Let’s say you’re thinking about creating a series of ads for enrollment season. We’ve all seen the ones based on an image of “three under a tree”: three students, books in hand, under a large tree (preferably a sugar maple in fall for awesome color). Two students are one gender, one is the other, and each represents a different ethnicity. Add some “blah blah” text about small classes, dedicated faculty, educating the whole child, etc. (see our blog post about this unfortunate way of describing your school), and you’ve got your open house ad. Done.
What if we pushed you to be more creative, more attention getting, and more brand-centric? Create a “slogan” for the enrollment year and plaster it on everything you do for admissions. Make it exciting, interesting, and memorable. Have it lead the charge and carry your other brand messages along with it.
“But we have a tagline. Isn’t that the same thing?” No.
According to Martin Jelsema, marketing consultant to Fortune 500 companies, “The tagline is a crystallization of a brand promise and is a strategic-based element. The slogan is an advertising element just as a headline or illustration.” Taglines, we will argue, can change over time as brand promises do. But a tagline change might happen over 5-10 years, not over a few years or, heaven forbid, over months.
(As an example, consider Coca Cola’s long and storied history of slogans at the end of this blog. And smile as you remember your youth.)
Even if a school does have a tagline that works, perhaps admissions needs something more targeted to a particular need, something fresh and catchy, which can be replaced when the need is met, keeping overuse of the tagline from making it feel too stale too fast.
If the school has a tagline that doesn’t work, or one it’s tired of, or doesn’t have one at all, that shouldn’t hold admissions efforts back. The perfect tagline doesn’t always happen, but marketing must go on. A more temporary admissions slogan does not need to be all things for all constituents the way a tagline does.
A slogan can be less than perfect, not please everyone in the community, and represent only part of what the school is and still be effective. A slogan shouldn’t be misleading or offensive nor should it malign the competition. It does need to be brand-centric and to zero in on the aspect or aspects of the brand that you want to highlight in a way that grabs prospective families’ attention.
Let your mind drift to clever, appropriate slogans that might garner inquiries in this enrollment season. Who knows? One might work so well, it becomes a tagline.
Coca Cola Slogans Through the Years
(Edited to 1945 forward)
- 1945 - Passport to refreshment.
- 1947 - Coke knows no season.
- 1948 - Where there’s Coke there’s hospitality.
- 1949 - Coca-Cola … along the highway to anywhere.
- 1952 - What you want is a Coke.
- 1954 - For people on the go.
- 1956 - Coca-Cola … makes good things taste better.
- 1957 - The sign of good taste.
- 1958 - The Cold, Crisp Taste of Coke
- 1959 - Be really refreshed.
- 1963 - Things go better with Coke.
- 1966 - Coke … after Coke … after Coke.
- 1969 - It’s the real thing.
- 1971 - I’d like to buy the world a Coke. (basis for the song I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing)
- 1974 - Look for the real things.
- 1976 - Coke adds life.
- 1979 - Have a Coke and a smile
- 1982 - Coke is it!
- 1985 - America’s Real Choice
- 1986 - Red White & You
- 1986 - Catch the Wave
- 1989 - Can’t Beat the Feeling.
- 1993 - Always Coca-Cola.
- 2000 - Enjoy.
- 2001 - Life tastes good.
- 2003 - Real.
- 2005 - Make It Real.
- 2006 - The Coke Side of Life
- 2007 - Live on the Coke Side of Life
- 2009 - Open Happiness
- 2010 - Twist The Cap To Refreshment
- 2011 - Life Begins Here
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