Function or Style. What’s best for slogans?

I’m grappling with a problem.  A recurring problem…

I’m working with a long-standing client of mine, who runs a growing and ambitious digital consultancy. He wants to refresh the brand to reflect changes in both the market place, and the services that they offer.

His preference is to devise a slogan that is descriptive, accurate and brief.

I agree that it should [always] be brief, but my urge is to craft a caption that is pithy, provoking, and memorable. More “Diamonds are forever” than “Washes whiter”

More “Good food costs less” than “Never beaten on price”…

What do you think? Can we really generalise about which approach is best, or does it depend on all those familiar variables, such as: market, profile, competition, heritage, media context,  etc., etc.?

I don’t think so. I believe in two things that have shaped my view on this.

1. People are smarter than you think. So don’t spell it out for them. Let them “get it” in their own heads, so that they feel more accomplished, smart, informed, and therefore more receptive to your brand. Being too literal also actually discourages the reader from continuing to read, as they’re likely to feel that they already know, all they need to know.

2. Great slogans stand on their own. Like the examples above, a memorable, distinctive and clever slogan is its own self-contained message. It may work better because it plays against what everyone else is saying, but it must have its own truth to really succeed.

The reality – based on experience – is that my client and I will probably reach a compromise. Then it will be down to me to polish the words so that they stand out and sparkle in the market.

And that after all, is what I enjoy most.

As always, test your own writing skills and win a free e-learning course of your choice with our Caption Competition.

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