While only a few words, slogans are powerful marketing tools that can have a dramatic impact on brand recognition and authority. A company slogan is often the first thing that draws a potential customer in, and what helps establish your company’s personality and trustworthiness from the get-go.
Short, sweet, and recognizable slogans – like “Just Do It” or “Got Milk?” – may sound casual and off-the-cuff. However, a lot of thought and intention went into their creation. Marketers are tasked with summing up the essence of their entire brand in a short, memorable statement. Doing a lot with a little can be a daunting task.
While generating a powerful company slogan is no easy feat, there are some strategies that can help you with the process. Below, we’ll go over five key strategies to help you come up with a winning tagline that will ensure your branding is rock solid.
Keep It Short & Simple
The most memorable company slogans tend to be short. Some even use as little as three words, like McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” or General Electric’s “Imagination At Work.” Even slogans that run on the longer side are still very brief. Both Meow Mix’s “It’s So Good, Cas Ask For It By Name” and M&M’s “Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hands” are under 10 words.
Most marketing copywriters will tell you writing 12 words is usually more challenging than writing 1,200. Why? Brevity is difficult – how do you sum your brand in under 10 words? While this might sound nearly impossible, keep in mind that a slogan does not have to tell a customer everything.
You do not have to get into the nitty gritty of what your company does, how it does it, and why. What you are giving the customer is a small taste of your personality and a brief preview of what you are selling. It can help to ask yourself, “What is the biggest benefit of this company?” or “What positive feelings are associated with our product or service?”
WalMart’s slogan is an excellent example. What is WalMart known best for providing? Day-to-day products at a reduced price. Their slogan – “Save Money. Live Better.” – conveys this without going into unnecessary detail. A lesser company might have chosen something like, “Essential Products Sold At An Unbeatable Price.” While this might be a fine tagline for an advertising campaign, it’s a little long and a little clunky for a slogan. WalMart’s less-is-more approach has resulted in one of the most memorable slogans on the modern market.
Focus On Your Audience – Not Your Company
What does your company offer consumers? This is the central question a tagline answers. When writing a slogan, it is easy to get sidetracked by thinking about all the wonderful things your company does. The products and services you provide are of course important, but the best slogans convey your company’s value on a deeper level.
Ask yourself, “If I could sum up what people want from my industry in one sentence, what would I say?” That sentence can serve as a jumping off point to generate some powerful slogans.
A hair salon might be able to boast of high-end products and experienced stylists, and these are definitely points worth mentioning on your website. Your slogan, however, should place more emphasis on the broader appeal of salons in general. When you book a hair appointment, what do you really want? To feel good about yourself by revamping your style right? Ulta Beauty sums this up with the catchy motto, “The Possibilities Are Beautiful.”
Another excellent example is AllState. Customers want the tangible benefits of insurance, of course, like financial protection in the event of an accident. However, a great deal of trust goes into working with an insurance company, and consumers seek out providers who will be their advocates. The saying “You’re In Good Hands With AllState” is reassuring, and immediately establishes trust.
Pick A Company Slogan With Staying Power
As slogans are so heavily associated with a brand, changing your slogan is always a risky move. It is not impossible to adjust a slogan, and many brands have done so successfully, but it’s best to avoid the problem if you can. Therefore, you should select a slogan with staying power. A slogan that was once relevant, fun, and clever can become obsolete over the years as our world changes.
This can be through no fault of your own. A recent example is KFC, who for decades used the slogan “Finger Lickin’ Good.” However, after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, they suspended use of the slogan due to increased concerns regarding public hygiene. These were not circumstances most people could have foreseen.
However, sometimes a company can be shortsighted when it comes to writing a slogan, usually by failing to predict technology will inevitably evolve. Verizon’s “Can You Hear Me Now? Good” was an excellent slogan for years, but was risky in that it referenced specific technology. In modern times, phone calls are only one of many tasks people do on their phone, and more and more consumers use text as their primary mode of communication.
Apple provides a good example of how a tech company can get around the issue of obsolescence when choosing a slogan. “Think Different” conveys everything we associate with the Apple brand and cutting-edge companies in general – a sense of innovation, the ability to be on the forefront of change in the market. It does so without signaling out a specific technology, giving the slogan a sense of timelessness.
Pick A Company Slogan That Compliments Your Logo
Copy and design go hand-in-hand when it comes to cultivating a memorable brand, so much so that some marketers recommend designing your logo before your slogan. Consistent branding is one of the best ways to ensure your company is recognizable on a wider scale, and a solid combination of vision and text is the best means to achieve this.
Your slogan and logo should complement each other. They should suggest the same thing about your product or service. A cartoonish, light-hearted logo wouldn’t pair well with a somber slogan, and vice versa. An unclear brand identity can easily make potential customers feel confused or unclear about your company.
A good example of a logo and slogan that work well together comes from Nike. Nike arguably has the most memorable logo and slogan on the modern market, and one major reason is both capture the essence of Nike’s brand. The swoosh logo suggests movement, while “Just Do It” is a motivational statement that encourages drive and initiative. Combined, they reflect the athleticism we associate with the Nike brand.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
Marketers often want to stay professional when writing a slogan. You should of course avoid slogans that are obscene, or slogans that are suggestive, abrasive, or potentially offensive in other ways. However, that does not mean slogans have to be 100% serious. Sometimes, a playful slogan that employs creative elements can be an excellent means to get potential customers to pause for a moment.
Wordplay, rhyming, and casual humor can all make a slogan feel fun, which can be beneficial if you’re aiming to brand yourself as a more lighthearted company. Lay’s Potato Chips uses slang in their slogan, “Betcha Can’t Eat Just Once,” for example. Bounty’s slogan – “The Quicker Picker Upper” – employs rhyme and rhythm in a playful fashion. Citgo’s “Fueling Good” makes a customer do a double take through wordplay, which catches their attention.
Overreliance on humor or wordplay can be a bad thing, especially if you are selling a more serious product. However, in many cases, a creative slogan can give you a major edge over the competition.
The Bottom Line
There is no denying that composing a good slogan can be a challenge, but it is integral to building a strong brand. Therefore, take the necessary time to come up with something truly unique that will both stand apart on the market and positively reflect your brand. The above tips should give you a solid foundation to get started.
Need some help? At LookinLA, we build data-driven marketing strategies for clients to help them become industry leaders. We have experience working with a diverse range of clients. You can read success stories here and reach out to book a call here. We look forward to hearing from you.