Creating a Successful Slogan


Share on LinkedIn

Slogans abound.

Large companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to create slogans and impress them on the public consciousness: “I’m lovin’ it.” “It’s the real thing.” “We try harder.”

Unfortunately, most companies don’t have that kind of money to invest. So what’s a small- or medium-sized company to do?

Actually, there are only a few simple, key principles to creating a successful slogan – one that is both meaningful and memorable for your audience.

– A successful slogan encapsulates your key value proposition, what you bring to the party, if you will, and why your marketplace should buy from you. The slogan leaves an impression of your value.

Note the words “encapsulates” and “impression.” This is not the place for a description of features and benefits. It is not a discussion of your value. Leave that for your Web site. Coke’s “It’s the real thing,” for example, was developed to counter Pepsi’s marketplace challenge. The slogan implies that buying anything other than Coke is buying a derivative product, a “me too” marketplace offering.

– A successful slogan differentiates you from all the other offerings clamoring for your audience’s attention.

Avis’s venerable “We try harder” campaign, for example, effectively eliminated Hertz’s sales advantage of being the market leader in the rental car space. It positioned Avis as being more customer-oriented, more willing to please – because it wasn’t the dominant player. This slogan personalized the company and implied the customer benefits of choosing the underdog.

– A successful slogan provides a positive emotional value.

McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” campaigns suggest that its products are much more than simply a way to fill your stomach; they are fun. Or, in the dry as dust world of accounting, BDO’s slogan, “Those who know, know BDO,” offers its audience the satisfaction of feeling that they are among the select group “in the know.”

And, having mastered these principles, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on an advertising campaign to publicize it. (It would be nice. But it’s not necessary.)

Too many good, potentially effective, slogans fail because they are simply not used. Too often, the slogan is left in splendid isolation, separate and apart from the company’s literature, Web site, social media profiles, sales materials, and on and on.

(Even the large companies are often guilty of this: Coke’s slogan, for instance, is nowhere to be found on the company’s Web site. BDO relegates its slogan to small type, buried at the end of a paragraph at the bottom of its home page.)

It seems obvious, but apparently it must be said:

– If you want a slogan to be successful, you have to use it. Put in on your letterhead and your business cards, etc.

– If you’ve developed a slogan that encapsulates your value proposition, build your sales and marketing materials around it – or, at the very least, employing it.

– If your slogan is a short, pithy way of differentiating you, press this prospective advantage by making it prominent on your Web site and on your social media profiles.

– If your slogan has created an emotional connection with your prospects, follow through. Use your content to bring examples of how that connection works for your customers.

Most companies don’t have millions to spend hammering home their slogans. But used – and used correctly – your slogan can be worth its weight in gold in connecting with your customers and prospects.

It’s simple, really. If they remember your slogan, they remember you.

Emily R. Coleman
Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc., a firm that specializes in helping companies expand their reach and revenues through strategy and implementation. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 500 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman's expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing operations and communications to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here