The 5 qualities
of a good slogan
Sluagh-ghairm. No, this isn’t the name of a piece of furniture from a Swedish store chain, but the Gaelic term translated as “battle cry” or “catchphrase”. It probably doesn’t sound familiar – unless you are proficient in Gaelic – yet it gave rise to a well-known word in English: slogan. Used by academies, companies, politicians…Slogans are found everywhere, especially in the scientific and technical world. What makes a good slogan? How do you create one? Agent Majeur reveals 5 essential characteristics to find a good slogan.
A good slogan sends a message
A slogan, is above all a piece of communication. Like any other communication piece, it must therefore send a message. What ideas do you want to highlight with this slogan? Before you begin writing it, take the time to answer this question. You should also ask yourself what type of slogan you wish to create. Indeed, the way in which you send your message will change depending on your objective, on whether you want to play with sounds or emphasize your values, for example. The five main types of slogans are listed below. The same slogan can of course fit into several of these categories.
- Characterise the company
The slogan highlights a distinctive feature of your company to emphasise what makes it different from others.
- Show benefits to the target audience
The slogan focuses on what you can do for your audience and how you can meet their specific needs.
- Include a double meaning
The slogan has several meanings or levels of interpretation, it will allow the audience to associate it with several ideas at the same time.
- Express an order
The slogan’s objective is to get the audience to react by giving them a directive which will stick in their mind.
- Use the sounds of words
The slogan will play with similar sounds and will have a nice ring to it, this will make it attractive and easy to remember.
A good slogan is simple
The key to making a slogan successful is to keep it simple. It must be understood at a glance. But be careful, a simple slogan does not mean a simplistic slogan, quite the contrary. It only means that is must be easy to pronounce, to memorise and to understand. Rid yourself of lengthy slogans with a vocabulary unsuitable for your target audience. Try to keep it short and sweet.
A good slogan sounds good
Sounds also play an important part in slogans. Indeed, these help to build a catchy slogan. When you write, think of rhythm, rhymes, assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) and alliterations (repetition of consonant sounds) to add style to your message. Some online tools can help you, such as rhyme dictionaries, thesauruses and lexical field dictionaries. Puns are also welcome. They add a touch of humour to your slogan. However, you should be careful not to make a joke that is out of sync with your target audience.
A good slogan is unique
Much like a good logo, a good slogan is unique. Your slogan must be unlike any other. It can be alike in structure, but each word must differ from the model. After all the time and effort put into creating your slogan, it would be a shame if it was confused with that of a competitor.
Bonus: a good slogan is given as an example
To illustrate our tips, here are two examples of slogans created by Agent Majeur. The first was created for Orphanet, a digital portal with open-access information on rare diseases. The second was designed for Liser, a research institute in social and economic sciences.
For Orphanet, the objective was to showcase their dissemination of knowledge on rare diseases. The slogan we created is: “Know the rare for better care”. It uses the sounds of words (the rhyme between “rare” and “care”), it characterizes the company (knowledge sharing) and shows its objective (to help people with rare diseases find better care).
For Liser, the objective was to emphasise how they contribute to advances in science, support public policies and provide information on society. The slogan we found is: “Science enlightening society”. It relies on the sounds of words (the alliteration between the “s” sounds), it highlights the benefits for the intended audience (emphasized by using a verb), and takes advantage of a double meaning (“enlightening” in this case stems both from the fact that they enlighten political decision-making thanks to scientific knowledge, and light up society by making it more equal).
It is not because it is short that a slogan is easy to write. On the contrary, a good slogan must say a lot of things in just a few words. It must send a message, be simple and pleasant to hear while remaining unique. Also keep in mind that each word matters and do not forget to think about polysemous words (terms with multiple meanings). In short, a successful slogan has a strong impact on your target audience and is instantly recognizable.
You now have all the different elements you need to create your ideal slogan. Beannachd leat! Yes, this is another sentence in Gaelic. But this time, it is to wish you the best of luck before you begin creating your battle cry!
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