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  • Writer's pictureDeJuan Wright

How to Create a Great One-Liner For Your Startup

Updated: Jan 27

Famed actor and comedian, the late Rodney Dangerfield, was once one of the biggest headlining acts on the late-night television and Las Vegas casino circuit in the 1960s and 1970s. People not only traveled from all over the U.S.—they even traveled from all over the world to visit Las Vegas just so they could see Rodney perform his hilarious act live in person.

Although Dangerfield (whose real name is Jack Roy) was known for his funny facial expressions, animated body language, and stories about his bad luck; the thing that really made his act stand out the most were his classic one-liners.

Rodney’s one-liners were so great, they helped catapult his career from being a struggling salesman in New York—to becoming one of the most popular comedians of all-time. That’s the power great one-liners could not only have for a career in entertainment—but also for your startup's branding objectives.

What are one-liners?

Make no mistake, despite how some may feel about this aspect of the profession of marketing; the ultimate objective of a marketing campaign is to secure storage space in the mind of a particular audience in order to eventually influence that audience to take a desired action.

And one-liners do a great job of helping brands accomplish that feat. Which is why so many successful brands continue to use them.

If you’re unfamiliar with a branding one-liner, a one-liner is a succinct statement brands use to convey a message to their audience of just how their brand will be beneficial to them.

“A one-liner is a concise statement you can use to clearly explain what you offer. It is the most powerful tool you could use to make customers curious about your brand.” Says co-authors, Donald Miller and Dr. J.J. Peterson in their book, Marketing Made Simple.

Why are they so powerful?

Speaking of simple, when you really think about it—consumers aren’t as complicated as many make them out to be. Essentially, every consumer is the star of their own script. And in that script—they see themselves receiving all of the things they want—whenever they want them.

Our job as marketing professionals is to get to the bottom of just what it is that consumers truly want—and position our brands as the best option to help them attain it.

On the surface level, Josh wants a pair of designer jeans. But what a great marketer does is delve deeper to understand just why Josh wants a pair of designer jeans—in order to convey to him just how he’ll ultimately attain what he’s searching for after purchasing their brand’s designer jeans.

Which is exactly what entails a great one-liner. The thing that makes a one-liner so powerful for brands is that it’s all about acknowledging what the consumer wants, and painting a picture in their mind on how your brand will help them receive it.

How to create a one-liner

One of the things I love most about marketing is that it totally ignites your creativity. That’s because creativity is definitely the biggest tool required for marketing. Another tool required is psychology. And in order to create a great one-liner—you’ll need to utilize both in order to leave a lasting impression in the mind of your audience.

To create a one-liner, there are three elements that must be included: (1) An issue, (2) The fix, (3) An optimal outcome.

For example, let’s say that you owned a fictional startup brand called ‘Hearty Artie’s,’ which produced homemade dog food made entirely with human grade ingredients. A great one-liner for your brand could be:

“Most dog owners have a difficult time finding food for their dog that’s just as healthy as something they would eat themselves. At Hearty Artie’s, we only produce food for man’s best friend that man himself would consume, so that your furry best friend can have superb health and live a longer life.”

This would work because it addresses all three elements of a one-liner:

  1. The issue: Dog owners having a hard time finding healthy dog food for their beloved pet.

  2. The fix: Hearty Artie’s dog food is so healthy—health-conscious consumers would eat it themselves.

  3. The optimal outcome: What does every good dog owner want more than anything? It’s for their furry best friend to be healthy for as long as possible of course. Which is why this one-liner would stamp the optimal outcome in the mind of your brand’s target audience.

It’s vital to remember that when creating a one-liner, only focus on one issue the consumer is looking to resolve. The objective here is simply to position your brand as the solution to just one particular pain point.


One-liners are a very effective tool that helps a brand communicate an issue that it resolves for its audience. If crafted correctly, a one-liner could be what gives your startup an edge over all the others in its industry vying for the attention of your target audience.

Once you have your one-liner, feature it on your brand’s website, social media, and all of your marketing materials.

If you’d like for us to create a one-liner for your startup, contact us to become a Decryption client and we’ll begin the process of decrypting the best narrative that’ll connect with your ideal audience.


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