Just do it. Built Ford tough. I’m lovin’ it. Save money, live better. Are you in good hands?
All of these advertising slogans are so recognizable that when you read them, you immediately think of the brand they’re associated with; Nike, Ford, McDonald’s, Walmart, and Allstate Insurance.
There’s a reason why companies go to such incredible lengths to trademark their mottos (which are usually no more than five words long). Why? Because those mottos are just as much a part of the company’s selling appeal as are the logos and the actual content of the company itself.
Whether the business is small, big, or in-between, if they don’t have a motto, then they’re not really in business. A motto (or slogan, catchphrase, adage, maxim, sentiment, etc.) doesn’t tell people exactly the company does. Look at the above examples as a perfect reference. But what a motto does tell people is what the company can deliver: Nike gives you motivation to “just do it,” McDonald’s guarantees that no matter what you order, you’ll love it, and Allstate asks one of advertising history’s biggest rhetorical questions.
What goes into making the perfect motto for a business/project? The perfect word play. Whether incorporating clever rhymes, blunt statements, powerful commands, wise adages, or the age-old rhetorical question, it all means nothing if the proper word play isn’t used.
Imagine if all of history’s famous figures were terrible orators. Or if your favorite celebrity couldn’t string a decent sentence together while making their acceptance speech. Or if this blog post were dreadfully boring and mundane. You wouldn’t be interested in anything they have to say, and you definitely wouldn’t be interested in their campaign, their movie, or the relevance of this post to your growing business.
Word play can make the difference between watching your business grow or watching it go under. Word play can be the difference between a successful political ad and one that tanks. Word play can make a movie a box office success, a book into a New York Times best-seller, a Twitter page gain more followers, a non-profit organization accumulate more investors, and can even turn a failing ad campaign completely around.
The power of words and the message they convey shouldn’t just be delegated to English classrooms. That power should be used to convey a message about what your business can deliver and about what it can offer to potential (satisfied) customers.
That’s what word play is. Use it wisely and it will do you no harm.