Do I need a slogan?

Sep 9, 2016

The short answer: Yes.

If you have a brand that communicates with its audience, a slogan is basically the conversation starter.

A slogan is usually a short and memorable phrase or a combination of words used by brands to evoke what their universe is all about. Those few words that make up a slogan are the result of a complex, most often emotionally driven concept. A slogan is not a generic descriptor!

A slogan is the front line representation of your brand’s positioning.

Let’s look at a few globally renowned slogans:

Nokia – “Connecting People”: In line with the company’s vision and goal to connect people regardless of distance and barriers.

Johnny Walker – "Keep Walking": Embodies the company’s history and ongoing objective of progress.

Apple – "Think Different": Personifies the company’s non-mainstream thinking and products.

KFC – "Finger lickin' good": A product-inspired slogan illustrating how savory it is.

De Beers – "A diamond is forever": Conveys the eternal promise of a diamond.

These are just some of the most unforgettable slogans out there. And as you can see in these examples, there aren’t any sentences like: "Serving the most delicious chicken in the country" or "Whiskey brewing experts" or "Diamonds craftsmen since 1988". It’s not that these sentences are wrong, it’s that they are neither unique nor memorable. Moreover, they don’t capture the spirit of the brand.

In many cases, a strong slogan expresses the main idea behind a brand and paves the way for setting its image and tone of voice. And though it can be timeless, in many cases, it can also be evolutionary in the sense that it shifts with the brand. Think for example of:

KFC – Switched from "Finger lickin good" to "So good" in an effort to adopt a healthier image during times where health consciousness was becoming a norm that fast food giants had to reckon with.

L’Oreal – Switched from "Because I’m worth it" to "Because You’re worth it" in an effort to move from self-regard to flattery.

Though there are some tips for coming up with a strong slogan, some of the best slogans of all time were created unintentionally. Take for example these two classic cases:

Maxwell House - Legend has it that the President of the United States (1901-1909), Teddy Roosevelt, finished a Maxwell cup of coffee and said "Good to the last drop". The brand adopted this as its slogan; it garnered so much recognition that the few attempts to change it failed miserably.

Nike - The story goes like this: During a meeting between Nike employees and Wieden and Kennedy ad agency, Dan Wieden said "You Nike guys, you just do it". And there you have it.

In an ideal world, all slogans would arise in such a fashion and would also be powerful. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. So here are some basic guidelines to help you formulate the perfect slogan:

  1. If you’re starting out, you need to begin first with a logo, then you define the slogan.
  2. Your slogan should be simple so that it is quickly (and accurately) understood by your audience. So no fancy words or long sentences.
  3. It should be genuine and true to the brand. So no over-promises or deceptiveness.
  4. If you have a "one thing" that makes you stand out from your competitors, bring it to life in your slogan.
  5. If your slogan happens to be longer that a couple of words, give it two of the following: rhythm, rhyme and a ring. It will make it pleasing to the ear.

If you’re stuck, you can always seek the help of professionals.

Here are some of the slogans we’ve created for our clients:

Barrilux – Infinite creation
Barrilux is a stretch ceilings expert working with a wide range of clients, from stadiums, to hospitals, to showrooms. There isn’t a style, texture or shape of ceiling that they couldn’t cater to. So their slogan of “infinite creation” wears them like a glove.

Fondation Saradar – Inspired by possibilities
Sponsoring Lebanese athletes & artists and boosting them to international levels, in addition to helping democratize education, it is the idea of ‘what if’ and ‘possibilities’ that drive the team behind this NGO.

Gleam – Pretty little things
A concept store, nestled within a beauty spa in Casablanca and carrying the latest ‘must-have’ items from around the world, beautiful little mementos assembled by the owner throughout her travels. Pretty little things they are!

Kaftish – Pas comme les autres
A kaftans brand, disillusioned by mainstream fashion and with an aim to bring back a little old world middle-eastern glamour to the modern Arab woman by creating unique kaftans, that simply add a different touch to a woman’s wardrobe. So yes, they are definitely pas comme les autres.

SIA - Going Places
To define the dynamism of the brand and its global reach, the slogan "Going Places." made perfect sense. Moreover, it has a connotation that it 'tags along' with the travelers that have opted to purchase travel insurance from SIA.

Mundo de La Playa - Take me there
A restaurant in the heart of Tyre serving Tex Mex, American and seafood cuisines, the slogan "Take me there" highlights the different benefits of the brand: its location on the shores of Tyr, making it a destination in itself, and its positioning of offering a melting pot of cuisines and of transporting customers to different worlds.

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