There are many things that help make your business successful, some are large and some quite small, but one of the most overlooked aspects of a successful business is having the right slogan. This seemingly small thing can actually be quite significant in fueling the success of your business efforts. Business slogans have been used for many decades to help convey what a particular business can do for their customers.
Successful business slogans are often quite simple and easy to remember as well. For example, “You’re in good hands with…” most people would know which company name is at the end of that slogan. The power of a business slogan certainly cannot be underestimated. However, creating a memorable business slogan may seem harder than it really is.
What is a Slogan?
The actual word “slogan” comes from Scotland and means “battle cry”, something that soldiers did before entering a conflict. Today, a slogan is basically a recognizable statement that customers can identify with businesses.
Below is a list of the ten greatest slogans in the history of advertising.
These are examples of slogans that have remained in the public consciousness over the years, resulting in countless advertising and marketing campaigns all on their own. Some companies have more than one slogan, such as American Express, and they can even be used in the same advertisement. For many companies, a slogan is as much a part of their business as their name.
The advantages to having an effective slogan are many, starting with the great tag line that can be used in any form of advertisement. By having a slogan, companies can effectively bookend their advertising efforts, which can increase their effectiveness. Plus, slogans can often be used alone or simply with a business logo as their own form of advertisement. In essence, it is creating a less expensive, but highly powerful way of reaching customers.
Where to Start when Creating an Effective Business Slogan
It helps to know just where to begin when creating an effective slogan for your business. As with your business logo, a slogan should be something that is eye-catching and helps place your business apart from the rest. All too often, business slogans merely act as a rather forgettable support sentence to a business logo rather than something that stands all on its own.
For example, slogans such as “Serving you since 1992” are exactly the type of canned, forgettable slogan that actually reduces the effectiveness of the logo or other promotional efforts. While serving customers for a long time is nice, it does not convey any real sense of the business itself, who they are trying to reach or just why customers should choose them.
Slogans do not necessarily have to be bold, but they do need to be creative, catchy and offer a rhythm whether read or spoken in order to remain memorable. Why are so many phone numbers of businesses sung in ads and commercials? It is because it’s easier for our minds to remember the tune of the song first, then the words. For slogans, that same type of rhythm needs to be present in order for our minds to associate those particular words with a business.
Below are some examples of slogans used in the most successful ad campaigns of all-time.
Now that you know what you need, the next step is getting started. Remember that the more people who are focused on creating a slogan, the more quickly one can be created. Some businesses actually offer contests for slogan suggestions, allowing employees to participate and providing a nice reward if their selection is chosen. One of the most memorable slogans ever, “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best” was created by Bert Sugar, an advertising man who went on to become one of the most famous boxing writers in history.
Be aware that great slogans can come from unlikely sources. Getting people involved in creating your slogan puts more minds to the task, which means that your great slogan is one step closer in becoming a reality.
Tips on Writing a Powerful, Creative Slogan
There are a number of different tips to creating the perfect slogan. If there is any secret involved, it’s that enough time needs to be taken in order to create the right slogan for a particular business. Whether it comes quickly or takes a while, it can be controlled to a certain extent by following some simple guidelines that have been used to create great slogans for many businesses over the years.
What Separates Your Business from the Competition?
The core purpose of a slogan is to highlight your business and separate it from your competition. This means taking your brand or particular product and highlighting it effectively. Think about the advantages your company has, particularly those above and beyond your competition.
Do you get your products out more quickly?
Are your products of generally higher quality than your competition?
Is there something that makes your products or services unique compared the competition?
Does your company mean something different or unique to your customers compared to everyone else?
Sometimes, this takes isolating a particular area of your business that helps promote the best in what you offer. If you sell food products that are low in calories, then that is an area you can emphasize. Whatever it is, focusing and highlighting this particular aspect of your business can create a powerful slogan that can be used for a very long time.
Service to the Customers
If you cannot think of anything that separates your company from the rest, then focus on how you serve your customers. Many slogans incorporate a business’s dedication to their customers, especially in terms of quality of service. Emphasizing how you put the customers first can really help your business create a slogan that is memorable and respected. Slogans that work on the public trust or emphasizing customer service do quite well. If you cannot find something in what you sell, then look towards how you provide customers with the best service in your slogan.
The Shorter, the Better
Basically, this means that you need to keep your slogan simple and direct, while using as few words as possible. Most advertising companies will say that slogans should be around six, seven or eight words. Anything longer and your slogan becomes a sentence that can become jumbled and ultimately forgettable. Brevity is not only the soul of wit as it is also the path towards creating a memorable phrase. Plus, the shorter your slogan is, the easier it will be to fit into your marketing campaigns.
Stay Within Yourself
Basically, this means that your slogan should be true today, tomorrow and well into the future. Saying that your business is, “Number One in Sales” for example simple will not be true all of the time. In addition, many customers find that kind of boasting a big turn-off anyway. Most customers are not impressed by where a company is, but in how it treats them. In addition, saying that you are the “Best in the Business” is rather generic and does not connect with customers as well. This means that you need to stay within your business model and focus on something a little more specific, realistic, personal and clever. A slogan should relate to the individual customer in a way that is more direct. That is the type of slogan that will last no matter your specific position in sales or the like.
Keep it Timeless
You’ll want to avoid using industry jargon, overtly fancy language or trendy terms. Basically, all effective slogans use simple, straightforward language that everyone can relate to. By avoiding trendy words you can keep the slogan timeless and relates to all generations. For example, the term “groovy” was certainly a hip, popular phrase in the late 1960s. Today, it is not only outdated, but many in the younger generation may not fully understand what that term even means. Do not let your slogan get caught in the same trap.
One of the best examples of a timeless slogan is the one used by State Farm. In 1971, a young aspiring singer named Barry Manilow was paid $500 by State Farm to come up with a slogan and a jingle. Mister Copacabana delivered the jingle with the slogan, “Like a Good Neighbor.” Over forty years later, it is still State Farm’s primary slogan.
While you should not copy slogans from other businesses, you can use them as inspiration to draw from. A simple slogan such as “Common Sense, Uncommon Results” from David Ingram and Associates is simply brilliant, which contains two separate themes in just four words. Here, they are telling you that they offer years of service that can be relied upon to get results that others have not achieved. This is the essence of a good slogan.
Rhyme, Rhythm & Ring
Slogans are generally longer than a single word, with most being a short phrase. In order for that phrase to become memorable, it needs to have at least two of these three elements; rhyme, rhythm or ring. This should be true whether the slogan is read or spoken. Essentially, this means that the slogan itself needs to have some type of musical quality about it, such as the aforementioned, “N-E-S-T-L-E-S….” The slogan needs to be relatively simple and flowing in order to posses this quality as well.
Of course, if the slogan can be transformed into a jingle, then that’s all the better. Many slogans are also jingles, which can be effectively incorporated into a song. It must be noted that it is not necessary for a slogan to be a jingle in order to be effective, but it does help in getting people to remember your slogan.
The infographic below shows how professional admen come up with a slogan.
Check for Trademarks
It is certainly possible to come up with a really great slogan for your business, only to find out that someone else came up with the idea first. The final step is to see if your slogan is trademarked through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If it has already been trademarked, then you may only need to make a minor modification or have to start all over again. If your slogan passes the search, then you might want to consider having it trademarked for protection.
The image below will take you directly to the page that allows you to perform a search.
How Should Your Slogan Function?
Remember that in all your work to create an effective slogan, it is not a stand-alone product. Your slogan must work well in both spoken and visual terms, especially with your logo. How your slogan fits into your marketing campaign will help determine the success of your advertising efforts. A clean, simple slogan that is easily remembered will help make your marketing efforts easier. A slogan that is clunky or off-putting will only put your company in a more difficult position.
Four Areas to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Slogan
Take Your Time
While it is easy to say that you should go with your gut feeling about which slogan feels right for your company, do not get into a rush about it. While it is important to set a deadline, you should still provide enough time to get the job done right.
Humor is Always Good
A humorous slogan that really works is one of the rarest, yet effective slogans around. The reason is that humor is more attuned to the individual. This generally means what is funny to one person may simply fall flat with someone else. A humorous slogan that works is generally clean, acceptable to all members of the family, and is timeless in appeal.