Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher, had a saying “A picture is worth a thousand of words”.
However, modern science has done a lot of research and made the opposite opinion. Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize Winner for research on decision making in organizations, believed that “Even when you read, you has recorded it as sound to save in your short-term memory”.
An effective brand identity is the first and prerequisite factor to create a strong brand image. The positioning phrase (slogan) is an important element of brand identity system to help brands communicate to consumers.
Nike is well-known not merely because of slogan
There are numerous compliments to Nike’s logo and its pos phrase “Just do it”. However, is Nike’s pos phrase the only factor to make it one of the top globally recognized brand?
For many years, Nike is renowned with its substantial marketing campaigns endorsed by most world popular athletes (Michael Jordan – the American basketball player is a typical success). According to the New York Times, Nike spent $678 million on advertising in 2006 for the U.S market only. Undoubtedly, if global brand like Nike is substantially financial in marketing budget, it is easier for them to knock the door of every single consumer in the world. When Nike brand dominates sport-ware market with massive distribution network & substantial advertising budget, consumers are prone to be shaped by this brand name in their mind.
What happened if “Just do it” did not belong to Nike? Perhaps, “Just do it” would not be so popular and receive such many compliments as today.
For medium and small brands which have limited budget for branding, one of effective way to secure a place in customer mind is to create an impressive slogan.
Slogan: Short is not always an advantage
Most people think that a short slogan will have more advantage than the long one. Obviously, a short slogan will be easier to remember. A short one; however, does not mean that it will be remembered in long term, and more important, it can not ensure to be favorite.
KFC is renowned with its slogan “Finger licking’ good”. After over 50 years, KFC’s slogan is replaced by “So good’. Despite any explanation from KFC, it’s hard for the new slogan to win the customer’s hearts. Although “It’s so good” is very short, shorter than “Finger licking’ good”.
When Abraham Lincoln was asked “How tall should a man be?”, he replied (so the story goes), “Just tall enough that his feet touch the ground”.
The slogan effectiveness does not only depend on the length. More importantly, how its message is meaningful to audience?
Slogan is the expressive tool of brand differentiation
After defining the brand differentiation, slogan is the most effective tool to convey to customers.
Mercedes-Benz took the full advantage of its product prestige by “Engineered like no other car in the world”.
While Volvo, the car of safety, states it benefit in its slogan “For life”.
In Canada, Naked News channel is very popular. The advantage of this channel is that it always publishes honest news and makes full use of their sources. The slogan “The program with nothing to hide” attached with the brand name “Naked News” absolutely demonstrates their brand differentiation.
Slogan should emphasise the brand benefits
“Every time, every where” – MobileFone
“Where the best become better” – Apollo English Centre
“Hoc o day. Graduate everywhere” – Language Link
“Say it your way” – Viettel
“Finger licking’ good” – KFC
“Priceless gift of time” – Thach Bich
“Only soy. Only for you” – Vinasoy
“Bitis – caring your feet” – Bitis
“Melt in your mouth not in your hands” – M&M
That is very true that clients tend to be attracted by brand benefits. On the other hand, their interest in benefits is potentially driven by distinctive features of product they buy. M&M candy’s unique feature (the hard candy shell on the outside helps keep the chocolate inside from melting in hands) is also tantamount to benefits that client will have.
The story of English education center Apollo can be a typical example. Apollo’s positioning phrase “Where the best become better” is very popular among students, even those who do not study at Apollo. More interesting, many has heard and liked this positioning phrase before they learn about Apollo.
Similarly, pos phrases for Vinasoy or Thach Bich mineral water are built on these brands’ unique functional features that their competitors do not have.
When these pos phrases are created in a good rhyme, they touch clients’ emotion. We can see that many of these impressive slogans above are not short, some even are quite long.
In a writing on Advertising Age, Al Ries, the father of brand positioning, claimed that: a slogan should be long enough to emotionally engage with customers.
Nguyễn Đức Sơn
Brand Strategy Director
Richard Moore Associates