My wife thinks I'm strange. I won't go into all the reasons for this, but one of them is that I'm constantly looking up words in the dictionary and thesaurus. The other day I looked up the word “slogan". What I found fascinated me.
We all know what a slogan is. Too often it's a bland and meaningless piece of self-serving verbiage we see on signs, letterhead, business cards, billboard and everywhere else companies paint their marketing messages. In my experience, most slogans are worthless as a way to deliver a useful marketing message. Because they usually say nothing.
Or worse, they often give a meaning the author didn't intend but the reader finds funny, in an unflattering way.
For example, I live in Minnesota. Our nice neighbor to the south is Iowa. For a while, their big “welcome to our state" signs had a happy smiley face picture and this text:
"Iowa. You make me smile. "
Okay, this seems fine. Until people start tweaking it so it reads:
"Iowa. You make me laugh. "
(I think a Minnesotan came up with that. )
James Wysong, of TravelComment.com provides us with some entertaining travel-related slogans that don't do their makers proud:
"In Washington Dulles one airport hotel sports the slogan, “Wave to the plane. " Somehow it makes me think I am going to hear and feel the plane all night long as well. "
and. . .
"In Chicago, there is another airport hotel with the slogan, “So close to the airport, it's like sleeping on the runway. " And this is a good thing?"
It's no surprise to most of us that lame and misguided slogans abound. But what I found in the dictionary got my attention. Here's how it describes the word “slogan":
"A war cry or gathering cry, as formerly used among the Scottish clans. "
Now that's more like it! There's a great example of the power words can have. Just imagine a slogan so clear and strong that it can motivate, focus and energize a band of warriors going into battle. Back then, slogans saved lives, even entire villages!
What would those fierce Scottish warriors think of today's weak and wimpy slogans? “Castrol makes it work better" doesn't quite have the impact I'd want as I launched into battle against my sworn enemies.
Maybe I'm taking this personally because those Scottish warriors could have been my ancestors. (I have Logan blood in my veins. )
Or, maybe we should all take our slogans as seriously as my Scottish forebears did. Maybe we should view them in the same light, as something to rally around. If we did, I'll bet we'd have a lot more powerful and memorable slogans all around us. Companies would have one more useful weapon in their marketing arsenals.
As you think of how to promote your company or brand, remember the Scottish warriors. Craft your slogan with the same care and purpose, as if it were to lead you into battle. Make it work for you rather than against you. Make it worthwhile. Make it so powerful people can't help but remember it.
That's what a slogan should be!
More customers! More revenue! More profits!
That's what Kevin Stirtz helps companies create. Kevin is a business growth expert who helps people improve their companies. He has developed a unique program called “Build a Better Business" that does just that. It helps you build a better business, on your terms and according to your goals.
Get a free copy of Kevin's latest book, “Marketing for Smart People" by going to his website at: http://www.StirtzGroup.com
You can call Kevin directly at 952-212-4681.