A Company Catchphrase: Creating a Motto or
Slogan That Promotes Your Business
by Marcia Yudkin, Head
Stork, Named At Last
"Reach out and touch someone."
"The ultimate driving machine."
"Finger lickin’ good."
Chances are, you not only know immediately that those
slogans come from AT&T, BMW and KFC, in that order. Those
catchphrases may also very well have persuaded someone you
know to place more long-distance calls, purchase a
particular brand of car and decide where to stop for supper.
Such slogans truly influence customers, and that’s why you
want one for your own company.
First, Make Them Up
Begin by brainstorming a lot of words
related to your business – at least 50 of them. Nouns,
verbs, adjectives, phrases – just keep going and going until
you have a long, disorganized list.
Rename Your Product, Company or Brand
Next think in general terms about what you want to say – the
motivating message you want to get across to current and
potential customers. Focus, so that it’s something specific
rather than something any competitor might say. Note that
the BMW slogan works as well as it does because it’s not a
statement Toyota or Ford wants to make. Likewise, a burger
place that caters to parents and children probably wouldn’t
want to use the idea of licking fingers in its motto.
Now combine the words and refine the combinations until they
sing and dance on the page. Don’t stop when you get one
slogan that feels really catchy – keep on going. Play around
with the wording so some are funny, some are serious, some
are weird or edgy and some are homey.
Second, Choose the Best
Look through your catchphrase candidates
and identify up to five that seem most promising. We’ll now
run them through a few crucial tests.
Is the slogan fresh and original? Don’t poach phrases that
have already been used, like American Express’s “Membership
has its privileges” or Nike’s “Just do it.” That diminishes
your business and might even land you in legal trouble.
Does the slogan pass the telephone test? That is, if someone
heard it without seeing it, would they understand what it
means? Will people understand what you mean without a whole
lot of context or a long story? If seen on a truck whizzing
by at 70 miles per hour, would it make sense? Your answer to
all these questions should be yes. If not, cross out that
candidate or tinker to improve it.
Is the tone right? Think about your customer base, and make
sure the personality of the slogan matches what they expect
from your company. A bank that wants to appear solid and
traditional normally wouldn’t use slang or a sing-song
rhythm, while a club for twenty-something singles probably
wants wording that hops and excites rather than cool,
Is the message clear and unambiguous? Test your favorites on
people who haven’t heard them yet, who resemble your
customers and who may not know much about your business. Ask
them what each slogan conveys to them. If they don’t get it,
or if they get a negative message or one you weren’t
intending, that’s a big minus for that slogan.
Sometimes we have to nix options that almost make it but
have something tricky or wrong about them. If one of your
candidates communicates positively and clearly to all your
testers, you have a winner.
Third, Use It!
Now it’s time to use your chosen
catchphrase everywhere. Put it on your web site, on
T-shirts, on pens, in ads, on invoices, on sales material,
on shop windows, even on the walls of your rest rooms. If
you’ve chosen well, your catchphrase sticks in people’s
minds and reminds them over and over again why you’re the
one they want to buy from.
Stuck on thinking up or choosing your new
business name? Get help generating a
winning new business name, product name
or service name.
Copyright 2014 Marcia Yudkin. No
reprinting or republishing without written permission.
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Terrific Tag Lines & Sensational Slogans - Coming soon
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