Whether you call it a company slogan, a tag line, a strapline, a logline, a branding statement, a positioning statement, a motto or a memory hook, this refers to a phrase that follows the company name in website headers, in print ads, on business cards and everywhere else.
Ideally, the slogan should say something interesting in a snappy way. In many cases, however, it just says something ordinary in a snappy way, and that gets the job done. The slogan makes the company stand out from competitors and stick in the minds of customers. It performs marketing magic.
Let’s start with a couple of bland company names and then see how to jazz them up with five tag line techniques.
Example #1 is Benton Motor Rental. It rents cars to tourists and business visitors in Boston. The owners don’t think it’s all that special or exciting, but let’s see what happens when we apply some creativity.
- Technique #1: Alliteration. This means repeated initial sounds or letters, as in: Benton Motor Rental: Boston’s Best Rides
- Technique #2: Contrast. This means a juxtaposition of opposites or extremes, such as day/night, minimum/maximum, rich/poor. Let’s add this to the previous example to get: Benton Motor Rental: Boston’s Best Rides, by the Hour or the Month
- Technique #3: Rhyme. Again, let’s reuse and tweak an idea we already thought up: Benton Motor Rental: Your Best Ride is Our Pride
- Technique #4: Make an unexpected connection. Boston’s nickname is Beantown, and this company’s car rental service costs less than some competitors. So that yields: Benton Motor Rental: Beancounter’s Delight
- Technique #5: Riff off a popular saying. Find a cliche related to car rental and add a clever twist, or take a saying having nothing to do with car rental and make it relate: Benton Motor Rental: Making Boston Your Oyster
Note that all the words in the business name and tag line need not start with the same letter for alliteration to add pizzazz.
The contrast in the added phrase conveys flexibility and range and makes the company sound like it caters to the convenience of the customer.
Although that’s a little hackneyed, the rhymed tag line still adds energy and a promise of customer service to the company name.
Well, anyone who knows Boston’s twisted street system and aggressive drivers won’t believe that slogan for a minute, but you get the idea, right?
Example #2 is Cathy’s Fruit Shop. It sells both seasonal local fruits and fruits from overseas. It’s known for being a friendly place with fresh, attractive produce. Again, let’s get creative.
- Technique #1: Alliteration. Cathy’s Fruit Shop: Pears, Papayas, Plums… Plus
- Technique #2: Contrast. Cathy’s Fruit Shop: Earth’s Bounty, Heavenly Fresh
- Technique #3: Rhyme. Cathy’s Fruit Shop: Always the Freshest Crop
- Technique #4: An unexpected connection. Cathy’s Fruit Shop: Fresh Fruit on Fridays – and Every Other Day of the Week, Too
- Technique #5: Riff off a popular saying. Cathy’s Fruit Shop: Compare Our Apples and Oranges
Or, Cathy’s Fruit Shop: Fundamentally Fresh and Friendly
It’s so much easier to pull captivating slogans out of your hat when you have these guidelines for combining words in punchy ways!
Marcia Yudkin is Head Stork of Named At Last, a company that brainstorms creative business names, product names and tag lines for clients. For a systematic process of coming up with an appealing and effective name or tag line, download a free copy of “19 Steps to the Perfect Company Name, Product Name or Tag Line” at http://www.namedatlast.com/19steps.htm