How many of the following popular corporate slogans can you match to their company?
- Just do it.
- Impossible is nothing.
- Think different.
- Lead by technology.
- The ultimate driving machine.
- Probably the best lager in the world.
- It’s the real thing.
- Because you’re worth it.
- The best or nothing.
- Believe in better.
- First never follows.
Ok, some of them easy. Some are tough. In order, it’s (1) Nike, (2) Adidas, (3) Apple, (4) Audi, (5) BMW, (6) Carlsberg, (7) Coca-Cola, (8) L’Oréal, (9) Mercedes Benz, (10) Sky, and (11) Adidas again. How many did you get right?
What do all of these slogans have in common? The answer is that they’re all essentially saying the exact same thing. No, really. And there is a psychological reason behind it too, which is what makes it so effective. Let’s take a closer look.
The psychology behind popular corporate slogans
Dale Carnegie, the famed author of How to Win Friends and Influence People said, “People want to feel important.”
I’m going to say that again, because it’s really, erm, important: People want to feel important.
Such a simple, seemingly innocuous statement at first, but it goes right to the heart of marketing. Right to the heart of human behaviour.
Apple tells us that if you buy their products you will be different to everyone else – you will mark yourself out as superior simply by using a Mac or an iPhone. These products give you an edge, Apple says. Apple do things “different” (sic) and by association so do you.
Adidas told us that impossible is nothing. The message: if you buy our product, you can do anything. Nothing can hold you back. You will be important.
Now they’re telling us that “first never follows.” The message? Put on some Adidas trainers and you’ll be leading, you’ll be different. You’ll be important (never mind the fact that millions of others will be doing the exact same thing – ditto this for virtually all the massive brands, of course).
Audi and BMW say the exact same thing with different words. They use the words “Leading” and “Ultimate”, respectively. The message? Buy our cars because they’re the best on the market. Our car is the leader. It’s the ultimate! You want to be a leader, right? Buy our car then.
Then another German car manufacturer, Mercedes Benz, come in with their own slogan, which by the looks of it, took all of all five minutes to come up with – “The best or nothing.” Again, basically the same message.
Why are they so similar? The simple answer is because this common message works.
BMW, Audi and Mercedes have built great cars. But their advertising slogans have surely helped them shift more units in sales.
No self-respecting beer drinker would say that Carlsberg is the best lager in the world, and it’s surely tongue-in-cheek on Carlsberg’s part too, but it’s a great slogan that’s known the world over.
Why do we pay inflated prices for products marketed as premium quality when in reality, they aren’t? Let’s take Louis Vuitton as an example – the famous shoe maker markets their shoes as “Made in Italy”, when in reality, they outsources production to Romania before applying a final step back in Italy. That is not to say that the quality is poor. But Louis Vuitton certainly don’t want you to think that their shoes are actually made in Romania.
The slogan behind the truth-bending Louis Vuitton is, hilariously, “L.V the truth.” “L.V” is interpreted as “Live” or “Love” and of course, the initials of the company name.
Brands understand that if a product can make a person feel important, it will sell. So Louis Vuitton tells us that you will wear “The Truth” – the most authentic, most original garments and shoes.
The final word: Behind the popular corporate slogans
All of these brands are saying “Hey, we’re better than the others. If you buy our product, it makes you better too. It makes you more important, so what are you waiting for?”
They are dreamed up with the specific purpose of getting you to think that owning their product will make you stand out. One way or another, that’s what it comes down to and why we buy many of the things that we do.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? Anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment and let’s discuss further.
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To your success,
Tim Woods, founder of Woods Copywriting