Corporate slogans tell us plenty about today's market

An analysis of the slogans from Washington Technology Top 100 companies tells us a lot about corporate priorities and how the market is changing and in some cases what resonates over time.

You can tell a lot about a government contractor’s market positioning from their slogan. And that’s how it’s supposed to work. Slogans and taglines are meant to convey the company’s brand to customers and the market. The good ones communicate – at an emotional level – the company’s unique personality and presence. They are memorable and inspiring. The best ones stand the test of time.

Every year, Washington Technology publishes its Top 100ranking of the largest government contractors in the federal market. And since 2007, Boscobel has tracked those companies’ slogans and taglines to discover branding trends, what has changed and what hasn’t for the top-tier government contractors in the industry.

Here are five things we learned this year:

Use of Slogans is on the Upswing

Companies have been using slogans for well over a century, though their use has come in and out of favor depending on marketing trends of the times. For example, as digital media and marketing became more prevalent in recent years, many companies experimented with a series of shorter-term (one-year) advertising and marketing campaigns to tout their positions.

In fact:

  • In 2018, only 68 of the Top 100 actively used a slogan or tagline.
  • This year, that number increased to 86 – an18 percent increase in two years.
  • Over the past five years, 91 companies used a slogan at least once.

GovCons are Mission-Driven. (And they provide innovative solutions).

Since most government agencies describe themselves as mission focused, it makes sense that “mission” is the word that appears the most often (seven times) in the Top 100 slogans.

Other top words:

  • Innovation: used by six companies
  • Solutions: also used by six companies
  • Future: used four times

More and More, Less is More

The sweet spot for slogan length used to be six to eight words, but we’re seeing more three-, four- and five-word slogans in recent years. In our 24/7 digital culture, where we are all bombarded with multiple competing messages at all times, our attention spans are shorter than ever. Every word, each character counts.

No surprise, then, that of the 86 companies on the 2020 Top 100 list that have a tagline or slogan, 81 percent rely on just five or fewer words to get their point across:

  • 20 companies have slogans with five words
  • 21 use four words
  • 20 use just three words
  • 8 have two-word slogans, and
  • Only one company, IBM, has a one-word slogan: THINK

Sometimes, Things Change

It’s not unusual for companies to refresh their brand – their logos, color palettes, messaging platforms, and/or slogans or taglines. Company changes such as moving into a new market, a merger or acquisition or a shift in vision could prompt such an update.

Sixty-three of this year’s Top 100 Contractors were also on the list five years ago. Thirty-eight of those, or 60 percent, changed their slogan at least once in that time.

The biggest change in that time was Lockheed Martin. After decades of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars – or more – invested in its “We never forget who we’re working for®” tagline, the company very quietly changed its tagline. In the fall of 2018, Lockheed Martin started using, “Your mission is ours.®” Yes, that’s right. As if we didn’t already know it, Lockheed Martin is mission-focused, too.

Some Slogans Have Staying Power

What’s truly remarkable is when a tagline or slogan continues to work, year after year. From at least 2015 to 2020, eleven companies took an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to their slogans, including these:

  • Redefining Ingenuity (SAIC)
  • Experience the commitment® (CGI)
  • We serve today for a better tomorrow.™ (DynCorp)
  • Complex World, Clear Solutions™ (Tetra Tech)
  • Bold thinking to improve people’s lives (Abt Associates)

Then there’s CACI International. The company’s “Ever Vigilant” tagline has been in use since 2003! It still works because it is succinct, it’s memorable and “vigilance” successfully positions the company’s national security work as serious and vital.

A successful slogan demonstrates how a company’s products or solutions can truly improve the experiences of their potential government customers. 2020 Top 100 Government Contractor Slogans.

NEXT STORY: Time to redefine the IT roadmap

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.