without over-embellishing. If all taglines were straightforward, the people at Honest Slogans would have nothing to do.

Their Brands Stick To Them

It takes time for consumers to trust and ultimately, gain affinity for a brand. The introduction of change can confuse people and set back any progress that’s been made. Although successful brands should evolve over time, a well-crafted tagline needs to be given enough time to grow on audiences. In 1948, De Beers said “Diamonds Are Forever” and they meant it. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who disagrees.

Bonus: They Aren’t Punny

“Puns aren’t funny and should never be used.” – Luke Sullivan.