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HARDWICK: Creating effective slogans, mottos and taglines

What’s in a name? Or what’s in a slogan, motto or tagline?

The answer is that it is quite a lot if the goal is to increase sales or make the organization more memorable. Slogans and mottos serve to immediately describe an organization without having to go to the “About Us” or “Mission Statement” section of a website. For example, Marketing Alliance could mean many things, but when its slogan, “dedicated to economic development marketing” appears next to its name, then it is very clear what the company does.

A slogan is defined as “a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising,” while a motto is defined as “a short sentence encapsulating… the beliefs or ideals” of a person or organization. For our purposes, the definitions are used interchangeably. And for those who do not think that creating the perfect slogan is difficult just watch a few episodes of AMC’s Mad Men.

team-3One way to judge an effective slogan is to listen to see how often it is used in everyday conversation. For example, “Can you hear me now?” and “Just do it” are corporate slogans that have become part of the language culture. Of course, the best way for a business to judge a slogan is whether it helped to increase the company’s sales. One corporate executive received a call from the company’s advertising agency announcing that the newly-created slogan had just won a contest for “Best New Slogan.” Having seen no increase in sales, the executive commented that the slogan brought more recognition to the advertising agency than to his company.

By their very name, many associations have no need to create a slogan or motto. Just by seeing the name, one knows what the association does or what it stands for. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to add a tagline or slogan. For example, the Animal Rescue League name clearly identifies the purpose of the organization, but adding “Help us come to their rescue” brings in an urge to get involved.

Many associations add a tagline stating that the organization is “The Voice” for a particular activity or effort. Here are a few such examples of associations in Mississippi:

» “The voice of conservation in Mississippi” — Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts

» “The unified voice of Mississippi’s Electric Cooperatives” — Electric Power Associations of Mississippi

» “The voice of industry in Mississippi” — Mississippi Manufacturers Association

» “The voice of small business” — National Federal of Independent Business

Readers are now invited to take a short quiz to see how familiar they are with slogans and mottos from a variety of Mississippi organizations. Answers appear at the end of the column.

Below is a list of five associations in Mississippi, followed by their five slogans or mottos. Match the association with the motto.

1. Mississippi Association of School Superintendents

2. Mississippi High School Activities Association

3. Mississippi Hospital Association

4. Mississippi Poultry Association

5. Mississippi Realtors Association

• • •

a. “We’re here to serve our schools.”

b. “Property Professionals — Community Champions”

c. “The Voice of Education in Mississippi”

d. “Serving those who serve us all”

e. “Growing Mississippi’s Economy Since 1937”

Restaurants often add a slogan or motto to their names. Sometimes they describe the restaurant, its history or its food. Match the following restaurants and their slogans/ taglines:

1. Blue Canoe, Tupelo

2. High Noon Cafe, Jackson 3. Mary Mahoney’s, Biloxi 4. Table 100, Flowood

5. Weidmann’s, Meridian

• • •

a. “A casual Euro-American Bistro”

b. “Old French House”

c. “Good Mood Food”

d. “All organic, all vegetarian, all the time” e. “Since 1870”

Now we explore the area of arts and entertainment in Mississippi. Again, match the place with its slogan.

1. Beauvoir, Biloxi

2. Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum

3. Old Capitol Museum, Jackson

4. Pearl River Resort, Choctaw

5. Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs 6. Rowan Oak, Oxford

• • •

a. “History happened here”

b. Celebrating Man’s Harmony With Nature”

c. “… at historic Soule’ Steam Feed Works”

d. “Vegas with sweet tea”

e. “Home of William Faulkner”

f. “The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library”


Associations: 1-c, 2-a, 3-d, 4-e, 5-b

Restaurants: 1-c, 2-d, 3-b, 4-a, 5-e

Arts and Entertainment: 1-f, 2-c, 3-a, 4-d, 5-b, 6-e

Phil Hardwick is coordinator of capacity development at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government. Pease contact Hardwick at phil@philhardwick.com.


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