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Can a Slogan Make You Buy?

By: Ed Roach


First I’m going to pose an exercise, then I want to discuss.

Think of all your favorite purchases over the past year. They can be personal or stuff for your business. Now write down both the items and their slogans. DON’T look them up.
How many slogans did you remember? I’m in the business and I could only think of one. My conclusion from the exercise is that slogans are good for the moment. I believe slogans are inspirational. They embody a brand’s values. When a business starts up, or existing organizations want to update their logos, they almost always dream up a new slogan as well.
Logo and slogan go together like macaroni and cheese.
Related Article: Slogans and Taglines
The sad truth about slogans is that they fail to inspire a purchase* (*in most cases). Take Apple, the largest company in the world. Did you know that “You’re more powerful than you think.” is their latest slogan? 
I had to Google it. Like I said—inspirational. But even a Mac evangelist like myself is going to need more than that to pull a dollar out of their pocket. Like any consumer I need a reason to buy. The provider has to break down my barriers to a sale. To be fair, the slogan is part of an overall strategy in the sales funnel. I do believe it’s healthy to have one; just don’t put the weight of a sale on it alone.
Everybody loves slogans for another reason: they’re fun to come up with. Business owners will embrace a slogan from anyone. Their brilliant family members, their golf buddies, the management team, and of course their graphic designers and advertising agencies. It gives everybody a chance to be creative. It’s like putting a paint brush in the hands of a monkey. The result will be either a masterpiece or a train wreck—the distinction is subjective.
In the hands of a professional the objective will be inspirational and sales motivated, but as I said, “a lot of responsibility for something so limited.”
An alternative to slogans that ABSOLUTELY leads to sales is “brand positioning.” It doesn’t rely of customers having to remember anything. 
Brand positioning relies entirely on resonating with that buyer. It ALWAYS gives a reason for customers to choose that brand as the only choice. Remember when Domino’s Pizza started up? Their positioning “30 minutes or it’s free” nailed the business. Positioning replacing a slogan is very powerful. It may not be as sexy but it gets straight to the point and it speaks to the target getting their attention. Most businesses, it’s safe to say, don’t employ positioning for two reasons.
  1. They’ve never been exposed to the concept. They focus their attentions to running their organization; another problem is they rest the responsibility  for their brand management upon unqualified individuals who get marketing but not branding.
  2. Business owners are fearful of leading. They would rather follow the leader than embrace a bold move that challenges their confidence. 
Frankly, most businesses aren’t up to branding. It’s the perfect battlefield for greater brand leaders. The best positioning strategies come from assistance with branding experts who can challenge you to be great. You can’t get this kind of expertise for a case of beer and a sleeve of balls.
If this is your first exposure to positioning, I encourage you to see if you are up to its challenges. It’s for sure your customers will appreciate the conversation.
Published: July 22, 2015

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Ed Roach

For more than 25 years, Ed Roach has worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiate them from their competition. Ed appreciates working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions, and consults predominantly with businesses facilitating his proprietary process, "Brand Navigator." This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand, delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace. He is the author of "101 Branding Tips," a book of practical advice for your brand that you can use today.

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