Slogans are hard to create. Spending hours staring at a blinking cursor before coming up with an “about us” page and mission statement was hard enough, and now you have to come up with a slogan that distills all of that info into only a few words. Daunting is an understatement. Thankfully, there are some concrete tips you can follow to create a slogan that will wow your potential customers. If you keep these tips in mind, whether they see it printed on a promotional item, or beneath your logo on your website, your customers will walk away thinking positively about your company.
Keep it Simple
Walt Whitman said that simplicity is the glory of expression, and who am I to disagree with a literary great like Walt. It takes someone with some serious creativity and writing chops to pack a punch in just a few words. Unfortunately, not many people have Walt Whitman’s talent, and yet honing this skill is more important than ever. According to a study done by Microsoft, the human attention span (which has decreased thanks to the smartphone) is now just 8 seconds long, about the same as a goldfish. This is both pitiful (A goldfish, really?) and a problem for marketers. This means that they have eight seconds to get consumers’ attention and convince them to give their brand a shot. Talk about a tall order.
Besides the fact that short, simple slogans are vital in order to grab consumer attention, they also need to be short for practical purposes. Slogans go on a lot of marketing materials, such as packaging, logos, branded promotional products, and advertisements like commercials and print ads. In all of these instances, space is a factor. The shorter the slogan, the more room there will be for graphics, the company name, and other necessary text. No one will look twice at a branded USB that has a slogan covering the entire product. Smooshed tiny text is not a good look and if you give your graphic designer a 20-word slogan, they may have an existential crisis.
So, a simple, clear slogan will always win the day. It will be better for your ROI, and it will be much easier on the eyes. Check out some of these stellar short slogans.
• McDonald’s – I’m lovin’ it.
• Volkswagen – Think small.
• Apple – Think Different.
• Coke – Open Happiness
• KFC- Finger Lickin’ Good
• California Milk Processor Board – Got Milk?
• Nike – Just do it.
Be True to Your Brand
The job of a slogan is to give consumers an idea of who you are as a company. Often times it will be potential customers first introduction to your business, which is why it’s important that the slogan be honest, accurate, and convey your brand message.
A slogan is a great opportunity to show off what makes you different and why your brand is a business that cares about more than just money. Below are some examples of companies that nailed this sentiment in their slogans.
• Levi’s- Quality never goes out of style.
• U.S. Marine Corps – The Few. The Proud. The Marines.
• State Farm- Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
• Hallmark – When you care enough to send the very best
All three of these slogans conjure up feelings or images that are positive for the consumer. Quality, bravery, and friendship- these sentiments aren’t inherent to what they’re selling, but they make the consumer view the brand in a more positive light.
There is no doubt that consumers respond well to slogans that warm their heart, but they also respond positively to brands that they perceive as honest and straightforward. Below are some examples of brands who wanted their potential customers to have no doubt about what their brand does.
• US Postal Service – We deliver for you.
• MasterCard – There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s MasterCard.
• Maxwell House – Good to the last drop.
• M&Ms – The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
• Verizon Mobile – Can you hear me now?
Most of these slogans do double duty, telling the customer what they do, and why they do it better than their competition. For USPS, “we deliver” obviously means that not only are they a delivery service, but they deliver on customer service as well. Maxwell House is letting you know they’re a coffee brand, but also telling you that their customers love every last drop of their coffee. Verizon’s slogan lets you know that they are a phone company, and that cell service matters to them. The straightforwardness of these slogans ensures that even if the consumer only looks at their slogan for 8 seconds, after that time they will walk away knowing exactly who the company is, and what they do best.
Pro tip: Avoid slogans that can appear dishonest. For example, don’t say that you are the “Best” anything unless you have the awards to back it up.
Timeless Over Trendy
As marketers, we work hard to capitalize on what’s trending. Usually, it is a great way to grab consumer attention and get your name out there. Yet, when it comes to slogans, this is a bad idea. Slogans are meant to last, and if they’re done well, they will accurately represent the company for many years to come.
Now, if you change your slogan based on what is happening now, instead of being forward-thinking, chances are it won’t last too long. A great example is when the pork industry wanted people to start thinking of pork as healthy (like chicken) versus red meat which is often viewed as less healthy. So, they changed their slogan to, “Pork. The other white meat”. Clearly, they missed the mark with this one. Instead of focusing on the great things about pork, they made their slogan a reaction to what was in the news. Needless to say, this didn’t help their cause, and it’s no longer their slogan.
Here are some slogans that have withstood the test of time. These classic slogans don’t count on trends to catch your eye, instead, they rely on the idea that some things (like food tasting good, and jewelry being high quality will always be important).
• Maxwell House – Good to the last drop. (1915)
• Campbells- M’m! M’m! Good! (1930’s)
• Wheaties- The breakfast of champions (1933)
• De Beers – A diamond is forever (1940s)
• Frosted Flakes- They’re Gr-rrreat (1952)
So, when you make your slogan, avoid the temptation of writing: “We got what you need O’kuurrr” just because Cardi B is all over your twitter. Instead, think about your product, and what about it will never change.
Catchy and Creative
Last but certainly not least, you need to make sure your slogan is memorable. One way to do this is to make to rhyme or have a catchy jingle. While this type of slogan can get annoyingly stuck in our head, you have to admit that you know the brand well, which is their intended goal. To make a catchy memorable slogan, it can rhyme, have alliteration, or onomatopoeia. These literary devices may bring you back to 7th grade English class, but I promise that while they are basic, they have a massive impact. All of these literary devices act as mnemonics (memory devices), and just like you would create rhymes to remember dates for your history exam, so too will rhymes help consumers remember their products. Check out these slogans that use literary devices.
• Bounty- The Quicker Picker Upper
• Maybelline- Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.
• Rice Krispies- Snap, Crackle, Pop
Bounty uses rhyme, Maybelline uses alliteration, and Rice Krispies uses onomatopoeia. So, when you are creating your slogan, consider adding one or more of these devices, especially if it sounds a little boring.
Slogans are not easy to come up with, but when you do eventually land on something that is brand consistent, short, snappy, and timeless- there will be no stopping your advertising campaigns.