Four Myths About Bank & Credit Union Slogans

Here’s a companion to The Financial Brand’s compilation, The Biggest List of Financial Slogans Ever.

Let’s take a look at the types of financial slogans out there, and four myths people commonly apply when picking a financial slogan.

Myth #1: Great slogans have to be short.

Reality: While having a short slogan can aid memorability, the majority of financial slogans are 4- or 5-words long.

The most important factor defining a slogan’s greatness seems to be its underlying concept. Does it tell a story? Sometimes, the story you may want to tell will take more than four or five words.

  • “There’s some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.”

Myth #2: One type of tagline is better than another.

Reality: There are four things a great slogan should be — unique, relevant, credible and memorable. Other than that, there are no rules.

Unfortunately, many slogans fail one or more of these criteria. Some because they use vapid or common terms. Some have a message that doesn’t mean much. And others fail the credibility test because the brand doesn’t live up to the slogan’s promise.

Check out NationalCity. They are a good example of a financial institution delivering on its slogan, “Banking Made Simple.”

For the thousands upon thousands of taglines that have been- and are being used in the financial industry, they all fall into one of a few basic categories:

  1. Extend a promise. U.S. Bank. – “Five Star Service Guaranteed”
  2. Convey a benefit. American Express – “Do more.”
  3. Amplify a difference. AIG – “We know money.”
  4. Acknowledge a truth. Abbey National Bank – “Because life’s complicated enough.”
  5. Express character or personality. Merrill Lynch – “Be bullish.”
  6. Reflect values or focus. First Citizens Bank – “We value relationships.”
  7. Three. Word. Tagline. Standard Bank – “Simpler. Better. Faster.”
  8. Serve as a rallying cry. WaMu – “Whoo hoo!”
  9. Ask a question? Capital One – “What’s in your wallet?”

Many of the most effective slogans share one trait in particular: They have been used consistently for many years.

Myth #3: Financial slogans need to sound financial.

Reality: “Sounding financial” is a surefire way to blend in.

Here is a visual map of the most common words used in financial slogans:

This visual map was created from the slogans listed in The Biggest List of Financial Slogans Ever. The words that occur most commonly are relatively larger in scale. The most common words are bank, money, people, make, banking, better, life, together, tomorrow, ideas, know, first, get, just, financial, things, etc.

You can almost mashup any two or three words in the cluster and you’re well on your way to making a slogan that sounds financial.

Myth #4: You must have a slogan.

Reality: No you don’t.

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