4 Famous Mottos & Why Everyone Needs a Motto to Live By


Long ones and short ones. Witty ones and dull ones.

Some are grammatically correct while some break all the rules of language. Some have been around for many years while others hardly see the light of day.

Why are mottos so important?

A motto helps to set the organization apart from its competitors. It represents the set of beliefs that best describe the organization and outlines the image that it wishes to project to the public. A good motto fuses business promises with customers’ perceptions. It communicates the organization’s unique benefits.

The aim of developing a motto is reinforcing the identity and reputation of a brand. Every organization wants to be perceived positively by customers: innovative, trustworthy, committed to service, and transformative.

Here is:

  • who we are
  • how we are different
  • what you will get from us

This is what a motto is.

The stories behind famous institutions’ and sports clubs’ mottos.

When mottos are carefully crafted, they convey a brand’s essential characteristics. A useful motto is tattooed on the prime real estate of the customer’s subconscious. It activates preference for your brand when the consumers are ready to buy.

motto to live by - FC Barcelona's motto

F.C Barcelona: ‘Mes que un club’.  More than a club.

Founded as Football Club Barcelona in 1899, the club is a symbol of Catalonian culture and Catalanism.

The motto represents the pride of being a Catalan in a country that was ruled by a Fascist who tried to eliminate the culture for years. During the Franco regime, FC Barcelona became an essential symbol of the Catalan pride and identity.

The motto ‘More than a club’ therefore expresses the significance of the club beyond sports. It is one of the greatest ambassadors of the Catalonian culture.

The club is seen by many people as a symbol for people’s democratic rights and freedom. The expression has been used over the years to describe other attributes of the Club’s uniqueness:

  • The club’s dedication to social causes
  • The fact that the club competes in several different sports outside of football
  • The club as a vehicle for many charity programs: ACNUR, UNICEF, and UNESCO.
  • The club as a global icon


The FC Barcelona is the second largest sports club in the world.

nike factory store - just do it - motto to live by

NIKE: ‘Just do it’

‘Just Do it’ came from an unlikely source.

In 1988, Gary Gilmore was a Portland native criminal. At one point, he murdered a man and a woman in Utah. He was sent to jail and was sentenced to death. When he was brought before the firing squad, he was asked whether he had any final thoughts. His reply was, ‘Let’s just do it’.

Dan Wieden, the co-founder of Wieden & Kennedy; the agency in charge of Nike’s advertising campaign, thought the statement was a fitting motto. He did not like ‘Let’s just do it’, so he changed it to ‘Just do it’.

The motto quickly spread throughout the world and became an inspirational message for all areas of life: entertainment, sports, tolerance, health, and fitness. ‘Just do it’ has been described as the best motto of the 20th century by Campaign Magazine.

Facts about Nike:

The word ‘Nike’ is taken from an Ancient Greek mythology. ‘Nike’ was a goddess who symbolized victory.

According to the myth, the goddess influenced countless brave warriors. The brand ‘Nike’ is therefore associated with the mythological attributes of the goddess: victory, flight, speed, power, and motivation

Motto to live by - Apple

Apple: Think Different

‘Think different’ was created in 1997. Steve Jobs, co-founder Apple Computer, returned to the company to become the interim Chief Executive Officer. The company was in a crisis. Its market share had plummeted from 14 percent to below 3%.

Jobs was determined to address the problems at the company. He contacted Chit / Day advertising agency to come up with an advertising campaign. They wanted to create something revolutionary, different and unprecedented. After long hours of brainstorming, they came up with the idea of ‘Think different’.

The campaign kicked off with the motto accompanied by black and white images of visionary thinkers of all time:

  • Albert Einstein,
  • Martin Luther King. Jr
  • Bob Dylan
  • Thomas Edison
  • John Lennon
  • Richard Branson
  • R. Buckminster Fuller
  • Ted Turner
  • Mohammed Ali
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Martha Graham
  • Jim Henson
  • Maria Callas

Over the years, more personalities have been used on the posters.

The motto seeks to pass the message that creative people with a passion can change the world for the better. It celebrates the soul of the Apple brand.

Facts about Apple:

  • Apple earns $300,000 per minute.
  • Apple is worth $118.9 Billion. It is the most valuable brand in the world.
  • Smoking near Apple computers voids the warranty.

McDonald’s: “I’m lovin’ it.”

In 2003, McDonald’s posted its first ever loss. The chain hired Larry Light to revamp its marketing.

Larry hired Heye & Partner, an agency from a small town in Germany. The agency settled on the jingle ‘I’m lovin’ it’, and Justin Timberlake was paid $6 million to sing it.

The Campaign appeared in 120 countries; in more than 20 languages. ‘I’m lovin’ it’ appeals to people of all age and nationalities. It endears people to the brand.

Facts about McDonald’s:

  • McDonald’s opens a new restaurant every 14.5 hours
  • The queen of England owns a McDonald’s near Buckingham Palace

In short…

As you can see, there are real stories behind all the incredible mottos that are around us. Also, the phrases may be short, but that does not in any way reflect the amount of work and time that goes into their creation.

It takes a lot of creativity and effort to come up with an effective motto. We hope these stories will inspire you to create an incredible motto for yourself or your business when the time comes.

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