How to Make a Motto

Category: Business

How to Make a Motto

Call it a tag line, a slogan or a motto, this brief statement of purpose or attitude sums up salient aspects of a company's approach to its products, customers and marketplace. Chosen without regard for the goals and strengths of a business, a motto provides nothing more than an attempt at a clever catchphrase. When it encapsulates the essence of an organization and does so in a way that clings to the reader's memory, the result can provide instant identification for the company that uses it as a distinctive part of its branding.


  • Analyze what your company stands for -- the essence of how you do what you do -- to clarify the gist of your value proposition. That statement equals what makes you different from and, presumably, better than your competition. For example, if the speed with which you deliver a service sets you apart, that attribute should become part of your brainstorming.

  • Write out every thought that comes to mind when you contemplate how to convey your value proposition in a brief statement. Focus on creating short, punchy phrases or sentences no longer than five to seven words, but don't censor your efforts. Capture all your ideas, setting your work aside when your inspiration slows down and revisiting the effort later. You may find this process more straightforward with pen and paper than in a computer document, but any writing method works so long as it serves the purpose.

  • Read aloud through your list of motto candidates. Mark off any that turn out to be tongue twisters or that don't make immediate sense on further review. Omit any that overstate what you do in a way that could become a liability in comparison to your customers' view of your value. You don't want to describe yourself as the equivalent of the best thing since sliced bread if the comparison might make you look unduly boastful.

  • Print each remaining prospect in large type on a single sheet of paper. Attach all of them to a bulletin board or wall where you can review them. See how they look from a distance, as if they've been inscribed on a company sign.

  • Ask others -- colleagues, friends, family -- for input on the remaining candidates. Focus your questions on whether the tag lines communicate a clear, uncluttered statement of your brand and mission. Set aside any alternatives that fail to win votes, even your favorites.

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