Why Marketers Love METAPHORS

Why Marketers Love METAPHORS

METAPHORS are a form of figurative or nonliteral language that help express something by using words, visuals that normally denote something else.

For seasoned marketers, metaphors are a way to persuasively communicate with consumers- Eg. “The engine is the heart of a car”.

Imagine someone trying to explain the movie SPEED to a producer as – It’s DIE HARD, on a BUS.

What Metaphors do is help explain something unfamiliar or unknown through comparison with something familiar and known.

When a vehicle is positioned as ‘LIKE A ROCK’ –

What it does is transfers all of our associations with rocks, tangible and intangible, onto the brand – Strong, reliable, rugged, unshakable, dependable, outdoorsy, tough, ability to take abuse.

(All this is communicated by using just 3 words).

So, do you have a METAPHOR for YOUR BRAND in mind?

Here are 5 reasons why you should

1. The right metaphors helps align thinking within the team and cuts distraction

– “What Titan is to watches, we are to deodorants as a category”

– “We are not a creative or communications agency, we are brand cartographers”


2. Helps your communication leap

– Research has shown that ads with metaphors not only do better on recall (than functional and emotional ads), but also boosts retainability of the message

3. Makes the unfamiliar, FAMILIAR

– Helps consumers understand what is expected and how to interact with the brand/ offering

– Also helps amplify the brand / product benefit

– A caffeinated energy drink that ‘gives you wings’

– Curd so thick, you have to ‘scoop it like ice cream’

A pesticide company that calls itself the pied piper of bugs and another the ghostbuster of creepy crawlies (which would you choose and why).

4. Helps create the right associations/ symbolism (specially when used in social messaging)

– Terrorism as cancer vs terrorism as a virus (One is an internal issue vs the other which is an outside enemy)

– Illegal aliens vs Undocumented non citizens (One a threat vs the other a process concern)

5. Helps one grasp things quickly

– “Education used to be a fixed deposit, now it is a recurring deposit. You learn, unlearn and relearn” (Do pause and read this one again, it’s really thought provoking, a sign of our times)

– A brand of perfume that calls itself ‘the cloak of mystery’


Three steps to find your Brand Metaphor

1. Assemble a group of your consumers / category users for a workshop

2. Ask each participant to carry a set of pictures, words that most strongly brings out their thoughts and feelings towards your brand or product – Ask then to explain in 2 lines why they picked those specific words and visuals

3. Look for higher order themes and the right deep metaphor match for your brand / product

Or keep Calm and Call Ormax 🙂

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