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AMiable Solution #238: Get More with Metaphors

Updating Addresses - NCOA and more Running an all-out list hygiene routine once or twice a year is still important.  You can take care of all the duplicate, incomplete, or incorrect addresses in one fell swoop.  But it’s just as important to take care of those undeliverables in little swings, too.

If you want your audience to remember your message or your brand long after they’ve read or heard your ad, then consider creating similes and metaphors in your marketing.

Both similes and metaphors, as you’ll recall from your English classes, compare one component with another to communicate an idea quickly, vividly, and memorably. Similes use the words “like” and “as” and make explicit comparisons using small details. For example, Chevy trucks are “like a rock.”

Metaphors don’t use the words “like” or “as” and are a little harder to create. They typically, and creatively, connect two things that aren’t normally associated together but share an important truth. Metaphors create powerful images. They create stories that straight facts and text can’t. That’s how Red Bull can “give you wings” or you can “taste the rainbow” with Skittles.

To create your own metaphor, focus on one key benefit or feature of your product or organization. Then think of ways you could dramatize that benefit and make an emotional connection with your audience.

Henneke Duistermaat, the copywriter and marketer behind, says simple, unexpected, and concrete metaphors work the best and offers these additional tips:

  • Create a quick picture rather than a lengthy story. You lose your reader if you need to do a lot of explaining.

  • Surprise your readers. Present a fresh angle on an old topic.

  • Try making your metaphors sensory so readers can experience your words. When readers can see, feel, smell, taste, or hear something, they’re more likely to engage and remember.

Just be sure that your comparisons are original and make sense. Trying too hard to create an interesting metaphor or simile can confuse your audience or turn them off. Beware, too, of multiple meanings that your comparison vehicle may have. You may inadvertently change the message you’re trying to convey.

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