With the right slogan, you can make people giggle at a pun, ponder the mysteries of the universe, or even experience a powerful craving. A poor slogan, on the other hand, risks making customers cringe. And forking over cash is usually the last thing someone wants to do after cringing.
This post will give you a 5-step guide to writing great slogans. So whether you need a brand new idea or you’re refining an existing slogan, you’ll be in business. Let’s get started!
Related: Learn more about the 10 assets you need to effectively manage your brand online in our free eBook.
1. Make your slogan ABC: Ambitious But Credible
Believability is the first test of a good slogan, because a customer’s belief or lack thereof largely determines how he or she will respond, and that response could very well be the difference between buying and walking away. No matter how much fun your slogan is to say, or how good it looks next to your logo, it won’t do any good if your customers don’t believe it. 
For example, Nike’s command to “find your fast” comes across as completely believable. While having the right equipment isn’t the only factor in athletic success, it is a factor. Slogans like this one invite consumers to put their trust in a brand, which is a big plus.
Some key questions to ask about your slogan:
- Do I believe it?
- Is there good reason for my customers to believe it?
- Does it set a high standard for the product?
2. Appeal to emotional needs
Making a purchase is often an emotional experience. If a slogan can incite a strong positive emotion (think joy, excitement, sympathy, etc.), it stands a better chance of connecting people with the products and services that aim to fill those needs.
For example, major hotel chains go out of their way to convey comfort: Hilton claims to be “filling the earth with light and warmth of hospitality,” while Aston bids “welcome home” to each traveler who sets foot on their premises.
You can also tug at the heart strings without being sappy. When Kleenex launched a video ad about a boy who gives a tissue to a girl he spots crying on the school bus, the closing observation that “someone needs one” positioned Kleenexes as the universal response to tears everywhere.
Questions to consider about your slogan:
- What emotions does it invoke?
- Which of my target audience’s needs does it relate to?
3. Stand out with clever wordplay
Your slogan ought to be tricky or clever enough to make most readers think about your slogan for a minute or two, which makes it more likely that they’ll remember it. If it’s too tricky, however, it can go right over their heads and leave them confused.
There’s no easy way to come up with a clever saying, but you can start by listing words that have to do with your product, then searching for rhymes, synonyms, and alternate definitions for puns.
Those aren’t the only ways to make your slogan stand out—in fact, sounding too catchy in a clichéd way could be counterproductive. Reese’s “two great tastes that taste great together” follows an A-B-B-A structure that, intentionally or not, imitates the peanut-butter filled structure of the candy itself.
Nor does it have to be complicated to sound good. “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks” isn’t just easy on the tongue; it’s also a straightforward slogan that goes well with the down-to-earth nature of hardware stores.
- Are consumers likely to understand the slogan’s wordplay?
- Does the cleverness of the slogan distract from or reinforce its overall message and effect?
4. Just say no to clichés and superlatives
How do you know when you’ve crossed the line from catchy to corny?
Another sign you may have gone too far is the use of tired clichés. Phrases such as “we do X so you don’t have to”; “for x, by x”; and “x of the future” are all used so frequently that consumers are used to tuning them out. If you really want to express the sentiment embodied in these phrases, find a unique way of doing so.
Some key questions to consider are:
- In what ways is my slogan different from most slogans?
- In what ways is it similar, possibly too similar, to most slogans?
- How likely are customers to roll their eyes at it?
5. Maintain a strong connection to your business
Can you match the following slogans to the product they represent?
1. Made like no otherA. beverages2. Rethink the daily grindB. women’s deodorant3. Live loudC. toilet paper4. Live life in full colourD. denture fixatives5. Bend the rulesE. 3D desktop scanners6. Designed to be forgottenF. ice cream
Having trouble making the connection? The point is that a slogan should strongly relate to the product it promotes. It if doesn’t, then it might catch people’s attention momentarily, but it won’t stay with them.
It’s best if there’s a strong, interesting link between your slogan and your product. For instance, Aquafina’s insistence that their water is “for happy bodies” makes good sense. Sunchips’ claim to be “unique in every wave” distinguishes their chips from their less curvy competitors. Finally, Paper & Packaging Board’s assertion that their products are at the heart of “how life unfolds” wouldn’t make much sense for, say, a burger stand.
(And if you want to know the quiz answers, here they are: 1. F, 2. A, 3. D, 4. B, 5. E, 6. C.)
Congratulations! You made it through Business Slogans 101. Once you’ve written a killer slogan of your own, be sure to sell it visually as well as verbally. Lucidpress templates can help you incorporate your new slogan into all kinds of marketing materials: social media graphics, digital magazines, company newsletters, and much more.