It may seem like a trivial thing, but a well-conceived slogan can do great things for your company. For your own team members, a good slogan can be a unifying theme, like a flag the troops rally around in a battle. For those outside your company, your slogan can give your brand a distinctive identity that can set you apart from your competitors.

I was in my car recently and drove past a truck driven for Old Dominion Freight Lines. On the cab of the tractor trailer, I read this slogan—“Helping the World Keep Their Promises.” I thought, “What a brilliant summation of everything that company does!” In just six simple words, everybody who works for OD as well as the rest of the world can understand what the true objective of their business is. In six simple words, the mundane operations of bills of lading, vehicle maintenance, logistical scheduling, etc. become elevated into something noble and highly motivating: “Promises have been made, and I’m invested in seeing to the fulfillment of those promises!”

We all can call to mind the slogans of many consumer brands because they are so tightly connected to the brands. If I were to say, “Just Do It,” like Pavlov’s dogs, you’re going to picture a “swoosh” and the word “Nike.” A lot of investment went into establishing that reaction in the mind of the shoe-buying public, but it has paid off immensely for Nike. Can manufacturing companies similarly benefit by having a well-conceived slogan? I know it can’t hurt if you choose your slogan wisely.

I can think of a few examples of brands whose slogans don’t work so well. Do you know what Google’s present slogan is? It’s “Don’t Be Evil.” That’s a real head scratcher, that one. What in the world does not being evil have to do with the stuff Google produces? And why make it negative? It sounds like a commandment rather than a slogan. At the very least, they could have turned it around to something affirmative like, “Let’s Do Good!”

Another unfortunate slogan for a product I really like is Dippin’ Dots— “The Ice Cream of the Future.” Here’s a product with a funny name competing against a lot of very yummy dessert options, and the slogan focuses attention on the futuristic format of their ice cream. In case you’ve never had it, it’s real ice cream uniquely flash-frozen into BB-sized pellets that retain their form until they melt in your mouth in a very satisfying taste experience. But when I think of “future” foods, I picture astronauts drinking Tang
and other unappetizing fare that comes in a foil pouch, which I would never choose to eat over good old Häagen Dazs! By touting exactly the wrong thing in their slogan, a great product has had a bumpy ride in the marketplace.

How about this one: “Pallets Move the World”? That’s the slogan of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association, proving that an industrial product
(or in this case, association) can benefit from a wellconceived statement to focus those inside and out of the organization what their primary purpose is.

Our Slogan at HUB is “Specializing in YOUR Industry,” which highlights our service to the key niche industries that we have dedicated ourselves to.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite slogans? Share them with me, and I’ll send you a Boss Button!

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