Today we have a guest blogger. Here’s Dr. Leo on how a single slogan helped his business grow for four decades…
I have been a dentist in private practice for over 40 years. I have been a dentist in the military, an Assistant Professor in a world renowned dental school, a visiting lecturer and consultant in dental schools around the world. While I’m proud of all these achievements, what really helped my practice grow wasn’t a sterling background. It was having excellent marketing. Specifically a great dental office slogan.
In today’s high paced, high tech world one has to utilize all the different modalities available to get your word out. That includes catchy slogans and taglines.
Whatever your profession, be it attorney, health care provider, engineer or restaurant owner, nothing is more effective than a great advertising slogan, tagline or catchphrase. The problem is finding a slogan maker.
I remember in my early years, I had a wonderful patient that just made my day every time she came in for an appointment. She was fun, appreciative, paid her bill that day, and referred many patients to my office. She was the perfect patient. I asked her to be my official slogan maker. I reasoned that if she could be the patient from heaven than she could be my slogan generator.
If she provided one slogan or a bunch of slogans then that would attract people like her. She thought for a few minutes and then said….”Everyone’s dream – A beautiful smile”. My sloganizer hit the jackpot. I printed her tag line on all my brochures and business cards. It’s been almost 40 years now and as a successful Cosmetic Dentist she gets my vote as a slogan generator par excellance.
I got lucky.
My colleagues who tried similar approaches ended up with lines that might have done more harm than good. Most of the marketing taglines they ended up with were quickly abandoned. Some tried expensive ad agencies or freelance writers after that without success.
That was the 20th century way of finding a slogan maker. Things are a little different now. You have options, like getting catchy slogans through Slogan Slingers. People are totally bombarded with marketing messages so having a marketing catchphrase that stands out is more important than ever.
The process of using Slogan Slingers is really easy. No wonder they call it the ultimate slogan generator. Instead of relying on one person, this web-based approach uses hundreds of sloganizer writers. You just give the details about your business, determine a prize amount you want to award the winning writers and catchy slogans and marketing taglines come in almost instantly from writers registered with the site who are competing for your cash prize. The cost is super minimal compared to using an ad agency. Many of the contributors are moonlighting on their off time while their agency is charging big time for the same talent.
It’s all fast, convenient, and so 21st century. There’s no better slogan maker out there to have your ideal slogan come to life at your convenience. Of course, if you are the old fashioned type and have plenty of time or if you like to assemble focus groups of slogan makers then good luck. “And may the tagline be with you.” Hey, I think I’ll just go online and submit that to Sloganslingers. If you need a dental practice slogan or slogans for any other type of business, I suggest you start a contest with Slogan Slingers now.
There are some words that a slogan maker should never use because they might drive potential customers away. Learning to avoid these words and keep them out of taglines makes it much easier to use an advertising slogan generator.
Some of the words you should never use in a tagline are obvious. Examples of such words include racial slurs, profanity and sexually explicit words. Unfortunately there are also many other words that can turn off potential customers that are not so obvious. A successful slogan maker needs to understand what these words are. So does a business that uses an advertising slogan generator because such a program might use one. Here are some categories of words that you should never use.
Even though slang can be entertaining it can also be confusing or downright offensive to some people. A catchy slogan must be easy to understand, unfortunately slang is often confusing to those who are unfamiliar with it. To make matters worse, slang often changes, if you watch a movie from the 1940s you’ll probably hear a few words or expressions you don’t understand even though they were commonly used back then.
There are many words that are used in some places but not others. The Brits regularly use words like Wobbly, Dodgy and Gobsmacked which are completely confusing to Americans. Many Americans regularly use slang that is varying from state to state. For example people in Colorado often refer to Colorado Springs as “the Springs” which can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the state.
Slogan makers should try to avoid slang because it can be confusing and perhaps offensive. Never assume that others are familiar with a term because you are.
Jargon is a specialized language that professionals and people in particular institutions and organizations use. The problem is that people outside the profession or business may have little or no knowledge of this jargon. Non-lawyers are often confused by legal terms and many people have a hard time talking to IT professionals because they don’t understand what they are saying.
Try to keep jargon out of taglines because it can be very confusing. A musician might know what hoofers and whoofers are but the average non-musician might not.
Many people tend to forget that not everybody is familiar with what common acronyms mean. Most people know what FBI stands for but they will be confused by ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). The slogan “Lowest ARM rates guaranteed” may confuse persons unfamiliar with the mortgage business. Many people may not realize that OS stands for operating system.
For people that don’t know what they mean, taglines filled with acronyms can sound very silly. Instead of being clever a slogan maker will make a business look bad by using too acronyms.
A Good Rule of Thumb
A good rule of thumb is to never use any word or phrase in a slogan that could be confusing. To be effective, a tagline has to be easy to understand, putting anything that will confuse the reader makes it ineffective. Keeping taglines simple is the best way to make them easy to read, easy to understand and easy to remember.
Writing or evaluating catchy slogans is impossible without a point of reference to begin with. The only way to know what a really good slogan looks like is to take a look at somebody else’s successful slogan.
Creating a tagline for a restaurant can be tricky because there are thousands of restaurant taglines out there. Fortunately it is really easy to go online and take a look at some of the best. Here is a list of some interesting restaurant taglines for your consideration:
- “Good friends. Great food. Great beer.” This tagline for the Rock Bottom Brewery chain works because it is simple to the point and it captures the essence of the business.
- “Great Seafood. Not a lot of clams.” The slogan maker for the Rockfish Seafood Grill restaurant failed here. This phrase is confusing and it could drive some customers away. After all a lot of people like clams. This looks like an attempt at humor that fell flat on its face.
- “The people pleasing place.” This tagline for Penguin Point, a chain of family restaurants in Indiana works. It emphasizes the chain’s customer service and its emphasis on comfort food.
- “Big city variety, small town price.” The slogan generator for the Taiwan Chinese Restaurant succeeded with this one. Taiwan specializes in buffet which offers a lot of food at a low price. The slogan succeeds in conveying the business and its benefits to the customer.
- “Smell that smoke.” Another attempt at humor that falls flat on its face. This effort from the Bandana’s Bar-B-Q in Missouri fails because it doesn’t give a person a reason to eat at the restaurant. The restaurant sells barbecue not smoke.
- “Fall in love with pizza again!” The slogan maker for Pier 49, a chain of pizzerias succeeded here. The catchphrase distinguishes the chain from its competition and succeeds in poking fun at its competition. The phrase tells customers that the chain’s product is better than its competition.
- “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.” This slogan for Hooters a chain of sports bars fails miserably because it is meaningless. It doesn’t give the diner any reason to go to Hooters. A slogan must convey a benefit, a restaurant slogan give a person a reason to eat at that particular establishment.
- “Life is too short for average food!” This catchy slogan for the Loop Pizza Grill works because it tells the customer that the Loop has really good food. It also distinguishes it from the competition.
The Basics of Restaurant Slogans
The purpose of a restaurant slogan is to set an eating establishment apart from the crowd. There are hundreds perhaps thousands of restaurants in the average city ranging from fast food joints to fine dining. On some level every eating place in town is competing against all of them.
A catchphrase for a restaurant must set that establishment apart by offering the diner something that no other eating place does. A buffet might emphasize value for the dollar while a sit down restaurant might emphasize service.
A diner that’s open after midnight might point out in its slogan. Its slogan might be: “Your hunger never sleeps, neither do we.”
A restaurant slogan must be simple and it must be catchy but it has to convey what the benefits of that place are. Meaningless or vague phrases such as “original food” or “home cooking” will not accomplish that purpose.
Conveying a benefit is one of the most important goals of slogan making. If you cannot convey what the benefit of your restaurant is even a catchy slogan will do you little good.
The Democratic National Committee is looking for some new catchy slogans and is asking for your help. The party has asked the average Democrat to turn into a slogan maker and participate in what it calls the Address America road tour. The tour will travel through the United States seeking new taglines for the world’s oldest political party.
The tour has already picked up some interesting slogans for its Six-Word Stump Speech contest. The potential taglines include some good ones and some bad ones.
One of the taglines unveiled so far is:
“Progress, Choice, Environment, Equality, Education, Compassion.”
This might sound good to a party hack but it does not work because it is a series of meaningless words. It doesn’t tell the potential voter anything about what the Democrats might do for him or why she should vote Democrat, after all, everybody believes in those concepts or at least claims to. A tagline that outlined how the Democrats intend to protect or expand those qualities would have been far more effective.
A far better tagline that might backfire is this one:
“It’s all about the Supreme Court.”
Yes this catchy slogan reminds Democrats that the President appoints members of the Court. Unfortunately, it reminds Republicans the same thing. It gives both parties’ members a reason to vote.
My favorite slogan is one that doesn’t have any overt political meaning but is highly memorable. The slogan maker obviously came up with something quite brilliant here even if it is not that original. Here it is:
“Believing isn’t the problem. Take action.”
This works because it offends nobody but reminds voters that the future is in their hands. It also gives everybody that uses an advertising slogan generator an important lesson: an effective slogan does not have to be right on mark. It can deliver an important message that has nothing to do with your goal.
So far the Six Word Stump Speech competition has come up with at least three more catchy slogans that could be highly effective. They include:
“To secure the benefits of liberty.”
This is highly effective even if it is poor grammar because it associates the Democrats with a highly patriotic concept that all Americans love namely: liberty. More importantly, it asserts the party’s basic values without making any promises or offending anybody. Another benefit to this tagline is that it indicates that the Democrats support a strong defense. Something they have a hard time convincing voters of.
Another catchy slogan that is also highly effective is this one:
“Preserve benefits for our wounded warriors.”
This tells the voter that the Democrats care about veterans and want to help them. It also makes the party seem patriotic without seeming hawkish.
These slogans sound more effective than some of those that the party’s own speech writers have come up with. Business owners should take a page out of the Democrats’ playbook and use a slogan writing contest rather than an advertising slogan generator or a sloganizer. Such a contest gives you a far greater number of slogans for a much lower price.
Controversy as many slogan makers have discovered can be a double-edged sword. Controversial taglines can attract attention and generate publicity, so in a way, they serve as free advertising. Unfortunately controversial catchphrases can offend and even drive away potential customers.
The most important thing to keep in mind when using a controversial tagline is the context in which it is going to be used. A slogan maker should ask how the phrase is going to be used and what is supposed to be achieved with it. If all somebody wants to do is to attract attention then a controversial tagline can achieve that goal.
Politicians often use or publicize controversial or inflammatory taglines simply because they want to attract attention. Remember George W. Bush’s “if you’re not with us you’re against us.” It is unclear if the former president actually meant that or not but it certainly stirred up debate and brought attention to Mr. Bush.
Controversial taglines can also be very effective if a slogan maker is attempting to appeal to emotion or sentiment as politicians often do. They can sometimes work for a business as Wendy’s legendary “Where’s the Beef?” campaign demonstrated. The emotion the hamburger franchise was trying to appeal to in that case was humor……but it worked. The humor distracted observers from the controversial allegation that Wendy’s competitors were not using real beef in their burgers.
When Controversy Works and When it Does Not
“Where’s the Beef” was an effective slogan because it appealed to humor. Humor is a positive emotion and brings ‘feel good’ emotions from the audience.
Controversy that stirs up negative emotions can achieve the completely opposite result. It can turn people off and drive them away. An example of this is a slogan for the Triumph TR 7 sports car: “It doesn’t look like you can afford it.” The problem with this wording is that it tells potential customers you cannot afford this car. Even worse, it reminds them how poor or unsuccessful they are. A sports car ad is supposed to evoke pleasure not remind a person what they can’t have.
Many attempts to use controversy to generate humor end up creating negativity instead. Instead of creating catchy slogans, businesses get phrases designed to drive customer away. Take this ad for Lea & Perrins steak sauce: “A steak sauce that only a cow could hate.” The problem with this is that it raises the philosophical and political arguments over eating meat. It also reminds diners that they are eating meat that came from a living animal namely a cow. Instead of humor the words create controversy that may turn off people that see them.
Part of the problem with the Lea & Perrins tagline is that it raises issues that distract people from the product namely steak sauce. It brings up a philosophical argument that has absolutely no place in an advertisement for a simple condiment.
Controversy is something that you should be real careful with when you use an advertising slogan generator. Yes it can generate a lot of free publicity but it can also drive customers away or confuse them.