Last Updated: Aug 16, 2017
A slogan makes your brand more recognizable and memorable, but writing a catchy slogan isn’t easy. Follow these steps to make a slogan for your business.
“A diamond is forever.” “Snap, Crackle, Pop.” “Finger lickin’ good.” “It’s everywhere you want to be.”
You can probably identify at least some of the brands that coined these famous slogans. 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.
Companies pay their marketing teams handsomly to come up with the perfect slogan that will make people remember their brand. In marketing, it’s called brand awareness or recognition and it’s one of the most important metrics marketers and customers watch.
But if you’re thinking that coming up with the next, “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline” is easy, just ask the long list of marketers who wrote a slogan that didn’t stick. 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.
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.
RELATED: Ten Tips for Choosing a Logo
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.
The average American reads at a 7th to 8th grade level but you’ll notice that the most famous slogans use much simpler words than that. “It’s everywhere you want to be” uses words that 4th graders would know. Same with Nike. “Just Do It” uses words that young children would understand.
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.
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.
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.”
Once you’re done writing, pick your favorite three and put together an informal poll. Ask your customers, family and friends to pick their favorite 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 a free service like SurveyMonkey to collect feedback.
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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