Every business owner wants his or her company to be the most current catchphrase on the tip of consumers’ tongues. Because if their brand is wedged in the buyers’ mind like a bad pop song gone wrong, at least the consumer is thinking about the brand, right?
Well, as long as you don’t end up with a slogan like Pepsi’s tagline “Pepsi brings you back to life,” which translates to “Pepsi brings you ancestors back from the grave” in Chinese. A memorable slogan or advertising campaign can make or break a company, and, according to Forbes, Pepsi may have broken more than one cardinal rule, lending to the translation fiasco.
The company’s biggest mistake may have been pushing a slogan that was too wordy. In the case of taglines, less is more, at least according Forbes.com. The business-savvy website touts that slogans with three words are the most effective. Need an example? Try these on for size:
- I’m lovin’ it
- Eat Mor Chikin’
- Just Do It
Were you able to associate the slogan with the brand? Most likely.
Word count, though, is not the only indicator of an excellently effective slogan. Rather, several elements go into creating memorable tagline. Forbes suggests following these eight keys to achieve successful branding.
Memorable. Is your slogan (or other brand element) easy to recognize, and easy to recall? Does it have ‘sticking power’? A striking image or a word carrying some emotion such as courage or bravery might help.
Meaningful. This can be achieved in a descriptive way, such as a clear link with what you do – a product category, the business you are in. Or it can be done in a persuasive way – emphasizing your unique selling proposition, or a key point of difference, such as a special benefit you offer. In either case, credibility is essential, as a slogan must link with customer expectations.
Likeable. Does it look good, and does it sound right? Try using linguistic devices like alliteration (Coca-Cola), unusual or incorrect spelling (Kwik-Fit, Vodafone), abbreviations (7UP), acronyms (Amoco), compounds (Cup-a-Soup), metaphors (Aquafresh), association with a particular quality (Midas), or what the branding experts refer to as paranomasia, and that we think of as a play on words (half the restaurants in London and New York).
Transferability. Is the slogan universal enough to cover new categories, new business ventures and international markets? Make sure the words are easily pronounceable in as many countries as possible and look out for possible misinterpretation. Particularly if you’d like to avoid following Pepsi whose ‘Pepsi brings you back to life’ turned into ‘Pepsi brings you ancestors back from the grave’ in Chinese, or Coors whose ‘Turn it loose’ became ‘Suffer from diarrhea’ in Spanish.h), association with a particular quality (Midas), or what the branding experts refer to as paranomasia, and that we think of as a play on words (half the restaurants in London and New York).
Protectability. Think about the aspect of copyrights, and make sure you can legally protect your brand elements internationally. Also, make sure you don’t invest in building up awareness of brand elements that can be easily and legally copied by others. When Molson launched their Ice beer they thought they were onto a winner. Unfortunately for them, however, you can’t copyright the word ‘ice’ and they quickly found themselves facing competition from Miller Ice, and then Bud Ice.
Authenticity. The best slogans reflect the essence of a company, its very soul. And the best way to achieve authenticity is to work from the inside out, by understanding what your people believe the business is about because every single one of them will need to be an ambassador for the brand in the outside world.
Simplicity. In an age of information overload less is most definitely more. Keep it short, keep it simple, keep it clear.
Adaptability. In a rapidly changing world you need to future –proof your brand as much as possible, which means making it as adaptable as possible. Look at how other companies such as Google and MTV play with their logos through the use of different colors and backgrounds to create new messages while retaining the essence of the brand. Brand consistency and brand relevance are not mutually exclusive. With courage and inventiveness they can be made to work hand-in-hand.
With how many of the not-so-secret tips does your company comply? It might be time to consider re-working your tagline.
- We saw this article on Forbes’ website and thought of you. All information was taken from this article.