Biz Features

What Story Does Your Brand Slogan Tell?

by . January 30th, 2015

baby shoes

Photo credit: JD Hancock

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn”

This six-word “novel” was popularly attributed to writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway. The story goes that Hemingway was in a lunch with his writer friends and colleagues when he made a wager that he could write a story in six words.

The challenge was accepted for $10 each, quite sizable during that time. Hemingway wrote the words “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn” and collected his winnings from his silent colleagues.

While it can’t be determined if this anecdote is true, it is a perfect example of saying a lot while saying so little.

 And that’s frigging difficult.

For small businesses, creating a tagline or slogan for your business can be a chore. Sure, naming your business is equally difficult, but the tagline demands you to succinctly describe what is it that you do exactly.

You need to tell a story. In six words or less.

The ability to find the right words in the right voice for your business is no easy feat, and doing it in a consistent way across all facets of your business is required to build an identity.

 You know who absolutely nailed this? It’s this guy:

maxresdefault (1)

“Well, hello ladies.”

Admit it, you read the caption in his voice.

“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was the tagline of an Old Spice campaign that achieved viral status in the internet (and parodies by Sesame Street and Puss In Boots). It’s even harder to think about Old Spice deodorant without associating it with this voice.

The tagline says everything about the brand—it’s value proposition, its voice, and its target (the ladies).

But a tagline is not limited to something functional.

A brand slogan can (and should) also reflect your ideals, your beliefs, and your core values.

One brand comes to mind—Nike and “Just Do It”.

The first “Just Do It” ad

Nike sells shoes. But you don’t see where shoes come in its slogan. That’s because it is not in the shoe-selling business but rather it sells achievement. It sells you the feeling of achievement and success.

“Just Do It” encompasses this feeling and relates to its consumers at an emotional level more than 25 years since it was first used.

25 years. Now that’s consistency.

Crafting a tagline for your business forces you to think.

It forces you to express your brand’s benefit in a concise but powerful way. It might take multiple attempts before you can hit the target (It’s a pain in the butt, I tell you) but take Nike’s advice.

Just do it.

CHECK OUT: This Man Turned His Tragic Accident Into A Video Game Startup

What’s your business’ slogan? Comment below!


Kevin is a reader first, a writer second, and a gamer somewhere in between. When not rooting for Tyrion Lannister for the Iron Throne, he's probably writing some morbid short story. He enjoys some surreal art, clever advertising campaigns, and a warm cup of coffee while reading Murakami.