An example of an advertising analogy and metaphor (source of image)
Have you wondered why certain speakers and writers can bring their ideas across so elegantly? How do they transform a complex (and sometimes obscure) concept into one which we can see in our heads with such clarity and definition?
The answer lies in their ability to to tell stories with rich and powerful analogies, allegories and metaphors.
By using anecdotes which are relevant and current to their audiences, these communicators could draw on their readers, viewers and listener’s familiarity with day-to-day experiences and contexts.
Like them, you should enrich your content with the illustrative power of analogies and metaphors.
Common examples here include food, nature, marriage, art, history, celebrities and music. By painting these mental pictures, you are better able to connect with your audiences and to allow them to better understand more abstract concepts.
Business journalists, consultants and politicians are especially adept at this. In fact, many key management ideas and theories draw from other disciplines.
Think about how the language of business is commonly imbued with terms drawn from military strategy (Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Guerrilla Marketing), ecology (Value Chain, Business Eco-system), sports (leadership coaching, mentoring, teamwork), and the performing arts (experiential marketing, experience economy) amongst others.
The language of love is especially steeped in metaphors and analogies.
Many of us would have heard of the famous Songs of Solomon in the Bible, which uses plant and animal parts to describe two lovers in hot pursuit of each other.
There are of course tonnes of soppy sweet nothings and teenage love poems which use metaphors and similes. I’m sure you’d have heard of variations of love poems with lines like “You are like the sweet dew of the morning,” or “Your hair smells like a thousand roses blooming in the garden.”
Anyway, my personal favourites are – as some of you would probably have guessed – nature metaphors.
I believe that there is no new idea under the Sun that cannot be related to the seasons, ecology, wildlife and even microbial activity.
Even the new media can be related to a tropical forest, as seen in my earlier post!
A word of warning though. When using metaphors, be careful that you do not descent into yawn-inducing cliches. A cliche or stereotype is an example which has been so overused – to the point of ad nauseum – that it no longer has any effect on anybody.
Hmmm… maybe I should start telling myself that more often!
PS – Wish to dive more deeply into the ocean of metaphors? Read my post on Deep Metaphors here.
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