Business & Finance Corporations

7 Steps for Creating a Business or Advertising Slogan

A slogan is a catchy one or two line phrase associated with a product, campaign or business. These are often developed by big-name advertising agencies as part of an advertising or branding campaign. But big-name agencies come with big price tags -- beyond the reach of many small businesses. If you are in this situation, don't despair. With some creativity and persistence, you can develop your own slogan.

(1) Decide what you want your slogan to communicate.

If you have a positioning statement and/or unique selling proposition, write them down and keep them close at hand. Your slogan should reinforce them. Ask yourself these questions.

• - Who are your customers?

• - What benefits do you give your customers?

• - What feelings do you want to evoke in your customers?

• - What action are you trying to generate from your customers?

• - How are you different from your competition?

Try to get one or more of these across in your slogan.

(2) Begin brainstorming preparation.

Gather slogans from other companies and brands. Look in other categories besides your own and try to find brand and company slogans from both large and small companies.

As you find slogans, write them on index cards or individual slips of paper. You will be mixing, matching, and pairing them with unrelated items as you brainstorm your own slogan. Pay attention to the words used, how they are put together, and which of the above questions they address. By doing this, you are more likely to come up with your own unique angle.

NOTE: You are looking at others' slogans only to spark ideas, not copy them. You must come up with your own, original slogan.

To find slogans, look around. Anywhere you find advertisements, packaging, or logos you will find slogans. Look in cupboards, around desks, in magazines, on TV/radio commercials, in print advertisements, and on Web sites. For example:

Presidential Campaign Slogans

The 2008 presidential election campaigns are beginning to kick in. Some early slogans associated with presidential campaigns include:

• - MoveOn: "Democracy in Action"

• - "Women for Hillary" (Clinton)

• - Rudy Giuliani: "Rudy"

• - Barak Obama: "Obama '08"

Not a lot of creativity as of April 2007, but each conveys a desired action or goal.

Restaurant Slogans

Restaurant slogans tend to be a bit more creative and subtle. Often accompanied by a lively tune in commercials, these slogans are intended to get the targeted consumer up, out the door, and into the restaurant or drive-thru (sometimes in terms only the target market would find less than bizarre):

• - Burger King: "Wake up with the King."

• - Taco Bell : "Good to Go," "Think Outside the Bun," "Run for the Border,"

• (Example of a slogan that flopped: In the late '80's, when I was a Taco Bell store manager, Taco Bell had a short-lived, one-word slogan: "Hello". We had to answer the restaurant telephone with "Hello, Taco Bell." Uhhhmmmm. Whatever.)

• - McDonald's: "You deserve a break today."

Famous Ad Slogans

Many classic slogans also convey a critical benefit or unique feature:

• - Alka Selzer: "Plop plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.

• - Rice Krispies cereal: "Snap, Crackle, Pop!"

• - Johnson's Baby Shampoo: "No more tears."

• - M&M's: "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands."

• - Milk: "Milk. It does a body good."

• - McDonald's Big Mac: "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun."

(3) Find your competitors' slogans.

Look at them and strive to be better and different.

(4) Gather together books to help you come up with different ways to phrase similar ideas.

Some of my favorites: "Word Menu," "Flop Dictionary," "The Describer's Dictionary" and "Twenty-First Century Synonym and Antonym Finder".

(5) Conduct a brainstorming session.

This works best if you can get a small group together, but can also be done solo. Set up a place with a lot of writing space - use dry erase boards, easels with big paper pads, note cards, etc.

Go through your props. Look up words or concepts in the books. Rearrange your various props so you can look at them in different ways. Write down *everything* that comes to mind and all the new ideas each phrase sparks. They do not have to make sense. At this point, you want a large number of ideas.

(6) Consolidate your list.

After brainstorming, go through all of your ideas. Pull out those few you think have the best potential. Try to reduce longer slogans to fewer words.

(7) Choose the one best slogan.

You should be left with a short list of possibilities. To pick the single best slogan, get others' opinions. If you have some funds budgeted for slogan development, work with a market research firm to test the slogans with your customers.

You can also conduct informal research. Set up a free or professional survey and encourage people to take the survey through your Website. If you have direct contact with customers, ask them what they think. Give them an incentive to help you, such as a discount or small freebie.

When you are done, you will have a slogan that will help your business thrive.

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