We are all familiar with the phrase ‘Sending out an SOS’, its meaningful, catchy and it grabs our attention. Those are qualities that are also important when coming up with a slogan for your business, too. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dry cleaning slogan, realtor tagline or political candidate’s catchphrase. You need to have a line that means something to the intended audience and sticks in their heads.
A slogan is a clever little way of getting your company name into the mind of your customers whether as part of your logo, on business cards or a website, a printed ad or even as a jingle on a local radio. However the SOS doesn’t just share a lot of qualities with a good slogan, it can also help you when deciding upon a slogan for you organization whether you a working with a freelancer or crowdsourcing a slogan as you can do on Slogan Slingers.
Let’s put a little twist on the typical SOS so you can save yourself from boring ineffective slogans and taglines.
SOS: Simple – Original – Straightforward
Even if you start a crowdsource slogan competition on our site, following these keywords will greatly enhance your chances of choosing a successful tagline or slogan. Obviously it is always best to keep your slogan simple, there is no room for baggage when it comes to writing slogans, taglines, catchphrases or straplines as some call them. You need to focus on a simple message and not try and say too much. That’s the #1 problem that most companies make. Good slogans leave no room for clutter. They’re concise. That makes them easy to remember.
Most of the time slogans are used across a wide range of advertising channels. Keeping it simple isn’t just necessary to avoid confusing or boring your audience. There’s often no room to display a long slogan. Just because it is simple though, it doesn’t mean it should be shallow. Think about each word carefully so that it has maximum resonance with your audience.
Next up is the “O” for “Original.” It’s always best if you can be unique. Everyone says they want to be original but most companies end up picking something forgettable because it’s safer. Original doesn’t just mean avoiding plagiarism. It can also mean avoiding keywords and even ideas that are overly familiar from other products or services. A great tagline for example will perfectly capture the emotion of your USP (unique selling proposition) and that also is a big contributor to how easily the line will be remembered. If you’re voting on professionally written slogans don’t try and combine two or more. That will give you a unique line but probably not the uniqueness you desire. That makes for a Frankenstein on a line. If the line feels uncomfortable to some that may be a sign it’s worth thinking about more.
Finally we come to being straightforward. Developing a company tagline or slogan is something you’ll anguish over but that’s because it’s yours! Generally, most people are going to come across your slogan with a million things on their mind and running around like we all do. So be original but not opaque. You can make your audience think about your message but don’t make them have to think to understand it
Keep SOS in mind whenever you organize a slogan writing contest. If a tagline, strapline, slogan or catchphrase doesn’t comply with the rules of SOS it is a failure. Make sure that the writers participating in your contest understand SOS and try to achieve it. Now your crowdsource slogan competition will be a great success and you won’t have to scream SOS ever again.
So you have started a crowdsource slogan competition and the entries have poured in. Better still, there’s one you really like. Now what do you do? The next important step is making sure that you can legally own it. All the writers on Slogan Slingers are supposed to submit only original work and we have no reason to believe this isn’t the case. However, who’s to say that just by coincidence another company using a different slogan writer or ad agency didn’t come up with the same exact line?
The best step is to contact an intellectual property attorney and have them investigate. If the line is unclaimed which it should be, go ahead and select your winner and take the legal steps necessary to protect your slogan, tagline or catchphrase.
Many of the most famous slogans and taglines have been trademarked even if they choose not to show the mark when printing their slogan and tagline or displaying it on screen.
History proves the right slogan can earn a business millions so those words have value. Take that extra step to insure your investment is protected.
How to Create a Slogan you can Trademark
The main thing to keep in mind is not every slogan can be trademarked. If your slogan is not very distinctive and doesn’t particularly distinguish your business, product or services from anybody else’s then it will be hard to get it trademarked.
Generic slogans such as “The best” or “The natural choice” or “America’s #1” are so generic, no-one else can easily claim legal ownership. But you know what? That’s okay because that’s not the kind of slogan you want anyway. The best marketing taglines, be they salon slogans, cafe taglines or bowling alley catchphrases, should convey something unique and special. They should speak to the core of the brand. If you have a slogan that’s too generic to be trademarked, you don’t want it!
That said (and we’re no lawyers so please seek professional guidance), if your tagline doesn’t seem distinctive then there may be another way that it can be trademarked and that is if it has developed a secondary meaning which can cause it to be linked to the product or service which the strapline or tagline is linked too.
Secondary Meanings Matter
What do we mean by secondary meanings or more importantly what does the Federal Trademark Registration Office mean by it? It means that the slogan has a meaning not just of the actual words or phrase but of the product too.
If you have just started with a new slogan and it isn’t easily trademarked then secondary meaning can be used but only after a period of five years since the inception of the slogan or tagline. Even then, it has to be continually used by your business whether online, on business cards or in promotion literature. Alternatively if your slogan has proven to boost your sales then you can use this as a justification that in the minds of consumers, your slogan makes them think of your product or service.
If your slogan is used with an image or logo then even a more generic slogan is likely to be easier to trademark. A strapline that is part of a logo or image should be even easier to copyright.
How Slogan Slingers can help
All of our writers at Slogan Slingers are bursting with imagination and can produce a wide range of imaginative and often unique straplines. These slogans will be easy to copyright and product from trademark infringement.
If you’re thinking of creating a slogan that you can trademark you need to investigate the possibility of holding a Slogan Slingers contest today. Our writers can make it easier to create a slogan you’ll want to hug, kiss, cherish and legally protect!
Every once in a while we like to feature a Slogan Slingers writer to give you a taste of some of the brilliant minds we have competing on our site. Here’s Taheera Barney. Please feel free to contact her directly if you have longer format needs. Take it away Taheera…
My name is Taheerah Barney (AKA – sloganengineer). I’ve been freelancing professionally for over 4 years. I’m annoyingly optimistic, a foodie, a lover of words, a marketing and branding geek and am fluent in sarcasm. I’m currently residing in Ewing, NJ.
Taheera Barney - Slogan & tagline writing wizard
I love writing slogans because you have to condense a company’s core message and concept into a tight, memorable phrase. The finished result has to clearly communicate the company’s main objective to the audience. Creating taglines and slogans definitely gives your brain a workout – and I love every second of it.
Hornitos is my favorite slogan right now. “Purer than your intentions.” It’s clever and really fits with their commercials – their brand is really cohesive.
Some specific slogans you can’t stand and why: All slogans that describe a company in three words, separated by a periods. Example: Honesty. Integrity. Service. These taglines are generic and ineffective.
In addition to taglines, I also write product reviews, blog posts, case studies.
One thing that many people don’t know about me is that I am a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo. Here is a link my writing portfolio:
The whole point of slogans or taglines as they are often now known as, is to connect with customers old, new and prospective. Some of the best slogans are those which sound believable. Promising the world doesn’t always work and people are naturally doubtful about statements that imply their entire life is going to improve just by making a simple purchase.
If your company slogan is something which customers can believe, they won’t just buy into your tagline but they are much more likely to buy from you period. Depending on your industry, it may be worth deciding upon a slogan that is slightly longer than the one or two words which many tech businesses in particular love so much.
Plausibility is the Key to a Successful Slogan
Having a slightly longer slogan allows people to connect with it on an emotional level. If it sounds plausible then they are likely to believe it.
Most people will have heard the phrase ‘An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away’. This isn’t some old country saying by a wise grandma but instead a slogan devised by an ad agency in 1920’s London.
It didn’t just work because it was catchy but because people could see the connection between eating healthy and staying healthy. Nearly a century later and we are still familiar with the slogan long after we’ve forgotten the name of the fruit company who commissioned it.
Longer Slogans work too
It’s not just businesses who can benefit from a slightly longer slogan. Even President Obama is thought to have largely won his first presidential election by using one.
He didn’t besmirch his opponent or come up with a bland slogan as so often used by politicians of both sides such as ‘Positive Change’ but instead used ‘Change We Can Believe In’. Whatever you think of his politics, the slogan is undeniably a classic one, his slogan didn’t promise the earth but captured enough voters imaginations that relatively small amount he did promise was actually possible.
Many of us are so over-exposed to one or two word straplines from technology giants that we forget the alternatives. Depending on the business sector that you are operating in, it is important to adjust your slogan taking into account of your customer base.
By specifying the type of slogans you like and those of rival organizations you admire in your slogan writing contest. You are much more likely to get a slogan that will help you forge an emotional bond with customers.