A slogan or tagline is a short, catchy phrase that represents a business’s mission or the appeal of its products and/or services. Doesn’t sound familiar? How about “Just do it” or “Finger Lickin’ Good“?
Do they ring a bell? Of course they do. When you read those two phrases, you immediately think of Nike and KFC.
That’s the kind of impact a good slogan can have on your business, and when used over a long period of time, becomes an integral part of your branding. Therefore, going forward, you may need to include it in all your ad campaigns to make the branding consistent.
Coming up with a catchy, memorable slogan that represents what your business stands for, its culture and core values will surely be a time-consuming process, especially if you in this alone.
If your tagline sucks it will only become a burden to your business instead of an asset.
Here are some of the most popular slogans out there;
These taglines accurately reflect their company’s culture and core values using nothing but just a few words. Take Nike for example. Their tagline motivates existing and potential customers to take action.
The above mentioned companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their marketing campaigns so it’s no wonder why almost everyone in the world seen or heard their taglines at some point in time.
So it’s not easy to get your tagline out there, especially if you are a small business.
There are two types of slogans; business and advertising. All the popular slogans listed above are business slogans, since they emphasize what sets your business apart from your competition, and therefore, are of an informational nature.
They reflect the unique value proposition of your business, so that people can know what you stand for, such as trust, innovation, empowerment and etc.
Advertising slogans, however, focus more on a particular product or service that’s emphasized in the ad campaign, rather than the overall business.
It links the product’s usage with the experiences and results the customer can expect after purchasing it.
For example, Maxwell House coffee’s slogan “Good to the last drop” emphasizes how their product will affect their customers’ life, and how it uplifts or transforms them. Their slogan gives customers a promise of satisfaction, and assure them that the coffee will be of great quality and taste.
Putting it all together, a business slogan emphasizes the unique selling proposition or the core value your business upholds the most, making you different from the rest of your competitors, while an advertising slogan communicates how the product or service exhibited in the ad campaign can change or transform customers’ life.
A good slogan contains the promise your business or product/service is striving to make in a short, catchy phrase. It should build up a positive image about your brand to make potential customers more comfortable with purchasing from you.
A good slogan must be able to harbor a feeling of immediacy in your customers. Here, I’m not talking about how soon customers will flock to your store to purchase your product after being exposed to your tagline.
I’m talking about how your slogan must have an immediate cognitive impact on your customers to help them memorize it.
Last but not least, a good slogan must be durable. It should emphasize your business’s mission and the value of your products and/or services.
Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to check whether your slogan would still be as relevant and effective as it is now, 10 years from now.
Using one tagline over a long period of time makes your brand feel established and trustworthy. And potential customers are more likely to do business with you since they may have been exposed to your tagline countless times via countless ad campaigns.
Is a slogan necessary for your business? That depends. If you are large corporation or a business that runs nationwide ad campaigns, then yes, a slogan is necessary.
But if you are a startup or small business that engages only in digital or online marketing, then worrying about a slogan is a complete waste of your precious time.
You are better off spending that time and money on social media ads, your site’s SEO, and creating informative content.
1. Form a team
You won’t be able to come up with a good slogan by yourself, at least not anytime soon. So why not call in the executive staff of your business to help brainstorm the perfect slogan? Just think about it, who knows your business’s culture more than them?
But don’t try to call in your entire staff, because too many cooks can really spoil the broth. Involvement of too many people will result in a slogan that’s twisted to meet the opinions and expectations of everyone, rather than focusing on the promise your business is giving and what it stands for.
Your team should ideally include a few senior staff members who are familiar with your business culture, some C-Suite level members who are familiar with the future goals of the business and a few members of the marketing and creatives team.
Send an email to all the staff members you want to involve in the slogan creation process, and ask them whether they would like to be involved.
Then create a list of the employees who accepted the invitation, and send them a second email with the date, time, duration and place of the meeting.
Be sure to hold the meeting before noon to make full use of the morning brainpower.
2. Collect pre-existing ideas
Do I need to say KFC when I say “Finger Lickin’ Good“?
The tagline is so popular that you are able to memorize the brand and what they sell, just from the tagline. You probably even remember the entire menu if you are a regular customer. All this, wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for their massive ad campaigns.
But can you afford that? Chances are, no. You are probably running a startup or small business, in which case you must avoid slogans that are too vague.
Your potential customers don’t know your brand enough to automatically guess what you do by just hearing or reading your slogan. Therefore, be sure to make the slogan as descriptive as you can.
In this step, you and your team should focus on answering the question, “What makes us different from the rest?”. Make your slogan long enough to be able to tell your audience what your business stands for, rather than giving a puzzle that no one cares to solve.
Get a whiteboard and some markers, and call in your slogan squad. Give each participant a marker and 10-12 minutes to write what they think is unique and compelling about your business.
The point of this activity is to get all pre-existing ideas out there so that you can start with a focused and clear mind.
Your participants are free to write down core values, names of products/services, words related to the business culture, or even mottos that your employees adhere to.
Don’t make the mistake of stopping the clock early just because ideas seem to have died down. Some of the best ideas are spawned during that awkward silence, so don’t give up your hunt too quickly.
After the time is up, place the whiteboard somewhere the entire team can see, and ask each participant to place a “tick” on one of the words/phrases that they think best represents your business. Don’t allow them to place the tick on one of their own ideas.
Then leave the three ideas with the highest votes and erase everything else from the whiteboard. Those three ideas are what you start the next step with.
3. Determine what feeling you wish to associate with your slogan
You should then figure out what feeling you would like your slogan to depict. You may have heard the saying “In marketing, emotions sell more than logic”. That applies hear as well.
Slogans that evoke an emotion are more powerful than the ones that don’t. Do you want your audience to be excited when they hear or read your slogan? or evoke satisfaction?
Whatever emotion you showcase, make sure you choose it after careful consideration. Don’t rush it since you will be associating the emotion directly with your brand over a long period of time.
Think whether or not you are okay with using the same emotion five or ten years from now. Setting an emotional tone in your slogan will help build a more personal connection with your audience.
Now take the three ideas from step 2 and tell the participants to repeat the voting process. This time let them think about the feeling each idea evokes and how close it is to the feeling that you want your audience to experience.
Pick the idea with the highest votes. If two ideas are tied, do a tie-breaker.
Some of the most common emotions used in slogans are happiness, satisfaction, reassurance, excitement, love, beauty, sex and etc.
Disney Park’s slogan, “The happiest place on earth“, evokes excitement inside whoever reads it, whereas McDonald’s “I’m lovin it” evokes a sort of satisfaction from their food.
Whatever the feeling or emotion you use, make sure it represents what your business stands for.
4. Create a catchy phrase
Now that you are down to a single slogan idea, it’s time to combine it with the emotion you want to deliver, and create a phrase around it. Set aside 30 minutes or so, because this is the hardest step in the process.
Don’t let the participants come up with phrases on their own. Instead, break them up into 3 groups and tell each group to come up with a good catchy slogan that not only exhibits what the company stands for but also represents an emotion that closely fits your brand’s mission.
Gather all three slogans and write them on the whiteboard. Have each participant vote on one of the suggestions. Pick the one with the highest vote, disband the slogan team, and let the marketing team move forward.
5. Tweak the slogan until you’re satisfied
Create 5 variations of the final slogan and get your entire staff involved in the voting process. You could even reach out to external parties such as clients and email subscribers for unbiased votes.
The next part is quite obvious. The slogan with the highest votes wins and it will be used on all your marketing and ad campaigns from there on out. When done right, it will become an integral part of your company’s culture.
You can easily decide whether or not your slogan is a good fit by answering the questions below.
If you can answer “yes” to 4 or more of the above questions, that means your slogan is good, otherwise, you may need to consider using another.
If your slogan is too long or contains words in other languages, your audience will have a hard time sticking it in their mind.
Nike is a massive brand but there are only three words in their slogan, “Just do it“. Plus, they are using a common English phrase to emphasize their business’s culture and core values.
Choose a commonly used English phrase and tweak it until it represents the mission and future goals of your business so that people can memorize it easily.
Be sure to include a key benefit of your product/service so that people know exactly what the slogan is trying to say. Don’t just use a commonly used English phrase like Nike.
Their slogan went viral because of their insane marketing campaigns, and chances are, you don’t have that kind of budget. So be sure to tweak the phrase to include a benefit your audience will receive from the product/service.
Are you planning to pivot the business’s mission in the future? If so, will the existing tagline reflect the future changes as well?
A good tagline should be sustainable over the lifespan of a business, may it be for another five years or fifty years from now.
Don’t make the mistake of using multiple slogans and cycling their use over a short period of time. I don’t recommend it even if you are planning to change it yearly or bi-yearly.
The whole purpose of using a slogan is to familiarize your audience with your brand with a single phrase that you use over and over again, in all your marketing and networking campaigns.
Using multiple slogans will not only dilute the message you are trying to deliver, but will also confuse them as to what your business really stands for.
Don’t even try to add extra words to your existing slogan along the way unless you really have to, and make sure you stick with it for at least three years before you decide to change it again.
Choose a phrase that has a ring to it when heard or read. Don’t pick something that sounds completely flat.
And be sure to pronounce the slogan with a certain rhythm in video ads, so that your slogan will get stuck in the mind of your audience more.
The steps mentioned above are good if you already have a business with a few employees. But if you don’t have any staff or client-base whatsoever, you have two options; to brainstorm for a slogan on your own, or to use an online slogan generator.
Using an online slogan generator is better than brainstorming for a slogan on your own. Most generators just require you to type in one or two words, and will instantly get you hundreds of slogan ideas that you can se.
Since anyone has access to these “free” taglines, it’s best to tweak the slogan a little after choosing the one that catches your eye. Some of the best online slogan generators are; Shopify, SloganGenerator.co, GetSocio, and SloganGenerator.org.
Even though slogans are short compelling phrases, it takes up a lot of time and effort to come up with an idea that reflects what your business stands for and gives the kind of emotional response you would like the audience to feel.
It’s not uncommon to see businesses pivot their goals and mission as time moves on, in which case you may need a new slogan.
Just make sure this change doesn’t happen frequently as it will confuse your audience and dilute the reputation of the brand. A slogan must be used for at least 3 years or more.
Creating a good slogan is now easier and quicker than ever due to all the online slogan generators out there. You just have to type in a word associated with your brand’s culture and the website/app will generate hundreds of good slogan ideas for you.
The only drawback is that the majority of the suggestions may have been already trademarked by someone else. So you better check for any legal restrictions before using it in your business.
In my opinion, online slogan generators give you the opportunity to spend more of your time and money on more important things such as securing funding, setting up ad campaigns, improving your business model and etc, than on futile attempts in trying to figure out a good slogan on your own.
If you have a team, however, I don’t recommend using a generator. But no matter which method you use to come up with slogan ideas, don’t think it will be easy to come up with a slogan that’s not already trademarked.
Do you have any other questions regarding slogans? If so, let me know in the comments section below.