Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Can a Catchy Slogan Make You Stand Out?
Some tips for creating a memorable hook for your business that will keep you top of mind with your customers and in your community.
May 1, 2012
Just call him “Scott Geller, the Home Seller.” Real estate professional Scott Geller’s memorable slogan helps keep him top of mind among prospects in his hometown of Jamison, Pa.
Through his Web domain (www.ScottGellerTheHomeSeller.com), business cards, e-mail signature, and all his marketing materials, his slogan is everywhere he is.
“I’ve been introduced by my clients and friends at charity events, weddings, and bar and bat mitzvahs, and when meeting new people as ‘Scott Geller, the Home Seller’ so often and for so long, some probably think it’s my real full name,” says Geller, an agent with RE/MAX Centre, REALTORS®. “This name and occupation awareness has brought me enough repeat and referral business that I do not even need to advertise to the general public.”
Could a catchy slogan do the same for your business? A clever, memorable slogan that you can place after your name or company name offers more of an identity and differentiation. Good slogans are notorious for getting stuck in your head. And when that happens, guess who customers think of when they need a real estate agent?
But just having a catchy slogan for your real estate business will only get you so far. You have to commit to it — incorporate it as a piece into an overall marketing plan in order to start seeing results, says Mike Blaney, “The Marketing Guy,” who assists real estate professionals with all aspects of their marketing, from writing slogans to Web site development.
The 10 Best Slogans From the 20th Century
Ad Age, a trade publication for the advertising industry, ranked what it considers the top slogans from the 20th century. They are:
1. “Diamonds are forever.” (DeBeers)
2. “Just do it.” (Nike)
3. “The pause that refreshes.” (Coca-Cola)
4. “Tastes great, less filling.” (Miller Lite)
5. “We try harder.” (Avis)
6. “Good to the last drop.” (Maxwell House)
7. “Breakfast of champions.” (Wheaties)
8. “Does she ... or doesn’t she?” (Clairol)
9. “When it rains it pours.” (Morton Salt)
10. “Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s)
Source: Advertising Age
Writing a Business Slogan That Sticks
A great slogan can turn customers on to your business; a bad one can turn them off. In fact, a bad slogan risks doing more to harm your business and reputation than having none at all, Blaney says.
For example, if your slogan is too generic, like saying “the No. 1 real estate agent” or “the best salesperson in town,” you risk not differentiating yourself enough and actually turning some customers off who grow tired of hearing “best” and “No. 1” generalities in marketing.
“Subconsciously people will write you off from the impression your slogan creates,” Blaney says. “It is dangerous if yours is too strong or too self-centered. People will base their decision off your slogan when they don’t know you.”
According to brand experts, effective slogans tend to:
▪ Appeal to customers’ emotions.
▪ Show off how your service benefits customers by highlighting your customer service or care.
▪ Be simple (such as 8 words or less) and memorable: Your audience needs to be able to grasp it quickly (e.g., Nike’s “Just Do It”).
▪ Reflect your business’ personality and character.
▪ Be original.
“Anyone reading a slogan is wondering if they should use that company, service, or brand. So the slogan needs to answer that — ‘what’s in it for me?’” Blaney says.
Good, Bad Examples of Slogans
To get at the qualities of a good slogan, consider some of these examples from Blaney:
Slogan Example 1: “An agent you can trust”
Problem:The slogan reflects a trait that every REALTOR® should have — honesty and integrity. It’s generic and doesn’t do enough to differentiate the agent’s business.
Blaney’s revised slogan:“Anyone can sell your home. I can sell it for more.”
Slogan Example 2: “Always putting your best interests first!”
Problem:The slogan fails to appeal enough to the customers’ emotions and demonstrate that you truly understand their needs.
Blaney’s revised slogan:“Helping families make the right move.”
Slogan Example 3: “Call me for your real estate needs.”
Problem:The slogan is vague and doesn’t target a specific audience.
Blaney’s revised slogan:“Take the worry out of condo buying. Call the specialist.”
See more examples of good and bad slogan writing at Blaney’s blog.
Types of Slogans
Need more inspiration? Here’s how some real estate professionals have come up with slogans for their business.
1. Target geographically: Geographic slogans make sense, particularly nowadays as Google searches become more local. Something as simple as “Your West Seattle Specialist” can define you locally and help you in your search engine results, Blaney says. It’s simple but effective. (Just make sure it’s not already taken!).
2. Try a rhyme: Persuasion research has actually shown people can perceive statements that rhyme as more accurate than those that don’t. Rhyming slogans can be some of the most memorable and catchy ones, but you don’t want to force it either. Make sure it reflects you and your brand. As a starting off point: Do you happen to have a last name or first name that can make an easy real estate-related rhyme (such as “Scott Gellar, the Home Seller”)?
3. Paint a picture: Can you come up with a slogan that evokes an image? For instance, Blaney cites the example “Solving the puzzle of selling your home.” The slogan helps to paint a visual image that can then be used throughout the agent’s marketing, in using the puzzle analogy of a real estate professional helping to put together the pieces for a client.
4. Find inspiration: Is there a quote that inspires you? A well-known play or musical? For example, Hello Dolly Real Estate in Highland, N.Y., used the famous musical “Hello Dolly!” as the inspiration for their slogan: “The Real Estate Matchmakers.” Larry Bunch with United Country Blue Ribbon, REALTORS® in Waxhaw, N.C., was inspired by a quote he heard from Ray Kroc, the brains behind the McDonalds empire. Kroc once said, “Selling hamburgers is not my real business. My real business is real estate.” Bunch used the quote as inspiration and made his slogan: “I sell real estate, but my business is people.”
5. Go for emotional appeal: Appealing to your customer’s emotions can make effective slogans. Blaney once wrote a slogan for a buyer’s agent that said, “Because it’s more than just a roof over your head.” The slogan demonstrated that the agent realized this is a big investment for the home buyer and isn’t just another transaction.
Still struggling to come up with a slogan of your own? Advertising and marketing experts do this for a living, and can help. It doesn’t have to a cost a fortune either. (Blaney charges his real estate customers $199 per slogan.) Several companies offer this service and can not only write one for you but also show you how to incorporate it into your overall marketing plan.
Once you have a memorable slogan, you’re only a fraction of the way to getting it to work for you. You need to promote it: Have it on your Web site, brochures, business card, e-mail signature line — everywhere.
“People think a slogan will somehow change their fortunes and improve their sales. If you don’t have any marketing program, it’s not going to help much, because you have no way to convey that slogan,” Blaney says. “A slogan is static and just read. You have to embody it. When used properly with all your marketing materials, a slogan can help define you, and it can work for you and be a fabulous investment.”