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Blog: Branding, Schmanding: What’s in a Name?

A brand by any other name may be just as effective. Or not. Use your words wisely and briefly.

We hear them all the time and recognize them in a second. Some evoke an emotion, maybe a smile or laughter. What are they? Slogans.

Slogans are subsets of brands and are some of the key concepts that most marketers will encourage you to create. But there are many misconceptions about what a brand actually is and their importance in your business. Specifically let’s talk about slogans, and the ones that stick with you and the majority that do not.

If I shared the following tag lines, which would you identify and possibly evoke some thoughts or feelings?:

  • “Got Milk”
  • “Just do it”
  • “The ultimate driving machine”

Some of these have been around for decades and others are more recent, but as much money as companies and advertisers spend on creating these tag lines and inscribing them into your brain, most never stick. History has proven that it takes lots of repetition for anything to resonate with you and for Big Brands it can take thousands of exposures over years to really become part of your brainwashing. And that really is what it is. By the way, the #1 winner in the above list is “Just do it” which 58 percent will identify with Nike.

As a general rule, the shorter the slogan, the better. So keep that in mind if you are creating one for you or for your company. Human beings generally have very poor retention and can't recall a 7-digit number if you ask them to repeat it back. At one time we had dozens of phone numbers in our heads, but now they are in our phones. Many of us do not even know our best friend’s and most frequently called numbers! And that is getting worse in this over saturated, over stimulated world we live in.

The take away here is that if you try to play in the Big Leagues it may be more frustrating than not. Some of the slogans that I grew up with and remember as a child I can recall immediately. They will in some cases make you think back to younger days, simpler times or even using that product. Morton Salt says, “When it rains, it pours,” and even though we have no idea what that means we probably visualize that drawing of the young girl under the umbrella. Right? It’s been around for 101 years so it certainly has legs.

There are big marketers out there, the top three that come to mind are Coke, Pepsi and Budweiser. “The King of Beers” for Bud and “It’s the real thing” for Coke, but Pepsi? They’ve never been able to compete in the branding world. Coke changes their slogans on a regular basis and some are iconic and inscribed in the Hall of Fame: “I’d like to buy the world of Coke.” What do you see or hear in your mind? If you survived the 70s you know the answer. Whereas most advertisers stick with a slogan for years, Coke is always changing and has done it yearly in many cases.

Cal State Fullerton Professor Dr. Chiranjeev Kohli has some great material online if you’d like to dig deeper. The conclusion he reached: shorter slogans will have substantially better retentive power and can last over five years longer. His advice is, “Don’t get too creative. Be descriptive and once you have a slogan, stick with it.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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