Slogans can help sell products, but can be used for other purposes as well.
The first question a slogan maker needs to ask is what is the purpose of this tagline? The writer needs to know what objective that the entrepreneur is attempting to achieve with the phrase.
The purpose of marketing slogans is to sell products or services. An example of such a tagline is “we have the best prices in town.” Yet not all catchphrases are designed for marketing purposes.
Slogans and Philosophy
Another popular class of slogan sets forth an organization’s philosophy or code of ethics. A classic example of this is Google’s “Don’t do evil” catchphrase which demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ethical behavior.
Such slogans actually serve a dual purpose to publicize the organization’s philosophy and to set it apart from competitors. Therefore there is a marketing dimension to these taglines but it is secondary to the ethical or the philosophical statement.
Something to watch for when you write marketing slogans is to make sure that they do not contradict the organization’s philosophy or code of ethics. A business that is seen to be saying two different things at the same time will be seen as hypocritical and deceitful.
How to Start Designing a Slogan
The first thing that you need to ask yourself when sit down to write a slogan or set up a slogan writing contest is: what is the purpose of this tagline? If you cannot answer that question you’ll be wasting your time and effort.
Worse you could harm your organization by putting out a slogan that contradicts its statements or purposes. Many slogans including some for giant corporations seem to serve little or no purpose.
Even worse are slogans that sound good but serve no purpose. A meaningless slogan will be a waste of time and money even if it sounds good.
A great way to determine the purpose of the slogan is to write your goal down on a piece of paper. Then sit down and try to come up with a tagline that achieves the goal.
The Goal Determines the Slogan
Once you have a goal you can design a slogan writing contest around it. If you want a successful slogan you’ll need to have a clear cut and concise goal.
An example of this might be: “I want the public to know that my business has the lowest prices on this product in my area.”
The entrants in the contest will then have a clear cut goal to strive for. They will know that you want to tell the public that you have low prices. The writes will also know that you want to emphasize the prices in the tagline.
So why not sit down and write up some goals or a goal you want to achieve. Then build a slogan writing contest around those goals. Those goals can be simple or noble ones. Even a vague goal can be better than no goals.
A vague goal might be: “I want to set my business apart from my competitors.” Truly creative writers can make a slogan based on even the vaguest goals but they cannot create a slogan based on no goals.
So what makes a slogan catchy anyway? Judging by many of the catchy slogans of the past and present there is no simple or clear cut answer to this question. Instead there seems to be no magic formula for a successful slogan.
Musical slogans can be effective in some instances remember “plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is for Alka Saltzer.” Yet they can also be seen as silly or childish. A rhyming musical slogan can work wonders for a stomach ache remedy but it would probably damage a politicians’ chances of reelection. After all nobody would vote for a leader they felt was silly or childish.
Humorous Marketing Slogans Not Always Appropriate
The same might be said of humorous slogans which are very memorable but can damage somebody’s reputation. Sometimes laughter can enhance a product or its reputation but it can also damage a reputation. After all you don’t want to go to a doctor, a lawyer or a stockbroker that you think is a joke.
Yet humor in marketing slogans can help promote products designed for serious situations. A silly slogan might be just what is needed to get people thinking about a serious issue or need such as that for insurance. Think how much car insurance the GEICO gecko has sold for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The gecko uses humor to sell a very serious and boring product.
On the other hand a humorous marketing slogan would not be appropriate for life insurance. Life insurance only pays when somebody dies and that isn’t a very funny situation. Yet a humorous marketing slogan might help investment advisers sell another product: annuities.
Effective Slogans for Investment Advisers
Annuities provide automatic income for their beneficiaries. An investment adviser might use this catchy slogan: “Do you want to end up broke and retired?”
That tagline is a little humorous but it is also deadly serious. After all you go to an investment adviser or retirement planner in order to avoid ending up broke and retired?
A similar and equally clever slogan for a retirement planner might be: “Do you really want to spend your golden years living in your children’s spare room?”
These slogans are appropriate because they use humor to get people to think about a serious product they need. Nobody likes to think about growing old or planning for retirement do they? Just as most of us hate thinking about car insurance.
Discretion and Slogans
Choosing an appropriate slogan is a matter of discretion and judgment as much as anything else. A tagline that is appropriate for a retirement planner might not be appropriate for an estate planner for example even though their jobs are very similar.
Many of us have the discretion and judgment needed to choose an appropriate slogan for our business but the talent to create a catchy slogan. That’s where a slogan writing contest can help you. You can use the talented people that enter the contest to write the slogans then your own judgment to pick out a tagline that’s appropriate for your business. That way you can create a catchy slogan that will not offend your customers.
Ethics can be a big part in deciding a slogan.
There is an ethical dimension to marketing slogans that some entrepreneurs might not be aware of. Taglines can raise serious ethical questions because they often make a promise.
If the business cannot or will not deliver on the promise made in the tagline it is essentially lying to customers and potential customers. A store that promises: “the lowest prices in town” but does not deliver is not only deceiving customers, it is giving them a reason not to believe its marketing slogans.
That means business owners need to review their organizations’ capabilities before they employ a slogan maker. They need to know what their organization is capable of and not capable before putting a promise before the public.
Don’t Make Unrealistic Promises
A retailer should check with suppliers and wholesalers to make sure she can deliver on promises of low prices. If she learns that wholesale prices or other business costs will go up in the near future scrapping a marketing slogan promising low prices would be a really good idea.
A company owner that promises “One day service” or “one day turnaround” should go over his business records to determine if his staff can actually provide such service. If they cannot the owner should consider emphasizing another of the organization’s capabilities.
A car dealer would be better off stating: “We clean every used car on our lot” than “we have the cleanest cars in town.” There is no way to prove the second claim, but it is easy to verify the first claim.
Making a claim that can be verified in a marketing slogan adds credibility to the tagline and the business. It proves that the company is honest and delivers on its promises to customers. It also demonstrates that the organization is ethical and treats customers in an ethical manner.
Review Taglines Regularly
Business operators need to reveal all taglines regularly to make sure that they accurately reflect the organization’s capabilities and operations. The business might have new capabilities that are not mentioned in the current slogans. It might no longer be capable of delivering on some promises made.
After the review you might have to update the slogans. The best way to do this is to hold a slogan writing contest to create a new tagline for the organization. It is also a good idea to hold such a contest whenever the organization’s capabilities change.
If prices have to be raised it might be a good idea to create a new slogan that emphasizes some of the business’s other strengths such as customer service or expertise. If there is something that your organization does that no competitor does it would be a good idea to point it out.
You should verify this before you spend money on the slogan contest. A good way to verify your competitors’ capabilities is to simply call them and ask what they can do. Don’t claim that your organization has a unique capability when it does not.
Creating a slogan that accurately and honestly reflects your organization’s capabilities is one of the best ways to demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices to customers. A slogan contest can enable you to take this step today.
A great way to think of a marketing slogan is an offer of a solution to the customer. Taglines that make a specific promise to the public are actually promising a solution to a problem.
An example of such a tagline is the common promise made by liquor stores that: “We have the coldest beer in town.” The problem is that most Americans like to drink cold beer but many liquor stores sell brews that are warm. The store is promising customers that their beer will be cold.
Another promise a liquor store might make is that: “We have the biggest selection of beer in town” or “The largest beer cooler in the Tampa Bay area.” The store owner is promising customers a large selection of beer with the first marketing slogan and stating that a high percentage of his product will be cold with the second tagline.
The Purpose of the Promise
Such marketing slogans have a twofold purpose:
- To demonstrate a higher level of commitment and dedication to customers. Basically they say “we are willing to go out of our way to meet your needs.” To say to customers “we care about you and want to help you.”
- To set the business apart from the competition. Yes there are liquor stores on every corner in the city but we’re the only store in town with really cold beer and a gigantic selection.
A great example of a catchy slogan that would meet these criteria is: “We know beer.” Or “Beer is our passion.” These seemingly simple statements demonstrate passion for the product and a knowledge of it that comes from actually drinking and enjoying beer.
Be Careful What You Promise
You should always be careful what you promise in a marketing slogan. If you claim to have the coldest beer in town you will have to make a reasonable effort to achieve that goal. Such a tagline is a goal for the business and its employees to achieve as well as a promise.
The liquor store that promises cold beer and a large selection will need to have a cold cooler and a large stock. If it cannot deliver on those promises it’ll disappoint customers and drive them away. The store might not need to measure the temperature constantly but it should definitely count the number of brands of beer offered on its competition’s shelves.
That means vague slogans that promise a commitment to values or a purpose are sometimes better. Promising “We know beer” means a liquor store must hire employees that actually know a lot about beer.
A really great slogan can energize and motivate an organization and its employees even without making such a promise. Pedigree Dog Food likes to boast: “We’re for dogs.” What Pedigree is really saying is that it is passionate about dogs and meeting their needs.
Creating the Slogan Solution
If you want an effective marketing slogan you should think of a solution that your organization offers the public. It could be particular knowledge or expertise that your organization has or just something that you do well. Mainly it should be something that you can easily deliver upon but sets your outfit apart from the competition.
Once you’ve thought of something like that make it the basis of a slogan contest. Such a contest can emphasize your organization’s capabilities and show potential customers the solutions that you can offer.
Using humor in law slogans ... I object
Humor is one of the most powerful marketing tools in the world and one of the least understood and most underutilized. Humor etches itself on the memory which makes it an effective means for creating a marketing slogan.
If you think back upon your life many of the lines and phrases that you remember from movies, television, books and songs are humorous ones. Famous movie lines like “Go Ahead Make My Day,” (Dirty Harry) “Frankly Scarlet I don’t give a damn” (Gone with the Wind) and “E.T. Phone Home” (E.T.: The Extraterrestrial) are memorable because they employ humor. Sometimes the humor is subtle or ironic and sometimes it is blatant but it is there.
So if you want a tagline that your potential clients will remember you should use humor. Many injury law taglines are totally forgettable because they don’t employ humor. Those slogans are serious to the point of complete boredom.
Humor and Humanity
Humor does something else for a personal injury law slogan it adds humanity. Sadly enough many people see attorneys as soulless or inhuman. A humorous marketing slogan can tell potential clients that there are actual human beings inside the suits.
If people can laugh at somebody they can emphasize with that person. If they can’t laugh at an attorney, many people will assume that the lawyer does not have a sense of humor or a soul.
A humorous marketing slogan can make people laugh at attorneys and attract potential clients. The clients will think the lawyers are human beings that understand them and their lives rather than arrogant crusaders in suits.
How to Add Humor to a Marketing Slogan
A great catchy slogan for a personal injury law firm would be: “We ain’t afraid of no insurance company.” It is funny but it gets the point across, people go to injury attorneys because they’re afraid of dealing with insurance companies. The tagline also has a pop culture reference to Ghostbusters which adds even more humanity.
Something that attorneys and their slogan writers forget is that people who call an injury attorney often feel helpless and powerless. They need humor to take their minds off the situation.
Another example of a humorous slogan for an injury law office might be: “The accident was the hard part. Dealing with the insurance company is the easy part with our help.”
Then there’s this variation which reminds potential clients why injury lawyers exist in the first place: “We fight the insurance company so you don’t have to.”
An even funnier variation is: “insurance companies are afraid of us.”
Humor can also be used to educate potential clients as this catchy slogan demonstrates: “There’s a reason the insurance company doesn’t want you to call a lawyer. Call us and find out why.”
Or: “The insurance company has lawyers, you should have one too.”
Contingency Fees can be Funny
Even contingency fees can be funny as this catchy slogan demonstrates: “Believe it or not you don’t have to pay us if we don’t win the case.”
Or: “The only thing you will lose when you call an injury lawyer is your time. The only thing you’ll lose when you don’t call an injury lawyer is your rights.
A great way to create a humorous slogan for a law firm is to hold a slogan writing contest. Simply specify that you want a humorous slogan for a personal injury law firm and see what the comedy geniuses on line think up. Try setting up such a contest today. The only thing you to have to lose is a few hundred dollars. If it attracts one client and one contingency fee it’ll be worth it.