Slogans That Stick: How to Write Catchphrases That Resonate

Lily Parker

Creating a memorable slogan is both a science and an art. The best slogans become ingrained in the public consciousness, defining brands and resonating with audiences long after they were first introduced.

But what makes a slogan stick?

This article explores the key components of successful catchphrases, offering practical tips and examples to help you craft slogans that leave a lasting impact.

The Anatomy of a Memorable Slogan

Brevity and Clarity

The most effective slogans are succinct and to the point. In a world where consumers are bombarded with information, simplicity is key. A short, clear message is easier to remember and more likely to be repeated.

Example: Nike’s “Just Do It”

Nike’s iconic slogan “Just Do It” consists of only three words, yet it encapsulates the brand’s ethos of determination and action. The brevity of the phrase makes it easy to remember and repeat, solidifying its place in popular culture.

Emotional Appeal

A slogan that evokes an emotional response is more likely to resonate with audiences. Whether it’s humor, nostalgia, or inspiration, tapping into emotions can create a strong connection between the brand and the consumer.

Example: Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness”

Coca-Cola’s slogan “Open Happiness” does more than just promote a product; it evokes a feeling. The phrase suggests that opening a bottle of Coca-Cola brings joy and satisfaction, aligning the brand with positive emotions.

Relevance and Authenticity

A slogan should reflect the brand’s core message and values. Authenticity is crucial; a slogan that feels forced or inauthentic will fail to connect with audiences.

Example: Apple’s “Think Different”

Apple’s “Think Different” slogan resonates because it aligns perfectly with the brand’s identity as an innovator and disruptor in the tech industry. The slogan is authentic to Apple’s mission and appeals to creative and forward-thinking individuals.

Linguistic Devices That Enhance Recall

Alliteration and Rhyme

Alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds) and rhyme are powerful tools in making a slogan memorable. These linguistic devices create a pleasing rhythm and make phrases easier to recall.

Example: M&M’s “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”

The rhyme in M&M’s slogan helps it stick in the mind. The catchy phrase emphasizes the product’s unique selling proposition in a memorable way.

Wordplay and Puns

Wordplay and puns can make a slogan more engaging and memorable by adding an element of surprise or humor.

Example: Lay’s “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”

Lay’s playful slogan uses a challenge and a bit of humor to highlight the irresistible nature of their chips. The wordplay makes the slogan fun and memorable.

Crafting a Catchphrase: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Define Your Core Message

Before writing your slogan, clearly define the core message you want to convey. What is the essence of your brand? What do you want consumers to feel or think when they hear your slogan?

Example Exercise: For a fitness brand, the core message might be about empowerment and achieving personal bests.

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Understand your target audience’s values, preferences, and pain points. A slogan that resonates with one demographic might fall flat with another.

Example Exercise: If your audience is primarily young professionals, focus on themes of ambition and efficiency.

Step 3: Brainstorm Keywords and Phrases

List out keywords and phrases related to your brand and core message. Think about the emotions and attributes you want to highlight.

Example Exercise: For the fitness brand, keywords might include strength, energy, health, and confidence.

Step 4: Play with Linguistic Devices

Experiment with alliteration, rhyme, and wordplay. Don’t be afraid to be creative; sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected combinations of words.

Example Exercise: The fitness brand might consider slogans like “Strength in Every Step” or “Power Your Potential.”

Step 5: Test and Refine

Test your slogan with a sample of your target audience. Gather feedback and refine the slogan to ensure it resonates and is clear.

Example Exercise: Share a few slogan options with a focus group and ask for their impressions and preferences.

Real-World Examples and Insights

Successful Slogans and Their Impact

“I’m Lovin’ It” – McDonald’s

McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” is a prime example of a slogan that resonates globally. The phrase is simple, positive, and directly associates the act of eating McDonald’s with pleasure and satisfaction. Its catchy jingle also contributes to its memorability.

“The Quicker Picker Upper” – Bounty

Bounty’s slogan effectively uses rhyme and alliteration, making it easy to remember. It clearly communicates the product’s key benefit—quick and efficient cleaning.

Case Study: Failure to Connect

Not all slogans achieve their intended impact. For instance, Pepsi’s “Live for Now” campaign faced criticism and backlash for being tone-deaf during a politically charged advertisement. This highlights the importance of understanding cultural context and audience sentiment.

Wrap Up

A great slogan does more than just promote a product; it encapsulates the brand’s identity and connects with consumers on an emotional level.

By understanding the principles of brevity, emotional appeal, relevance, and using linguistic devices effectively, you can craft a catchphrase that truly resonates.

Remember, the journey to creating a memorable slogan involves not just creativity, but also a deep understanding of your audience and core message.