Slogans: in 6 steps
to a powerful branding
We all know this sentence: Just call Apeldoorn. You may also see one of those funny ads in your mind. But do you know which insurance company is waiting for your call in Apeldoorn? However funny and memorable the slogan is, if the sender is unclear, you miss the mark. How do you write a slogan that does work? And why are slogans important anyway? In this blog we take a look behind the advertising slogan.
The role of slogans
A slogan is a sentence, or a few keywords, with which you present the core message of a brand or company. In the case of a successful slogan this is a striking phrase that sticks in your mind. Slogans are very closely related to the identity of your brand. It is an ideal way to strengthen brand experience, grab the attention of the consumer and secure a permanent place in their awareness. Creating trust in your brand or product is also an important function. This works well because you can generate an emotion with a well-written slogan in a visual way. All our behaviour, and therefore also buying behaviour, is driven by our emotions. You have to know how to trigger them to make a consumer a customer.
Writing effective slogans
1. Generating Emotion
I already mentioned it but it cannot be repeated often enough: the most important characteristic of a good slogan is that it evokes an emotion. The right hemisphere of the brain, where emotions are regulated, must be stimulated. Your slogan therefore does not have to give a logical reasoning about why your brand is the best. No, the consumer must feel, smell and taste something. It becomes really strong when the consumer gets an image in his or her head when reading the slogan. Focus on positive emotions and a motivating message.
A promise that fits your target group. A good example of this is Start your day with Nutella. This sentences has an instruction, starting the day with Nutella, and the promise that it will be a good day. Or what do you think of the “Mmm I’m Lovin’ It” from Mc Donalds. Don’t you get an appetite just thinking about a delicious burgers from Mc Donald? Mmmm…
2. Go for recognition
In the intro I mentioned the example of Centraal Beheer in Apeldoorn: a slogan without a recognizable sender doesn’t really make sense. To prevent your brand from being unclear, it is wise to incorporate the name of your brand or company in the slogan. Think for example of ‘Have break, have a KitKat’. Or what if I say: “You Only Get an ‘OO’ With Typhoo”? Right, you’re already fancy a cup of tea.
The more senses you appeal to, the better your chances of brand recognition. That is why commercials are so strong when a slogan is put to music. Think for example of the Tesco. Every little bit helps. I bet that when reading that slogan you heard the accompanying tune in your head.
3. Be specific
Do not try to cram all aspects of your brand into one slogan. To be catchy you need to stay concise and specific. Take for example Red Band, if you want to have fun. In addition to fun, Red Band also focuses on other characteristics: Dutch quality and the use of natural dyes. But they try not to force it in their slogan. You would then get something like ‘Red Band, if you want to have quality and responsible fun’. Instead, they have chosen one specific key point: Red Band = fun.
4. Be distinctive
Between the thousands of commercials that the consumer gets presented with daily, it is difficult to grab the attention. To break through the attention filter of the brain your slogan must be distinctive. Avoid clichés and empty marketing buzzwords. Special words that you invent or are not in everyday use can help. Be careful that you do not make it too special and write a brain teaser. A good example of special word use: “Beanz Meanz Heinz”.
5. The correct length
If you read any article on this subject it generally says that slogans should be short. The shorter the better, they claim. However this raises a critical point. Although you do not want to see never ending, complicated sentences, ‘less is more’ is not always the case. In the end you have to use as many words as you need to reach your goal. Preferably a bit longer and more effective than super short and half-baked.
A really short slogan is only possible if you do it well and succeed in stimulating the desired feeling with few words. Fancy a beer? is often cited as an example. Indeed, the emotion of a pleasant relaxing moment is easily created. But I wonder if the public is thinking about Heineken and not the other big beer brands …?
6. Time for repetition
To achieve a permanent place in the minds of consumers, a slogan needs time. So do not change your slogan without a good reason. If you do create a new slogan, give it time to wear in. Repetition works great for recognisability.
Another cosmetics brand making women feel fabulous is L’Oreal. The “Because You’re Worth It” campaign has been used for many years now and it works. It tells the audience that they deserve to treat themselves and make the best of themselves. Recently, adverts have featured the slogan “Because We’re Worth It”. So do you think the consumer will take the new slogan on board? I am curious to find out!