Derived from the word ‘slogorn’, an Anglicization of the Irish and Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm, a slogan is a concise, usually memorable phrase that is typically appealing to its intended audience. In the Oxford Dictionary, it is described as a “short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising".
Perhaps broader than solely an advertising tool, slogans can be written, visual, chanted or musical. They usually consist of simple, catchy words or phrases that are sometimes repetitive and often rhetorical in nature, with the intention of capturing an audience’s attention.
In the United States, marketing slogans are commonly referred to as taglines. In Europe, they can be known as straplines, baselines or pay-offs. In a marketing context, slogans are leveraged to convey important messages about a product, service, or company. A successful slogan will capture the attention of consumers, influence their thoughts on a particular brand, or impact purchasing decisions. In commercial advertising, while often performing a support role to broader promotional activity, a slogan is designed with the goal of selling products or services in mind. Often creation of a slogan will form closely align to the creative production of promotional images for a product.
Examples of successful slogans include Nike’s ‘Just Do It’, Adidas’ ‘Impossible Is Nothing’, ‘The happiest place on earth’ from Disneyland and Yellow Pages ‘Let your fingers do the walking’. Often a short slogan can become synonymous with a brand and instrumental in a brand's growth. Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ campaign assisted Nike with growing its share of the North American domestic sports shoe business from 18% to 43% in the ten years to 1998.
Effective slogans share a number of similar attributes. Some of these attributes include:
Brevity and simplicity - The most effective slogans are typically short and simple.
Consistent branding - A slogan needs to complement your existing company image, logo, and name.
A clear USP - Establish your unique selling proposition, and use this in your slogan.
Timeless - When developing a marketing slogan, select a phrase or words that can stand the test of time.
Stand-alone - A great slogan works effectively in isolation. Make sure an audience can associate your slogan without additional guidance.
Considering the target market - Ensure a slogan is obvious to your target market.
A slogan is not simply the output of a design agency that accompanies your product and promotional advertising. Slogans are strategically important and when used effectively can play a prominent role in influencing a customer’s decision making and building trust with an audience.
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