If you know which rental car agency is famous because "We try harder" or which candy "melts in your mouth, not in your hands," then you know the power of a winning slogan. A slogan is a key component in the branding and marketing strategies of your small business.
So how do you develop the perfect slogan? Following are four easy strategies for creating unforgettable slogans.
Explain Your Business
It took Linda Williams, founder and COO of Whose Apple Empowerment Center, a life coaching business, almost a year to develop and choose her company's slogan, "Leveraging Choice! Empowering Change!"
"Those four power words capture the company's mission," Williams says. "Through education, advocacy and coaching, we empower individuals to leverage traumatic life experiences toward mission, purpose and destiny."
Williams advises other small-business owners to write down the things that make their businesses unique. "Break down your business and what it does into a paragraph," she suggests, "then narrow that down into a few sentences, and finally a single sentence. You should arrive at a powerful and effective company slogan."
Ditch Your First Slogans
During the brainstorming process, you're likely to come up with slogans that are good and others that are terrible.
"The first 10 to 15 things you think of must be thrown in the garbage," says Shaun Walker, creative director for HERO|farm, a marketing, public relations and design agency based in New Orleans. His company's slogan? "Do great work for good people."
"Most people will come up with something right away and think 'That's it!' because it rhymes, it's cute, or it seems perfect," Walker says. "But chances are you've seen it used elsewhere and don't remember—or it just isn't very good."
Be Authentic, Creative and Brief
Walker says once you've discarded the losers, focus on crafting a winning slogan. It's important to incorporate elements of surprise and creativity and to always speak in an authentic voice that's true to the essence of your company. "Utilize an action verb to make your slogan empowering and a call to action, like Nike's 'Just Do It,'" Walker says. "Also try to make it about your customer and how you benefit your customer's life.
"Taglines should be short, sweet and memorable," Walker notes. "Just like a popular song, you want one line that's catchy and sticks in your customers' head."
Lisa Gleeson, owner of Lisa's Gift Wrappers, has her own formula for crafting a slogan. "It has to say what your business does in 10 words or less; it has to tell your story and evoke a positive image," Gleeson says. The slogan at her gift wrap and packaging store in Royal Oak, Michigan, is "When the presentation is as important as the gift."
Even if you're positive you've created the perfect slogan, you should take it for a test drive before committing to it for the long haul. Lisa Hennessy, owner of Your Pet Chef in Chicago, changed her slogan after asking others for their opinions.
"Before I took part in a brainstorming session, my slogan was 'Good food for a best friend,'" says Hennessy, who creates personalized meals for pets. "I used this process to help me perfect my slogan which is now 'Personalized dog food.' It says exactly what we do."
Make It Part of Your Company's Culture
Don't forget about your employees when you're creating a slogan. It's just as important that your tagline resonate with them as well as your prospects and customers.
"Your slogan or tagline should define your organization to your employees just as much as it does to your customers and should go a long way in helping establish your culture," says Patrick King, founder and CEO of Imagine, an online marketing firm in Manassas, Virginia. "Just like your mission statement, it should guide your company, not simply work as a sales pitch," King says.
When selecting a slogan for your small business, make sure it captures the unique qualities of your company, spells out exactly what your business does and explains how it can benefit your prospects and customers. Add a shot of creativity so the slogan's memorable, and you'll have mastered a key component of the branding process.
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