Slogan, tagline, vision, mission – whatever you call it, it’s still something that defines what your brand is and what it stands for. Those four words mean different things, but they have something in common: they tell a story. And a brand slogan is probably the most important of them all. In this article, we take a look at 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Slogan Can Go Wrong.
Why Your Brand Slogan Is Important
Your brand’s slogan is something that tells everyone why your brand exists, why it is special, and why people should choose it. Those three why’s are the three key elements of every slogan and should guide you in choosing your own.
Unlike mission or vision statements, slogans can be both short and long depending on your business and what kind of message you want to convey. Of course, the shorter it is, the better, but the crucial characteristic of every great slogan is its memorability.
Your slogan is what defines your brand’s personality. It gives your company a voice and an individuality that consumers can connect with. It also has to be complete and promote a sense of reliability, so adding words with a negative meaning is not a good choice.
According to the Journal of Business Research, the three key components of a great slogan are clarity of message, creativity, and familiarity with the brand. Moreover, the study also found that the frequency with which people are exposed to a slogan is not related to the overall opinion of the brand that this slogan belongs to.
So how can your brand slogan go wrong and why do brand slogans fail at all? Here are the top 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Slogan Can Go Wrong:
Poor wording is something that not many popular slogans suffer from, but it still remains an issue. If your slogan uses inappropriate words, it may be quite offensive to some people. Likewise, using phrases that have an unclear or double-meaning can also significantly reduce the effectiveness and appeal of your slogan.
Take the example of Dr. Pepper, for instance. For their Dr. Pepper Ten, the company launched its new slogan “It’s not for women” in 2011. That definitely sounds sexist no matter how you try to interpret it.
It not only assumes that men don’t like diet drinks but also that only women do and that they aren’t allowed to buy Dr. Pepper Ten. And that’s not all! To make things worse, a macho man in an ad told women to “keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks.” Perhaps, everyone working at Dr. Pepper suddenly didn’t want to work there if they rolled with this…
I mentioned above that a slogan can be either long or short, but that doesn’t mean that it should belong. Some slogans do work no matter how many words they have, but most of the time it’s better to stick to shorter, catchier phrase that anyone can remember after the first or second time of hearing it.
Carl’s Jr.’s example illustrates it perfectly. “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face,” was the slogan they used and it was pretty weird. Along with being way too long, it also had quite negative implications to it.
First, you would think that it’s very unhealthy. Second, it had sexual, unsanitary, and ungraceful implications all at once. It probably didn’t do Carl’s Jr. any good.
You probably already know about the perils of bad translation as not only brand slogans suffer from it. Some words can mean completely different things in other languages while translators themselves can be the cause of the problem. This is why hiring a professional from an online translation service such as The Word Point is essential for getting a good translation.
For instance, this happened to Pepsi when they launched in China with their slogan “Come alive with Pepsi.” This literally got translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.” That was probably a very awkward situation to be in.
As mentioned above, your slogan must have a clear message that answers the three why’s of your brand. If it is too vague, nobody will pay attention to it. Similarly, your brand slogan has to be completed in order for your audience to understand what it is trying to say.
A great example of this mistake is Under Armour’s “I Will.” The campaign with this slogan was launched back in 2013 and was their biggest. They had stars from the world of sports such as the tennis player Sloane Stephens and boxer Canelo Alvarez promoting their brand, but that obviously wasn’t enough.
The slogan didn’t make much of an impact for one big reason: it was too vague. What is the story behind “I Will”? What will you be doing? Nobody knows. Besides, it was compared to Nike’s “Just Do It”, but unlike the latter, “I Will” doesn’t have that call to action combined with simplicity.
Perhaps the biggest mistake you could make is having no authenticity. Your slogan is meant to showcase your brand’s personality and originality, so if you don’t make it authentic, it simply won’t work. Always remember to be creative with your brand slogan to make it successful.
Long John Silver’s “We Speak Fish” didn’t make it for this exact reason. The slogan and new logo were launched in 2011 and meant to attract attention to the chain of seafood restaurants to prepare it for Lent, its busiest time of the year.
The slogan wasn’t memorable enough or catchy for that matter. In fact, most people probably thought of Aquaman when they heard it. This association was one of the reasons why it didn’t work so well and could have been much better if only the company tried to be more creative.
In conclusion, as long as you don’t make these mistakes, your brand slogan should be perfectly fine. Learn from the mistakes of others in order not to make them yourself. We hope this article about 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Slogan Can Go Wrong has been helpful and be sure to tell us what are your favorite brand slogans and why? Tell us in the comments!
Margery Soliz is a passionate writer and blogger who is trying to spend her time in the most effective and creative way. Margery enjoys learning foreign languages, traveling all over the world and gaining experience from these adventures.
Also published on Medium.