Originally published in Washington Technology on August 28, 2023


2023 marks the 30th annual edition of the Washington Technology Top 100, a ranking of the largest technology and services government contractors. Which means, Boscobel has been tracking and analyzing the slogans of the Top 100 for more than 15 years.

The short, memorable phrases are meant to elicit an emotional response – a favorable impression – from customers and partners. Some share a company’s mission or vision. Others are more aspirational, communicating a brand promise, company positioning, or customer value. Viewed as a group, slogans reveal some trends, insights, and best practices from the top-tier contractors in the federal market.

Here is what we learned from the 2023 Washington Technology Top 100.

Slogans Are Widespread

Like their industry counterparts, most of the Top 100 government contractors use a slogan. In 2023, 88 of the Top 100 are using a slogan. Once again, for the fourth year in a row, nine of the top 10 companies have one.

Eight new companies joined the Top 100 in 2023. Interestingly, they mirror the full group, with seven of the eight using a slogan.

Seven of the returning companies added a slogan since 2022. Boeing, for example, introduced its slogan, “Innovation Driven By Inclusion” and Minburn Technology Group, LLC is using, “Information technology built for the Federal Government.”

They’re Usually Short

A great slogan is simple and memorable. The best ones quickly elicit a positive impression about a company. There’s no need to spell out a mission, vision, or capability set. In fact, there are many reasons NOT to do that with a slogan. There are other branding elements whose job it is to provide more specifics.

Aligning with best practices, nearly 70% of this year’s top GovCon slogans use five or fewer words. Some of our favorites use just two:

  • Ever Vigilant | CACI International
  • Defining Possible | Northrop Grumman
  • Forward. | L3Harris Technologies, Inc.
  • Outwit Complexity™ | Guidehouse

Some Are Getting Longer

Last year, the most common length of a slogan was three or four words, used by 45%. This year, only 35% of companies are using three or four words, and 23% of companies are using a five-word slogan to convey their message.

There are some very long slogans, too. Rolls-Royce North America is new to the list and brought with it the longest slogan this year. At 13 words, it is: “Delivering power and propulsion solutions in the air, at sea and on land.”

Embracing Change is Critical

As Washington Technology’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman pointed out in his discussion of mergers and acquisitions as a growth tool for the Top 100, “No one is immune from the need to change and adapt in today’s market. Embracing change is critical to long-term success.”

The same is true for slogans. Though both are meant to have a “shelf life” of years, companies can outgrow their slogans. Certainly, an M&A may prompt a change, to better convey the spirit and value of a newly combined company. New capabilities, market expansion, and a company’s growth or maturity are other reasons to revisit this branding element.

These companies moved from a more general (and shorter) to more specific (and longer) slogan:

Thankfully, a few did use the opportunity to simplify and shorten their messages:

Word Choice Matters

Top “power words” of the 2023 Top 100 slogans

When you just have a few words to say something meaningful and memorable, word choice matters. For the 2023 Top 100 GovCons, several “power words” bubbled up to the top of the list.

  • “World” or “global” appeared in 15 of the slogans
  • “Technology” or “IT” was in 12
  • “Delivering” appeared in six slogans
  • “Solutions” and “innovations” appeared in five, each

A Really Great Slogan Stands the Test of Time

We are currently tracking only two Top 100 companies that have remained on the list and have not changed their slogan since 2020. Abt Associates continues to use theirs: “Bold thinking to improve people’s lives.” And, now in its 20th year since adoption, CACI International’s “Ever Vigilant” is the tried-and-true slogan for the GovCon industry, still prominently displayed as part of the company logo.

There is so much to discover when looking at the slogans of the largest companies in the federal market. Above is just a sample! If you’re curious for more, you’re invited to download Boscobel’s 2023 Top 100 Government Contractor Slogans.