How to Create Catchy Slogans

by Alex Cosper; Updated September 26, 2017
brainstorming and taking notes

Catchy slogans come from a combination of focused market research and playful imagination. One without the other may not produce an effective marketing campaign but the combination can be extremely powerful. You will need to craft a clear concise message that summarizes your purpose and leaves no room for doubt. Beyond market research all you need is imagination and perhaps a creative team for brainstorming. Slogans are most effective when they reach a common ground with a mass audience.

Items you will need

  • Marketing guide
  • Dictionary
  • Paper
  • Pen

Marketing Principles

Step 1

Review basic marketing fundamentals to help put a plan into perspective. Successful slogans cleverly depict where an idea, entity or movement fits in a market or community, which is why slogans are also called "positioning statements" based on "unique selling proposition." Another name for slogan is "tagline." One of the most important underlying concepts of marketing is to invent a category in which you can own leadership. The idea is to stand out in a crowd of rivals, not blend in. Ultimately, winning slogans create desired perceptions that trigger word of mouth reaction.

Step 2

Make a list of key words that best describe what you want to promote. Create three separate columns for verbs, adjectives and nouns. Fill each column with as many words as possible, weak or strong, since you will be editing the list anyway. If you want to create a slogan about an event like a carnival, include all the images that instantly come to mind such as clowns, candy, rides, shows and children. Brainstorm with other people unless you are working solo and write down every possible idea.

Step 3

Use a dictionary to find synonyms and related concepts to expand the lists as much as possible. The word circus, for example, may not have many synonyms but it has many related words such as carnival, fair, park and sideshow. Looking up any of those words in the dictionary will lead to other words. It's not necessary to have the most up-to-date or thorough dictionary even though meanings evolve over time. People will assign their own meanings to whatever words you choose. Careful choice of universally understood words can help direct those perceptions.

Step 4

Make a copy of your rough draft of lists for future reference, and then begin crossing out the weakest words that you know won't work. Narrow down the lists to just the strongest words that communicate relevance and compelling persuasion. Eliminate confusion by deleting words that are not commonly understood by your audience. In order for the slogan to be appreciated by the widest possible audience, cross out any other words that may have too many connotations, which can blur the intent of the message.

Step 5

Experiment with the remaining words by creating short phrases that sound and look desirable. Be as unique and original as possible. You want to own your slogan because you don't want your target market to confuse your message with some other campaign. Once you have words that paint essential pictures, add in conjunctions or connecting words that produce a sensible message. Then test the slogan with friends and followers to gauge the reaction. Rework the slogan until feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

Warnings

  • Do not use trademarked content from other companies, to steer clear of possible infringement lawsuits.

Resources

About the Author

I've been a radio personality in San Francisco, Sacramento and Milwaukee and a web developer of several sites. My latest site, SacTV.com, is a virtual tour of Sacramento that helps travelers learn about the city quickly with videos. Another site, PlaylistReseach.com is like an encyclopedia of playlists based on themes, genres, eras and other categories. I have a successful track record as an effective content developer.

Photo Credits

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