The Power of Metaphor in (Brand) Communication


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10 reasons to use metaphors in (brand) communication. What makes metaphor so powerful? How are metaphors processed by our brains? What effects do they have on our thinking and judging?

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The Power of Metaphor in (Brand) Communication

  1. 1. Louder than Words: 10 reasons to use metaphors in (brand) communication by LUCIA TREZOVA Prague, May 2014
  2. 2. Metaphor is originally a figure of speech based on resemblance = one thing is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are somehow similar. METAPHOR IS A TYPE OF AN ANALOGY „Knowledge is power“ „You are my star“
  4. 4. Since metaphors don’t have to be only verbal, the essence of the metaphor is: experiencing one thing or thinking about one thing in terms of another
  5. 5. EACH METAPHOR CONSISTS OF TWO ELEMENTS: A TARGET AND A SOURCE Both: target and the source are part of, in principle, infinitely expanding networks of related meanings, necessary for producing metaphors, called connotations. The target is what we try to describe, to make a meaning of by using metaphor. The source is a „vehicle“, the concept that is used to predicate something about the target. Metaphors connect two conceptual domains: the target domain and the source domain.
  6. 6. „Metaphor is metamorphosis. It is a beautiful sweet lie. I say one thing, but I mean completely another.“
  7. 7. Why are metaphors so powerful in communication?
  8. 8. argument
  9. 9. METAPHORS INCREASE INFORMATION RETENTION AND ENHANCE ITS RECALL Metaphors are by our brains processed differently than literal speech Cognitive scientists proved by fMRI, that words describing motion highlight our motor cortex. While listening to sentences containing textural metaphors, they found activity in the part of the brain that’s involved when we feel surfaces. When the metaphor alludes on the smell, the olfactory area of the brain is being activated, and so on. The more parts of the brain are engaged with a given content, the higher number of neuronal associations is made = MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE RETRIEVAL
  10. 10. argument
  11. 11. METAPHORS SPARK OFF OUR IMAGINATION... An insightful rich metaphor triggers the chain of associations, meanings, images, memories, emotions, that all together not only hooks the recipient’s attention and curiosity, but also increases embedding of new information and remembering of a presented content. Metaphors are fantasy provoking
  12. 12. argument
  13. 13. METAPHORS ARE CONVINCING... Metaphors are shortcuts to our sub-consciousness Emotions that metaphors generate often tackle our inner, primary, fundamental feelings, linked to our basic human desires and needs. These feelings are often hardly accessible by our conscious mind, thus beyond our rational consideration. Their targeting have, therefore, an extremely strong persuasive power.
  14. 14. argument
  15. 15. METAPHORS BYPASS OUR CRITICAL ANALYTICAL THINKING.... Metaphors tackle our culture inside us The metaphor often triggers dense net of connonations, that are from that moment partly beyond our individual control. This net is created by the sediments of the history, by the cultural layers, by references to other texts– so, attacking our archetypal super-ego. This often enables sending the message across without risking its rejection caused by the individual analytical judgement.
  16. 16. argument
  17. 17. Metaphor provides holistic, complete, instant and intuitive definition of the target (object). One insightful metaphor can explain the target in its full complexity, in its wholeness, defying clearly the object and therefore to help foster the adoption of new ideas, concepts, products. METAPHORS ALLOW GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE TARGET CONCEPT Metaphors accelerate adoption
  18. 18. argument
  19. 19. METAPHORS SAVE TIME People see more things than they can describe with words Therefore one exposure to image-evoking metaphoric representation using mindful analogy saves us a lot of time of clarifying the metaphor’s target: relations of its parts, its usage, relationships to other objects, ideas and so on.
  20. 20. argument
  21. 21. Linking your metaphor’s target with an „unexpected“ metaphor's source or mapping so far „unexplored“ feature may illuminate the different, so far neglected characteristic of your target or even cause discovery of brand new understanding, generating true „aha“ experience. METAPHORS CAN PROVIDE AN UNIQUE VIEW ON AN ORDINARY THING Metaphor awakes creativity
  22. 22. argument
  23. 23. Some metaphors can create so firm models of reality (e.g. „Life is war“), that they will determine all others associated attitudes and justify our consequent behavior. Some metaphors may even become scientific models (Descartes’ model „humans as machines“ affect not only allopathic medicine, but also e.g. attitudes toward people in organizations: people as „human resources“). METAPHORS CREATE AND LEGITIMIZE INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL NORMS Metaphors are words we live by
  24. 24. argument
  25. 25. By metaphor you can intentionally trick your audience: you can choose which product’s, idea’s, concept’s features you show, highlight, communicate and which you neglect, hide and omit. METAPHORS ARE MANIPULATIVE Metaphors contain ideology
  26. 26. 10.argument
  27. 27. Use of the powerful metaphor in the beginning of your presentation might create a so strong context, that all other information, opinions presented will be perceived and processed by our minds under the influence of this metaphor. METAPHORS CREATE STRONG CONTEXTS... Metaphors are paradigm shapers
  28. 28. www. @trezova Thank you!