Great slogans inspire lots of emotional connection, but getting one is no mean feat. Companies struggle and often change slogans that don’t connect with their target market. Some great slogans too can lose their oomph after some time or with a change of tastes.
Safaricom recently changed its slogan from The Better Option to Twaweza, in the spirit of moving the brand to a more emotional level. Orange Telkom too changed its slogan with a rebrand to a move youthful, ‘Moving with you’. In media, Standard newspaper is good at changing slogan while Nation newspapers has retained its The Truth slogan for years.
A slogan makes a brand more recognizable and memorable. Some of the most successful slogans internationally include: “A diamond is forever.” “Snap, Crackle, Pop.” “Finger lickin’ good.” “It’s everywhere you want to be.”
With a good slogan you might instantly visualize the product just by hearing the slogan and thinking of the company. That’s exactly what the marketing team working for DeBeers, Rice Krispies, Kentucky Fried Chicken (Now, KFC) and Visa were hoping would happen, respectively, in the slogans above.
“Companies pay their marketing teams handsomely to come up with the perfect slogan that will make people remember their brand,” says Tim Parker of Attard Communications. “In marketing, it’s called brand awareness or recognition and it’s one of the most important metrics marketers and customers watch.”
It’s no easy task to write a good slogan and if you don’t have the money to hire a premium-priced marketing firm, it’s that much more difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your local business memorable with a good slogan. You don’t have to make it onto the best slogans of all-time list. You just want to add a bit of brand awareness to your local business.
Tim Parker, who contributes for businessknowhow.com, shares the following tips on slogan-making:
1. Start with your Logo: A good slogan is born from a good logo. The slogan and the logo are like peanut butter and jelly. Unless all your advertising happens on the radio, you need a top-notch logo before the slogan. Take Walmart, for example. The company uses its logo with and without it’s slogan, “Save money. Live Better” but looking at the two together shows a lot of intentionality. They were obviously designed together.
2. Keep it Simple: Anybody who does creative professionally lives by one overarching rule — keep it simple. Have you heard the phrase, “less is more?” No, it’s not some famous company’s slogan. It’s the first rule of design. Clutter causes confusion. Many of the best slogans have few words. Most of our most famous examples above have between 4 and 6 words. Nakumatt’s ‘You need it, We got it’” or Nation’s The Truth comes to mind.
3. Use Small Words: Famous slogans use much simpler words than that. “It’s everywhere you want to be” uses words that even a primary school leaver would know. Same with Nike. “Just Do It” uses words that young children would understand.
4. Make it Roll off the Tongue: If it’s easy to say, it’s probably easy to remember. Gillette’s slogan, “The best a man can get” is easy to say. Same with Disneyland, “The happiest place on earth.” If you can say it easily, you can remember it easily.
5. Use Power Words or Phrases: Power words or phrases invoke emotion. Look through the slogans we’ve already listed. Words like, “happy” or “Do it”, or how about Calvin Klein’s slogan, “Between love and madness lies obsession.”
How to Write a Slogan
First, make a list of words that describe your brand. What does your company do, how is it different than your competitors? List words that would describe your client base, and what are you as the company founder passionate about? Remember to use those power words.
Next, pull up an online thesaurus and find some other words that might work. Remember to keep them simple enough that any grade school student can understand them.
Looking at your word list, which ones seem to jump off the page at you? Those are probably the ones you will end up using.
Finally, start writing. Keep it short and simple. Remember, “Got Milk?” You don’t get much simpler than that so avoid complication.
Test Your Slogans
Once you’re done writing, pick your favourite three and put together an informal poll. Ask your customers, family and friends to pick their favourite of the three. Don’t explain them or provide any other context. Remember that you won’t be there to explain the slogan to every person who reads it so it has to work without you providing any context. You’ll likely have a clear winner once you ask enough people. Find as many as you can. You could use online survey to collect feedback.
It’s going to take a while to find the perfect slogan. Don’t settle for something you kind of like. Find 3 that you love before testing the market.
Use a Slogan Generator
Yes, they have those. Google “slogan generator” and you’ll find plenty to choose from. Of course, the results you get probably won’t be the perfect slogan but it’s a great start sure to get your creative juices flowing.
You don’t NEED a Slogan
Don’t feel like your business has to have a slogan. Some brands and industries don’t see a need and that’s ok. Take fashion for example. What’s Michael Kors’ slogan? How about Chanel or Coach? If you serve a niche market, it may not be necessary, or if you don’t rely heavily on marketing, you can probably get by without one.
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