Slogans are those words and phrases we use to represent a brand or product. We mostly associate slogans with marketing communications, but recently, internal communicators have been implementing them for employee engagement campaigns.
As an internal communicator, I used to be of the mind that internal slogans were condescending. I assumed that employees would surely see right through them and recognize them for what they are –messages from leaders using a non-financial incentive to work harder. But as we attached slogans to these initiatives, I saw them become effective rallying cries.
One of the keys to engagement is giving employees a sense of fulfilling a grand purpose in the work they do, and slogans can create a term that best encapsulates the potential for making a difference in the lives of the customer or their coworkers.
So let’s talk about what approaches you need to take to create an effective external or internal slogan.
Emphasize the Benefit
Being an econo-phile, I understand the importance of benefits influencing decisions. People make choices based on the benefits to themselves. So whether your audience is internal or external, make sure your slogan emphasizes the benefit to them.
Remember you’re ultimately selling Paris, not the flight to Paris. So what is the ultimate advantage to the reader or viewer in buying the product you’re selling or the program you want to encourage? What’s in it for them? Your ability to stress this advantage will drive their decision to buy or buy in.
Make It Short and Sweet
The best slogans are those that are quick and digestible. If you remember the most iconic slogans in history, they are extremely short. Nike’s “Just Do It” is probably the most recognizable. Three words is short, to the point, and conveys a real sense of the attitude the company wanted to convey to its customers. Even President Obama’s classic slogans “Hope” and “Change” conveyed powerful messages using one word.
The point is that your slogan should make people feel, not think. It should be to the point, and leave no question about the emotion the audience should feel. If your slogan is confusing in its brevity, you’ve failed. Make it short and memorable, but not ambiguous. A slogan that confuses the reader or viewer is a wasted effort.
Have a Rhythm
Some of the most effective slogans are the ones that had a poetic or lyrical quality. When you say them, it’s almost as if you’re reciting an extremely short song or poem.
“Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hands,” and “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There” have a cadence that makes them memorable, even if the listener or reader isn’t the most open to the message. It’s important that when asked if they can recite a slogan, it easily comes to mind.
An internal employee engagement campaign for a health system, for example, might be, “Excellent Care. Every Patient. Every Time.” – a clear, memorable phrase that staff could easily recite.
Keep It Consistent
Whether your slogan is internal or external, consistency is key to brand recognition. It can be harmful to switch up or vary a slogan during a campaign., as your audience can become confused by the message or assume that what they’re reading or listening to belongs to another brand.
GEICO has defied convention by having multiple campaigns simultaneously – the GEICO Gecko, “It’s what you do,” “So simple a caveman can do it,” etc. – but they are definitely the exception to the rule. You want your slogan to stick in a customer’s or employee’s mind, and staying consistently on target goes a long way in achieving this.
Before you officially send your slogan out to the world, get some feedback. Test it. All creative people have a personal relationship with everything they create. And while you might love what you’ve written, others might not see your genius. That’s why it’s important to have a test audience. Tell them your slogan. If your guinea pigs’ reactions are, “What does this mean?” or “This is annoying,” you know you’re on the wrong track.
Ask what they like and don’t like about it, and continue to solicit their input with each update.
By the way, if you ever need a starting point for creating your slogan, in doing some research for this blog post, I found a few online generators that will produce a slogan for you when you enter a keyword or key phrase. Here’s an example. Hey. There’s no shame in seeking a little help when you’re busy or the creative juices aren’t flowing.
How has your experience been in slogan creation? What’s frustrated you and what have you found to be most effective? Let us know in the Comment section below!
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