Expert Advice: Build Your Brand Identity With a Slogan or Tagline

 

What do Apple, Ozzy Osbourne and hundreds of other successful companies and brands all have in common? They use brand slogans to build their identity, and now, so can you!

Slogans provide further information about a brand, communicate an overall philosophy and increase memorability. They can even be used as part of your brand’s logo or to market a specific product or service, such as your own concert tour. Cypress Hill branded its Smoke Out Festival with the slogan, “An all-day mind altering event.” No confusion there.

So let’s take a look at 10 useful tips for creating a slogan that can make a strong and lasting impression on your intended audience. Remember that they don’t have be grammatically correct, just short and sweet. Read on!

1) REFLECT THE IDENTITY THAT YOU WANT TO PROJECT
To better communicate what you do and who you are, be sure to hint at the personality and culture you are trying to project within your slogan. For instance, to emphasize his punk roots and to pay homage to icon Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins used “Search and Destroy” as a slogan to accompany his logo. In fact, Rollins even tattooed the logo on his back and uses it on T-shirts and other merch. The Los Angeles metal indie band Clepto, which has Saudi Arabian roots, uses the slogan, “Thrash Punk Gypsies,” which sums up the band’s sound and spirit.

2) SPEAK TO YOUR AUDIENCE
When creating your slogan, always remember to whom you are trying to appeal. Understanding your most-likely target audience is crucial. Get a sense for their age, gender, education level and income. Also, be sure to look into their activities, interests and opinions, understand behavioral issues and the things that motivate them. Think about the geographical regions in which they are located. The band House of Pain uses the slogan, “Fine Malt Lyrics,” directly in their logo to pay homage to its home city of Boston, and the predominately Irish folks who live there.

3) STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION
Be sure to study your competitors, those who may share a similar audience, and determine what makes you unique. Whatever that strength may be, use it as part of your slogan. Not only is the metal band Manowar listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as “The Loudest Band in the World,” it actually used the phrase in their marketing communications for many years.

4) STRESS THE BENEFITS
Try to focus on creating a slogan that draws attention to benefits that are both important to your target audience and that you can honestly provide. Apple, undoubtedly one of the biggest companies in music, used the slogan, “1,000 songs in your pocket,” to promote its first generation iPod and large storage capacity. Recently, it used, “Any kind of file, on all your devices,” to promote the cloud. Both slogans answer the customer question, “What’s in it for me?”

5) MAKE IT MEMORABLE
If possible, make your slogan rhyme. Big band legend Benny Goodman used the slogan, “The King of Swing,” throughout his entire career, and it was often how he was introduced on radio and television shows. Of course, just be careful not to sound too “sing-songy” or corny.

6) KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE
Limit your slogan to just one or a few simple words. Consider what might look cool, and be adaptable on your products and marketing tools, such as your business cards, websites, email signatures, etc. For instance, Bruce Springsteen has used, “The Boss,” interchangeably with his own name.

7) BE BELIEVABLE
Whatever slogan you use, it can’t be something that your target fans see as being blown out of proportion. Proclaiming yourself “the greatest band on earth” when you’re just starting out is silly. Okay, so jazz legend Jaco Pastorius used, “The Greatest Bass Player in the World,” and the Rolling Stones adopted “The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World,” but they could certainly back it up.

8) OFFER AN EXPLANATION
Use a descriptive tagline that tells people exactly what you are. For instance, the classic rock band ZZ Top uses the tagline, “That lil’ ol’ band from Texas,” all over its website and on other public relations materials. Billy Joel used, “The Piano Man,” in all his publicity and even released a record of the same name.

9) DON’T BE CONFUSING
Remember that the whole point of a slogan or tagline is to enlighten and educate your market about what you do, not to make things even more confusing for them. The four members of the Beatles, whose music was no doubt fabulous, adopted the “The Fab Four” for use in their publicity posters and other media.

10) ASK YOUR MOST-LIKELY FANS
Ask your most-likely fans how they might sum you up in one word or phrase, how they think you’re different and what they feel is most important to them. You could even throw a contest and offer them a prize. You’ll not only form a closer bond with your fans by getting them involved, you just might end up with a really cool slogan or tagline that you can use to help brand your band.

BOBBY BORG is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014). The book is available on the Hal Leonard books website under “Trade Books” Borg’s website is bobbyborg.com.

Bobby Borg