By Anne Miller
How do you effectively communicate your ideas in the marketplace?
Use metaphor or picture-bites. Review a speech by popular communicators like Bill Clinton or Arianna Huffington–and you’ll read comments laced with imagery and analogies that drive their points home. Look at some of advertising’s most successful ads and you’ll see an image used metaphorically to communicate the value of the product. Think of the classic Michelin baby sitting on tires to illustrate its safety value proposition to Apple’s iconic, well…apple.
Why are metaphors so important for marketing?
Any campaign really talks to two entities in a consumer’s mind: the left brain and the right brain. The left brain processes language; the right brain processes images. They work together. For example, if I tell you I met a terrific guy and he was just like George Jordan, I could wax eloquent, I could be passionate, I could get so excited about George Jordan–but you wouldn’t have a clue about what I’m talking about. Your left brain hears the words, pretty much surmises I’m talking about a man, but just can’t relate. But what if I said this guy was just like Michael Jordan? Well instantly, you’d know who I’m talking about because your right brain can now see this person and has an emotional association with him that’s positive and exciting.
Ads, blogs, or white papers that simply give more information, more charts and more facts when they communicate don’t understand that they’re only doing half a job. If you really want to get into someone’s head, you have to talk to the right brain as well. And you do that through imagery, pictures, visuals, stories–and metaphors. They all play the same role.
Communicating without metaphors is like trying to drive a Ferrari without gas. You may look good, but you—or your products–won’t get very far.