In advertising, things can get complicated. You can, for example, devote an entire blog to marketing’s many nooks & crannies, and fully exploring them would take a very long time. Yet one of the most profound truths in all of advertising can be summed up in one extremely simple aphorism:
Keep it simple, stupid!
Succinct advertising can’t be beat. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy – comparatively, in fiction writing, producing a short story can be more challenging than writing an entire novel. Why? Because when you write a short story, you have to cram a novel into a much smaller number of pages. This is the challenge directors face when they try to give some huge book the film adaptation treatment. It’s hard to fit everything into one little slot of time.
Likewise, in advertising, it’s no easy feat to express a complicated emotional idea into a few words like a slogan or a call to action. So you have to respect the brands that get this stuff right because it’s undeniably tough. Successful brands have managed to communicate a value proposition to buyers in a single, succinct sentence or jingle of some kind.
Let’s go over the definitions of slogans and taglines, and then we’ll cover the general rules of proper slogans so you can get your own ad machine up and running in this area.
Slogans vs. Taglines
Slogans are catchphrases or small groupings of words that combine to define/identify some company and/or its products/services. They’re a little like tiny mission statements. Where a logo is a visual avatar of the brand’s identity, a slogan is for the ears (or the mind as you read in your head). If your audience remembers nothing else, hope that they remember the slogan! Even that is a win in the marketing world.
By contrast, a tagline is something you’ll probably see adjacent to a company’s logo. Taglines are usually designed to pump up brand awareness, whereas a slogan is all about the company’s promises and what it values. Your company doesn’t strictly need both a slogan and a tagline doesn’t have to develop both a slogan and a tagline. You can definitely succeed just using a high-quality tagline that people recognize. Slogans and taglines intersect, too – they can overlap and blur the lines of distinction between the two.
However, as you develop products/services to bring into the world, you might come up with a brand that is primed and ready for its very own slogan.
Great Slogans – What’s Behind Them?
First and foremost, a good slogan is memorable. And quickly recognizable. How long o people have to spend thinking about it? If the answer to that question is more than 2 seconds, it may be time to develop a new slogan. A strong, yet brief string of words goes a long way in the advertising world, and it ought to include a concrete benefit. You need to sell solutions and benefits—not features.
Seems almost counter-intuitive, right? If you’re selling a blender, shouldn’t it help to emphasize the quality of the unit? The sharpness and shine of the blades? The sleek design? Well, good blender marketers may find space to touch on those points, but what they really ought to sell is how bad your life must be without a blender. They need to sell all the tasty salads and power shakes your stomach is missing out on. Until then, the blender is a neat trinket, but the customer worked hard for their money, and they’re not just going to toss it at you. Sell the hole, not the drill.
Your slogan should also differentiate your brand from other similar brands. What’s different about this product? Why this one and not the one someone else is selling? A good slogan makes you feel good about what this brand is offering and creates a powerful, positive association in the customer’s mind. You can use positive terms like “great” or “amazing” to give the listener/reader feelings they’ll enjoy having, and which they unconsciously associate with your brand—thanks to your succinct, upbeat slogan.