Creating a slogan for your company seems to be the right business decision, but have you done your homework? Have you collected data to know what your customers prefer and how they can be stimulated to make a purchase?
With the advent of neuromarketing, creating a catchy business slogan has become a science, and today, big firms spend millions of dollars on determining how their customers respond to a marketing stimulus. Sounds too confusing? It doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s explore some techniques that you can use to craft a slogan that will resonate with your customers.
What is A Slogan?
The definition of a slogan is a catchphrase that represents a product or company and communicates the key message you want consumers to associate with the company or product.
Great slogans are effective and their hold on the consumer’s mind is long- lasting. A great, catchy slogan, to which your consumers can feel an attachment, can make them go out of their way to be associated with your product.
However, creating such great slogans is no simple task. Many may even find it difficult to know where to begin. Creating a good marketing slogan starts with knowing what it is and how it works. The three-word vague tagline that you see associated with every branded product or service is actually a vital component of any business strategy. These are designed to make the customer believe that the product is reliable.
Slogans are verbal signatures of a company that deliver the company’s persuasive message to the consumer.
While there is no universal formula for creating a catchy business slogan, all successful business slogans have certain common characteristics. Before creating a slogan for your business, you must know what things make a slogan catchy and try to include them in your business slogan to make it catchy and effective.
The best advertising slogans of all of them are those that instantly grab the customer’s attention and urge them to make a purchase.
What Is the Difference Between a Slogan and a Tagline?
An important difference between a slogan and a tagline is that a slogan is usually for a short-term promotion of a marketing campaign.
Taglines are short, memorable phrases used in marketing campaigns to convey the value of a product or brand. An effective tagline leaves consumers with a positive perception of the brand.
What Is the Purpose of a Slogan?
A slogan is a unique tagline that can be used for several purposes. From brand differentiation to making a promise, the short, catchy phrase contains deep meanings.
- To present a call to action – Metropolitan Life “Have you met life today?”
- To differentiate a brand – Matchbox “We sell more cars than Ford, Chrysler,
- Chevrolet, and Buick combined”
- To explain the brand name – ANA “All Nippon Airways”
- To identify with a consumer group – SAS “The business airline of Europe”
- To provide a reason to buy – M&M “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”
- To state a distinctive competence – Energizer “Keeps going and going and going”
- To identify with a societal concern – IBM “Solutions for a small planet”
Slogans are designed to influence customers both rationally and emotionally. The words used in a slogan are carefully chosen to deliver the brand essence to the customer while maintaining a human touch. Many slogans make promises that consumers expect the company to keep. For example, if a slogan says “the bank with a smile”, the employees of that bank are expected to greet the customers with a smile.
Every business needs a catchy marketing slogan, one that can stick in their customers’ minds, help the company build its brand image, and increase sales. A good slogan can help you get and keep your customers’ attention even when your marketing campaign has ended and you have stopped offering the product or service.
Creating a prominent brand identity is what great slogans do. They are an integral part of brand building because they work as a shadow for your brand name. A brand name alone cannot be meaningful and comprehensible. It must be accompanied with a slogan that can elaborate the one-word noun.
Let’s review some examples:
- KFC – Makes any sense? Couple it with “Finger lickin’ good” and you get the brand’s essence.
- Disney – The slogan “where dreams come true” explains how the theme park turns fantasies into realities.
- Nike – the brand’s slogan “Just do it” provides a call to action and urges customers to make a purchase.
How To Create A Slogan in 6 Steps
Step 1: Know Why You Need a Slogan
Why do you need a slogan? The answer to this question determines the success of your business slogan. It serves as a foundation to your business slogan and therefore, you must answer this crucial question objectively.
We can break this question into three parts to make it more precise and clear. Find answers to the following three questions and you are ready to proceed to the next step.
1. What do you have to offer?
Identify the product or service you want to promote. Know your product. List down its features, advantages, disadvantages, and identify one unique thing that differentiates it from the competitor’s product.
If you are creating a slogan for a product, observe it closely. Identify the color or shape that makes it stand out, and use that unique feature in the slogan. A good example can be M&M’s slogan that says, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” The company released this slogan in 1954 and it’s still doing great. The Washington Post recognized it as the most-liked advertising slogan in 2014.
2. Who are you trying to reach?
Know your audience. List the demographic characteristics of your potential users and their likes and dislikes. Know if your customer base has more males or females, what is their education and income level, which age group do they belong to, etc. You may also consider interviewing some customers and ask them questions to know what marketing strategy you should use to stimulate their response.
Consider Pepsi’s former slogan “Come alive with Pepsi”. Since Pepsi’s customers are mostly teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 to 29, the company played very smartly and created a slogan that could spark energy and liveliness.
3. What exactly do you want to happen?
Identify the specific action you want to inspire and think it through for your target group.
Subway is a good example of this. The renowned fast food restaurant company uses “Eat fresh” as its advertising slogan. The slogan emphasizes how the company uses only fresh ingredients to make ‘customized’ sandwiches for customers with specifications.
Step 2: Turn Ideas into Words
Once you have some data, it’s time to sit and try to make sense of the findings. Assemble a brainstorming team to determine what words can transform your concept into a slogan. It’s better to have a lot of heads in the room. Aim for at least five to six people, and if possible include the final decision makers in the process.
Make sure that each participant has the list of targets you want to achieve through this slogan. You may also consider taping the list of targets to the wall. Assign one person to jot down all the ideas, preferably on a white board that is easily visible to everyone.
Start with words. Ask your participants to suggest words that address the needs of the customers and support the company’s objective. Make a list of all the words suggested by the participant and then proceed to the next step.
Ask people to make three to five-word slogans that can deliver the actual concept. Write down all the suggestions, even those that use the same words with a slight variation.
At the end of the session, be ruthless. Slash your options to four to six finalists and then leave the decision to the decision makers.
Step 3: Time to Decide
So, you have come to the most crucial step of the process – decision making. The fewer people you have at this step, the better. Only involve stakeholders – ones who mean business and have the decision-making ability along with a creative instinct. If you are a flat structure organization, shortlist two or three managers and leave the decision to them. If you involve 8 to 10 people, then it will be completely useless.
Let the participants analyze each of the slogan finalists. Consider the following parameters:
- How does the slogan sound?
- Is it short enough to be memorized after being heard only once?
- Does it deliver the original concept?
- Is it specific to the product or service?
- Can it connect on an emotional level with the audiences?
- And lastly, is it catchy?
Ask the decision makers to assign marks to each slogan in the above categories. This provides you with a numeric result so you can easily recognize which one of the suggested slogans stand out and can provide your product most exposure. You may also opt for group decision making. Let everyone speak. Listen to their views carefully and select a slogan with mutual agreement.
If you cannot come to a consensus, consider trying it on a group of your prospective customers. This can help you break the deadlock and make a strategically valid choice.
Step 4: Test for Effectiveness
Have you ever heard about clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies? This step serves the same purpose. You test the slogan on a group of customers for its effectiveness and identify improvement areas. It is important to test the effectiveness of the slogan before it has gone public in order to save millions of dollars on advertising a slogan that just won’t work.
Depending on the size of your customer base, you may choose a group of 20 to 200 people and ask them questions to determine the effectiveness of the slogans.
When creating a catchy slogan for a business, make sure that the slogan has following three things:
- Clarity – Is the slogan clear and unambiguous? Can they comprehend what it is trying to say?
- Concise – The benefit of having short slogans cannot be overemphasized. While many big firms have two-sentence slogans as well, it is better to play safe and be concise. Examples: “Got milk” (American Dairy Association) and “Exactly” (Hertz).
- Substance – Ask the customers to extract a concept from the slogan. Determine if the slogan inspires them to take your desired action.
- Persuasion – Determine if the slogan provides the customers a concrete reason to take an action.
Beware of the following pitfalls and make sure that your slogan doesn’t have any of these.
- Negativity – Negative messages can demotivate your customers and depress action
- Unjustified Assertions – Don’t say anything you can’t prove. For example, a rug store came up with a slogan “thousands of rugs in every store”. This suggests that the store has a huge collection, right? Turns out they have only 215 rugs in their store.
- Self-talk – Stop talking about your own problems. Never use slogans to motivate your customers. “The Fun Company” or “Profit with purpose” may get you more job applications but your sales are likely to remain unaffected or may even drop. Therefore, make your customers the centerpiece of your slogan.
Step 5: Let it Go
Your slogan is love at first sight? Great! But if it isn’t, let it go and try again. Creating your company’s slogan is a crucial decision and you should not settle for something mediocre. Keep your objectives in mind and start again. Chances are you will come up with a slogan that really works.
Step 6: Protect Your Slogan
Now that you have gone through all five steps, you know how much effort and time is needed to create a catchy business slogan. Therefore, you must gain full control over your slogan and register your “mark”. Trademark infringement is not an uncommon sight in the advertising industry. Companies like Nike and Cisco have faced lawsuits for trademark infringement that cost them millions of dollars. Therefore, if you were creative enough to create an original slogan, you’ve gotta protect it.
You can use the trademark TM sign to let the public know that you claim the ownership rights to your slogan, even when you haven’t received federal registration. However, the registration symbol ® can only be used when the trademark has been legally registered with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).
Bonus Tips For Creating A Catchy Slogan
1. Use Rhyming Words
Use words that have similar sounds, or simply, use rhyming words. Human brain loves rhymes and slogans that use rhyming words are likely to remain with the customers forever.
“Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” – Timex
2. Repeat the Words
It’s against the rules of good writing to repeat words excessively. However, in slogan writing, it’s acceptable to repeat a word or two for the sake of making the slogan sound catchy and memorable. Consider the following examples:
- “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” – Maybelline
- “The mission with a heart. In the heart of the city.” – Central Union Mission, Washington, D.C.
3. Use Alliteration
Using words that have the same consonant sound can also add to the memorability and catchiness of the slogan. But beware! Excessive use of alliterations may make your slogan sound more like a tongue twister. So, make sure to create a balance by using words that have a little opposing sound.
- “Put a tiger in your tank.” – Esso
- “Do the dew.” – Mountain Dew
4. Create Rhythm
The slogan “the quicker picker-upper” (Bounty) is fun to say and quite catchy. It’s because the slogan not only uses rhyming words, but also has a great rhythm that make it sound more like a jingle.
- “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” – U.S. Forest Service
- “The nighttime sniffling sneezing coughing aching stuffy head fever so you can rest medicine.” – NyQuill
5. Create an Image
Creating an image using words is considered to be the most advanced level of marketing by marketing experts. It involves using words smartly to create an image or situation that doesn’t exist in reality. The following slogans are the perfect illustration of image creation using words:
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” – UNCF Fund
“From harm to home.” – International Rescue Committee
6. Twist a Cliché
Observe how smartly the American Heart Association twisted “Live and Learn” to “Learn and Live” to create a catchy slogan that was already imprinted on the users’ mind. Twisting a cliché is one of the easiest ways to create a catchy slogan. However, make sure that you don’t violate any copyright rules and regulations before using the slogan in public advertising campaigns.
10 Examples of Businesses with Powerful Slogans
1.“Impossible is Nothing” – Adidas
Adidas introduced this slogan in 2004 with the intention to deliver the basic ideology of the company in one catchy phrase.
The phrase effectively communicates Adidas’ passion for sports. Adidas’ marketing experts have successfully twisted the famous motivational cliché “nothing is impossible” to create a puzzling phrase that captures the essence of the brand.
If you superficially analyze it, it implies that there is no such thing as impossible, but Adidas has cleverly communicated the message that when you use sportswear of the famous German brand, even impossible can be achieved easily.
2. “Connecting People” – Nokia
Nokia has been in the telecommunication business since the 1960s. The company introduced the famous slogan “Connecting People” in 1992 and hasn’t changed it for more than 13 years now. The two-word slogan delivers the company’s mission and vision – to connect people, no matter the distance between them.
“Connecting People” is considered to be one of the most successful business slogans even today. It’s short, clear, memorable, and with Nokia’s trademark music, it sounds quite catchy.
3. “Think Different” – Apple
Apple’s slogan “Think Different” was created by the same advertising agency that created “Impossible is nothing’ for Adidas, and no wonder, both the slogans are grammatically incorrect. However, “Think Different” did wonders for the company after its release in 1997.
A whole advertising campaign was named after this slogan that featured footage of famous personalities such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, and many others.
The slogan gained so much popularity that it became a lifestyle statement for people who didn’t appreciate the status quo and believed in doing things in their own way.
Marketing experts believe that Apple’s “Think Different” is actually a call-to- action to stimulate people to buy a computer (Mac) that’s different from the rest (Microsoft).
4. “Finger Lickin’ Good” – Kentucky Fried Chicken
KFC’s slogan “Finger Lickin’ Good” is a perfect example of ‘creativity is spontaneous.’ The slogan is not a production of an advertising agency; rather it originated coincidentally from a spontaneous situation.
Harland David, the founder of KFC, noticed how people licked their fingers after finishing their dinner at KFC and hence he came up with “Finger Lickin’ Good.” The slogan was released in the 1950s and was acknowledged as one of the most successful slogans of the 20th century. The company replaced the famous slogan in 2011 with “So Good” to establish a healthier image.
5. “Breakfast for Champions” – Wheaties
Wheaties slogan “Breakfast for Champions” is a good example of incorporating an aspirational element to the slogan. The brand targets kids with the desire to become an athlete. The company started using this slogan in the 1920’s and hasn’t changed it since then because of its tremendous success.
6. “Can you hear me now? Good.” – Verizon
Verizon, a company known for providing the best cellular service, released this slogan in 2002, almost 20 years after its creation, and the slogan did wonders for the company. Today, Verizon stands at 15th in the list of Fortune 500 companies.
7. “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.” – MasterCard
Marketing experts believe that a three to five word tagline performs the best, but MasterCard took the risk and released this two-sentence slogan in 1997 and today it stands at a good position in the Fortune 500 list.
8. “When it absolutely, positively has to get their overnight” – Fedex
The words ‘absolutely’ and ‘positively’ kind-of rhyme together and make the slogan catchy. While the second part of the slogan “has to get their overnight” talks about company’s prompt services.
9. “Grace, space, pace” – Jaguar
There’s absolutely no question about the catchiness of this slogan, and it delivers the true essence of the company that manufactures luxury sports cars.
10. “Connecting people” – Nokia
The two-word slogan is extremely catchy with the trademark musical tune of Nokia, and it tells customers about the company’s mission of connecting people worldwide.
What Makes A Good Slogan? 10 Important Qualities!
1. A Slogan Should Be Meaningful
This is probably the most important yet most ignored characteristic of a catchy slogan. A slogan needs to have some meaning for the customer to be successful. It should speak about the brand and communicate information to the customer.
It is common to see great, rhyming slogans that are extremely catchy but completely pointless. In order to get the customer involved, the slogan should deliver some information that is meaningful to the customer.
A classic example is:
“Save money. Live better.” – Walmart
2. A Slogan Should Motivate the Customer
A tagline that doesn’t motivate the customer to buy the product is as useless as decaffeinated coffee. A good slogan must be persuasive and make the customer feel related to the product and urge them to buy it immediately. Advertising experts recommend using short slogans when the primary intent is to motivate the customer to make a purchase.
Some classic examples:
- “Just do it.” – Nike
- “Take a bite out of crime.” – Crime Prevention Coalition
- “Open happiness” – Coca Cola
3. A Slogan Should Be Memorable
A slogan needs to be memorable to succeed. There are various factors that can make a slogan more memorable. Frequent repetition is one way to achieve this target, but research studies show us that overuse of a slogan leads to limited life-span.
Some proven ways to increase the memorability is to use alliterations, metaphors, coined words, puns, jingles, rhyming words, and humor. Humors and puns spark customers’ interest in the slogan, which ultimately leads to slogan memorization.
Some classic examples:
- Coined Words – “Fruitius. Yogurtus. Delicia.” – Ski Fruit
- Puns – “Chexellent, or what?” – Frosted Chex
4. A Slogan Should Include a Key Benefit
The slogan is your leave-behind, so make sure that you are leaving something that is useful to the customer. The customer is not interested in whether you are the “Britain’s second largest international scheduled airline” (slogan of Air Europe) or not, they want the car that’s “engineered like no other car in the world” (slogan of Mercedes Benz).
So, don’t write a slogan that’s all about the company. Yes, it is important to let the customer know about your mission and vision, but there are better ways to communicate this. The slogan should be used to convey the useful information only that is meaningful from the customer’s point of view.
Some classic examples:
- “Taste. Not waist.” – Weight Watchers
- “Keeps going and going and going.” – Energizer
- “Mends everything but a broken heart.” – Fix-All Liquid Cement
5. A Slogan Should Sound Positive
Negative book titles don’t sell, and the same rule applies to slogans as well. A slogan should contain positive words and phrases that can ignite customers’ interest in the product.
Negative sloganeering that tries to persuade the customers to buy a particular product by making competitors’ product look inferior is less likely to generate effective slogans.
Some classic examples:
- “You’ll love the way we fly.” – Delta Airlines
- “The key to a nice, relaxed evening.” – Horlicks
- “Fast food and good for you.” – Egg Marketing Board
6. A Slogan Should Reflect a Brand’s Personality
In the world of marketing, a brand is considered to be at the highest level of effectiveness when it becomes a human being. Developing a brand to this extent is one of the most difficult marketing tasks, but when achieve it delivers great results.
Whenever creating a slogan for your advertising campaign, it is important that you think of it as a personality. Try incorporating the prominent features of your product into the slogan to make it reflect the brand’s personality. Your slogan must be in line with your brand personality.
Some classic examples:
- “Think small.” – Volkswagen Beetle
- “Don’t leave home without it.” – American Express Card
7. A Slogan Should Be Campaignable
This means that a slogan should work across a series of advertising campaigns. Ideally, in order to be campaignable, a slogan should have a shelf- life of 10 to 12 years. Slogans such as “Just do it”, “Got milk”, and “I’m lovin’ it” are some good examples of campaignable slogans.
In addition to this, whenever creating a new slogan it is important to make sure that the new slogan represents the same basic concept delivered by the former slogans. Look at the slogans used by Pepsi over the last 60 years; they all have the same liveliness and energy.
- 1964 – “Come alive, you’re in the Pepsi generation.”
- 1969 – “You’ve got a lot to live, and Pepsi’s got a lot to give.” 1980 – “Catch the Pepsi spirit.”
- 1991 – “Pepsi. A generation ahead.”
- 1992 – “Be young, have fun, drink Pepsi.”
- 1997 – “Generation next.”
- 2007 – “Taste the one that’s forever young.”
- 2012 – “Live for now.”
8. A Slogan Should Be Simple
Probably the only widely-accepted rule of creating a catchy slogan is to keep it simple. While long, difficult words give a more ‘corporate’ look to any tagline, they do not appeal to the customer and are likely to go unnoticed. Using short, easy words not only increases the memorability of the slogan, they also make the slogan sound catchy.
Some classic examples:
- “You leave. Arrive before.” – British Airways Concorde
- “Cash if you die, cash if you don’t.” – Lloyd’s Life Insurance
9. A Slogan Should Not Be Usable by a Competitor
A slogan should not be so generic that anyone can use it simply by substituting the brand name. One way to avoid this issue is to use your company’s name in the slogan such as “My goodness, my Murphy’s!”
(Murphy’s) and “Have you met life today?” (MetLife). Also, avoid using general statements. Try creating slogans that have competitive differentiation.
Some classic examples:
- “Get N or get out.” – Nintendo
- “R-O-L-A-I-D-S spells relief.” – Rolaids
10. A Slogan Should Differentiate the Brand
Why do you need slogans? Ask this question to any marketer and most definitely their answer would be any of these – “to differentiate a brand from its competitors”, “to make a product look superior”, “to make a product stand out from its competition,” etc. A good slogan should feature a characteristic about the product or service that sets it apart from the competitors. It should give customers a reason to make a purchase.
If you are thinking this is quite similar to adding a key benefit, you are mistaken. The key benefits that your product offers may not be its unique benefit. For example, if you’re selling a perfume and its fragrance lasts for 24 hours, you may name it as a key feature but this is not something that only your product offers.
There must be numerous other perfumes available on the market offering the same benefits or even more than what your product has to offer. Therefore, make sure that your slogan provides your customers with a reason to buy your product by differentiating it from its competition.
Consider this slogan: “Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach.” Notice how the leading cider and beer company differentiates its beer from the other, and create a slogan that can serve the same purpose for your product
Some classic examples:
- “A newspaper, not a snoozepaper.” – Mail on Sunday
- “The first vacuum cleaner that doesn’t lose suction.” – Dyson
- “Not just nearly clean, but really clean.” – Ariel Ultra
Every product needs a catchy slogan that sticks to the customers’ minds and reminds them consciously and unconsciously of the product again and again. However, creating this catchy slogan is not something as straightforward as you think.
You must create a slogan that represents your product, motivate the customers, and keep reminding them that your product is an absolute necessity and they must buy it.