A slogan according to Wikipedia is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious, and any other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose. Slogans are referred differently in various countries for example in the United Kingdom slogans are referred to as straplines, in the US its taglines. The word slogan is credited to a Scottish Gaelic word ‘slogorne’ meaning “battle cry”.
Slogans have been used by numerous companies and their ingenuity have crafted memorable slogans for example Apples- “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Nokia – “Connecting people” Nike- “Just Do It”. Sprite- “Obey your thirst”. However there are several companies whose marketing team has not been effective in creating memorable slogans. Coming up with a one liner phrase that summarizes your organizations core objective can be a daunting task.
In advertising, a successful slogan needs to be memorable, concise, original and support your organization’s vision and mission. A slogan that achieves these objectives will give an organization its brand identity and contribute to the overall brand equity. For example the Nike brand. Successful slogans enhance an organizations brand image, brand recall therefore creating brand differentiation in the customer’s mind. Slogans play the supportive role of explaining what the organization is about because the organization’s brand name and logo are limited. Slogans play a critical role in demystifying a company’s core purpose hence advertising in a subtle way what the company objectives are to its potential and current customers. This identity enhances brand recognition, recall and creates favorable associations for the brand.
A slogan is dynamic in its nature. A company cannot change its brand name without losing its brand identity in the same way; it cannot change its logo completely without experiencing the same challenges. However, a slogan can be changed to represent its evolving philosophy over time. For example Pepsi brand has changed their slogan a dozen times from its original 1902 tagline “Cures nervousness. Relieves exhaustion” in favor of the new 2012 tagline “Change the game”. They also have special slogans designed for their international markets.
Brands are a company’s most valuable corporate asset and therefore it’s important to understand the factors that influence brand perceptions. These value runs to the billions making it crucial for companies to manage their brand carefully. The value of a brand is estimated by its ability to make profits. Brands with high equity enjoy favorable profits because customers prefer their products as opposed to their competitor products. Slogans form these perceptions by influencing a company’s brand image by forming favorable associations that influence a consumer brand knowledge which in turn contributes to the company’s brand equity.
Slogans contribute to an increase or decrease in a company’s market value. Companies that change their slogans to reflect their marketing and advertising strategies are seen as upwardly mobile and fashion their objectives to meet the customer’s needs and preferences. In 1997, Pizza Hut ran commercials challenging people to find better pizza than Pizza Hut. Papa Jon’s pizza took up the challenge and developed a series of commercials featuring Frank Carney, co-founder of Pizza Hut who by the time was Papa Jon’s franchisee. These commercials made specific claims on the superiority of their pizza ingredients and concluded with a slogan “Better ingredients. Better Pizza”. The ads were highly effective because Pizza Jon’s sales output hit the roof while those of Pizza Hut dwindled. Pizza Hut became furious and sued Papa Jon for claiming that their “Better ingredients. Better Pizza” slogan was a false advertising claim.
The courts ruled in favor of Papa Jon. The courts stated that Papa Jon’s slogan was a marketing “puffery” because the word “better” was not quantifiable. See Sacasas, R. The pizza wars. Academy of Marketing science journal, 29(2), (2001): 205-206.
This case clearly points out the power of slogans in an organization’s overall marketing communication strategy.