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Does Every Startup Need a Slogan?

You’ve got a great name for your startup. What’s next? Before you design your logo, website and other marketing materials, it’s time to create a company slogan or tagline. Like Apple’s “Think Different” or Nike’s “Just Do It,” a great slogan inspires, motivates, informs and persuades. So how do you come up with the right one for your company?

“Having a great slogan is absolutely critical,” says Rich Davis, founder of Slogan Slingers, a crowdsourcing site for slogans and taglines. “In some ways I think it’s even more important than a logo, because everyone has a logo. Not every [new] business is savvy enough to leverage a really smart slogan.”

A good slogan can help you stand out from your competition. “If you have a slogan that conveys a simple, powerful message while your competition just has a logo, you have the advantage in standing out and winning over your target audience,” claims Davis. The right slogan can change how you’re perceived both externally and internally, he adds, citing the “Think Different” campaign as an example. “It represented the cornerstone of Apple’s entire brand. It was their philosophy in two words. It guided every product they developed and every decision they made.”

What Makes a Good Startup Slogan?

Good slogans are not always obvious. “Research shows that cookie-cutter slogans have no impact,” says Davis. “They’re quickly forgotten, and basically convey a general lack of passion within the organization. It’s the opposite of branding. If you care about your image, it’s worth investing the time in getting a slogan that stands out. If your slogan isn’t elevating your brand, you’re making a mistake by using it.”

So what makes a good slogan or tagline? Davis says it must have some basis in emotion. “Good slogans get you to feel something about a brand or even about yourself that you didn’t before.” The slogan can also tout a key benefit in a memorable way. “The Energizer Bunny campaign and their catchphrase, ‘It keeps going and going and going…’ is great example of this.”

In today’s Web-oriented world, do you need to worry about SEO or keywords when creating your slogan? “Taglines really do not impact SEO in any tangible way, unless sites continually link to you with your chosen tagline,” says Ben Fisher, the Social Media Marketing Dude. “One benefit to a keyword-rich tagline would be if the line was in plain text under the logo and displays as part of the site description.”

“You have website headlines, metadata, blogs and back links for SEO,” Davis agrees. “Your slogan should transcend all that.

Davis warns that there are no set rules for slogan success. “Like a hit song, blockbuster movie or any creative product, there’s no specific formula for producing a timeless slogan. A lot of times on our site, a contest holder will see a slogan entry that is nothing like what they were originally envisioning but they instantly realize they’ve found ‘the one,’” says Davis. “That’s the magic of the creative process. There are basic elements a great slogan should possess, but the rest comes down to the writer’s imagination.”

Can Crowdsourcing Help?

Davis owned an ad agency before starting Slogan Slingers late in 2010 when crowdsourcing entered the marketing fray. “I thought, ‘Oh man. If someone ever uses crowdsourcing to generate slogans, that will totally kill an entire service category of my business.’ So I said to myself, it might as well be me.”

Slogan Slingers lets companies look for feedback and ideas about their slogans by putting the project out to thousands of professional writers. Companies choose a set price and provide as much information as they want on the type of slogan they need and for what purpose. Once the slogans start coming in, the business can give feedback to fine tune the pitch.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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