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Tips for Building Your Motto

6 mins read

This article covers 3 tips on building a motto for your company:

  • Make It Timeless
  • Consider Your Audience
  • Make It Catchy

What makes a business memorable? If you were to think of your favourite companies and brands, there are many different things that may pop in your mind that you associate with them. For some companies you may picture an image or a colour, while others you may picture the products or services you interact with. For some of the strongest brands it is a phrase that will pop into your mind; this memorable phrase is usually their motto – read our article Mottos: What They Are and Are Not. Here are 3 tips on building your motto:

1. Make It Timeless

While most businesses are constantly having to adapt and change with the times, when working on your motto it is essential to consider its longevity. Considering your business motto is one of the main aspects that people will associate with your brand, it is something you will want to stick with and keep consistent as long as you’re in business. As this is a part of marketing that has a very long and usually unknown time horizon, it is extremely important that the phrase chosen is one that can pass the test of time. We recommend staying away from references of technology as it is a fast-changing industry, as well as phrases such as “the only,” “the best,” and “the number 1.”

A great example of this is Verizon Wireless’ slogan “Can You Hear Me Now.” They had a great run with this; however, it was only a matter of time before technology advanced and almost all phone calls had clear sound. Rolaids shows how a slogan can pass the test of time with their motto that originally came out in the 70’s “How Do You Spell Relief.”

2. Consider Your Audience

Your slogan shouldn’t be confusing or create mystery as to what you are trying to say to your audience. People should be able to understand what you are saying in your motto, and confusion can leave them feeling like they don’t understand which can be enough to deter them from wanting to know more about your brand. Consider that your audience wants to know what they can expect from your business, and your motto is one of the tools that can deliver the message of what to expect.

You should also consider the scope of your audience in terms of location. Are you targeting people in a specific region, country, or all over the globe? If you are promoting your brand in international markets, ensure that your motto is properly translated in all languages you will be promoting in. An example of this is KFC’s slogan “Finger-lickin’ good”, which translated to “Eat your fingers off” in the Chinese market. A catchy motto quickly became a much less appetizing phrase!

3. Make It Catchy

The most memorable mottos are catchy from the first time we hear them! We remember the best mottos after only hearing them once or twice, and sometimes just can’t get that line out of our heads. A motto with a rhythm or rhyme is always a good idea, as this usually becomes instantly recognizable and is easily memorized. While trying to make your motto catchy and easy to remember, it is also important you don’t go overboard with praising your company or your brand. The best way to grasp people’s attention is to keep it short and simple.

Using small words that are easy to understand is another way to create a catchy motto. To have a catchy motto that is easily remembered you need to keep it simple and easy to understand, as you don’t want your audience to have to stop and think about the meaning. If people are confused and need to consider what your motto is trying to say, they will most likely lose interest and can be deterred due to their lack of understanding.

Here are some examples of catchy mottos:

    • Dollar Shave Club: “Shave Time. Shave Money.”
    • Bounty: “The Quicker Picker-Upper”

Is Your Motto Memorable?

Following the above 3 tips will help you to be well on your way to creating a catchy and memorable motto. Just remember that a successful motto should be able to pass the test of time, resonate with your audience, and be catchy enough to stick in people’s memory. If you have yet to create a motto for your company, we hope that this article has provided you some valuable insight into what goals your motto should accomplish. If your company already has a motto, then we challenge you to ask the following question: “Is our company’s motto memorable?”

Download this resource article Tips for Building Your Motto (pdf).

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