A slogan is likely to be someone’s very first impression of your brand. This kind of Key Messaging that defines a brand completely, needs to be catchy, not just in the way it looks, but also in the way it sounds. Crucially, it must also represent your brand in only a few words and be memorable long after its first encountered.
When you hear the word “slogan”, I’m sure a dozen or so have already come to mind – McDonald’s three-word jingle, “I’m Lovin’ It”, or perhaps Rimmel’s “Get the London look”? (which coincidentally just changed to “Live the London look – we’ll get to why this might be a problem later on).
Disney’s “The happiest place on earth” and Nike’s “Just do it” are two of the most recognisable slogans in the world, but if you were to try and compare them, there doesn’t appear to be any meaningful similarities. They differ in length, overall complexity, and meaning. While Disney’s slogan is essentially a description of the theme park, Nike’s is seemingly completely disconnected from what the company does. And yet despite this, they are both immensely popular and well-known.
So, what makes a good slogan? Is there a formula to follow, or is it simply luck? We’re here to help you understand exactly what makes a great slogan work and what can make one flop.
What is a slogan?
First off, let’s figure out exactly what we mean when we say “slogan”. In short, it’s a simple, memorable phrase that entices people to check out a particular brand or product. There are a few different types, including brand and advertising slogans, but in this post, we’ll be focusing on brand slogans.
You may have heard brand slogans being referred to as taglines or straplines, but they all mean the same thing. A brand slogan must capture the essence of your brand, even if it doesn’t necessarily outright state what your brand does. For example, while KFC’s “It’s finger-lickin’ good” invokes images of eating fried chicken almost immediately, Apple’s “Think Different” could mean absolutely anything.
What matters is that when you hear the unique phrase, you associate it with the brand.
Great brand slogan examples
We’ve highlighted a few already, but here are some more great brand slogan examples:
- De Beers – “A Diamond is Forever”
- Subway – “Eat Fresh”
- MasterCard – “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard”
- L’Oreal – “Because You’re Worth It”
- Maybelline – “Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s Maybelline”
These slogans are some of the most well-known around the world but their composition is entirely different. Below, we look at some common building blocks most slogans share.
The key components of an effective slogan
There are no hard and fast rules for making a great slogan. What makes a good slogan may differ from brand to brand, but there are a few similarities that all the best ones share. Most are brief, containing only a few words, and many make use of rhyming and alliteration. Puns are also your friend as they can usually make the slogan that much more memorable.
A simple slogan will be much more catchy and easy to remember than a wordy one, but that doesn’t mean it should be simplistic. Active language and powerful verbs instil a feeling of urgency in the reader, while clear language creates clarity and an easily understood message. Short and sweet is the way forward.
Above all, an effective slogan must represent the brand and offer a clear reason as to why it should be chosen over its competition. It may do this by offering a directive like Subway’s “Eat Fresh”, or by utilising a double meaning that audiences will be able to apply to several different ideas like Nike’s “Just do it”. Use Key Messaging to get an understanding of what your brand represents. It will be an enormous help when it comes to writing your unique slogan.
Of course, some slogans flagrantly fly in the face of these shared components, using long and sometimes even multiple sentences – Mastercard, I’m looking at you. It should be stressed that as long as it’s memorable, any kind of slogan can work perfectly well.
The do’s and don’ts when writing a brand slogan
- Research everything about your brand, including customers and competitors – this will help you create a clear message
- Test your slogan in a focus group – you’ll be able to refine it with some feedback from people of varying demographics
- Nail down exactly what your brand is and what it offers that your competition can’t – this might be a feeling or experience rather than something tangible
- Make it descriptive and emotive, encouraging people to feel something while giving them a clear understanding of what the brand represents
- Consider where your slogan will be seen or heard, whether that be in your website’s footer, on a business card, or over the radio – it must work in every context
- Make your slogan last the test of time so that you won’t have to change it every few years
- Stay away from buzzwords and cliches – people tend to read over them
- With all that we’ve said about short and sweet, don’t let a longer slogan pass you by – rhythm can be easier with a longer sentence
- Ensure you don’t copy a similar brand’s slogan, as it may confuse your audience and unintentionally send them to your competitors
- Don’t use overly complicated language, unless it is in service of a memorable pun or rhyme
How to create a slogan
Creating your own slogan is tricky and you often need a third-party perspective to get it right. That means it can be difficult to do in-house.
Before you go about writing your own, there are a few things you need to do.
Understand your brand
This is arguably the most important step. You must understand your unique selling point before you can write a slogan that entices people to it. You need to be able to explain who you are and what you do.
This is where an outside perspective can come in handy – they’ll be able to identify and highlight parts of your business you might otherwise consider unnoteworthy. A Key Messaging strategy can help you answer these questions and more, with a Brand Story Guide.
Research your competition
This will help you understand which slogans aren’t working at all and which can be improved. It will also help you identify where the market is already oversaturated, allowing you to create a slogan that targets an alternative demographic.
Your brand slogan must stand alone. Any similarities with existing taglines could help your competitors and harm your business.
Keep your audience front of mind
It’s all well and good creating a very corporate-sounding slogan that other businesses will love, but if your ‘clients’ and ‘customers’ are the general public, it’s just going to fall on deaf ears.
This also means that the language you use needs to be easily understood by everyone in your target market. If that market is global, avoid local slang that could be misunderstood (or translated into something unintentional).
Craft your message
Obviously, this step can be a bit more involved than the previous ones. You should begin by identifying what you offer and what makes this unique compared to another company that offers the same. Then, try and distil it down into a single sentence.
Look for ways to introduce a rhyme or a pun, or make it as inspirational as possible, even if it sounds a bit over the top – some of the best slogans in the world are the ones that sound a bit pretentious. A slogan generator can be useful to get some ideas on the table, but you’re unlikely to find anything particularly relevant or unique.
If at this point you’re struggling, don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. Get in touch and we’ll work with you to craft a slogan that truly captures your brand.
A great slogan is a memorable slogan
Perhaps the most important takeaway is that good slogans must be memorable. Exactly what makes a good slogan has remained relatively consistent over the years, so once you find a good one, stick to it. Brands that have used multiple slogans throughout the years are often harder to remember than those that have kept a consistent message.
At Proof Content, we know exactly how to find that one perfect sentence that represents your brand, inside and out. What to know what makes a good slogan? Contact us today, and we’ll create a tagline that makes your brand sing.