COMMUNICATION

Deep Metaphors

As humans, we’re always looking for comparisons to help us understand the things we experience. Gerald Zaltman from the Harvard Business School writes about deep metaphors, symbols that resonate with every listener. Use them to craft messages that stick, from pitches to marketing campaigns.
Goals
  • Craft more resonant messages
Tool themes
  • Presentation
  • Script
  • Design

Balance

Balance is about the ideas of equilibrium and adjusting forces. It is based on the belief that there is a right form and order of things.

Example:
Striking the right balance between financial risk prevention and risk-taking behavior to become more innovative.



Transformation

Transformation is about changing a certain state or status into something new.

Example:
The digital transformation that changes the nature of an organization.



Journey

The journey is an oft-used metaphor for describing life itself. The metaphorical journey always refers to a process, like the progress people make over a period of time.

Example:
A company on a journey, overcoming obstacles and learning from its failures.



Container

The container metaphor describes something being stored. It works in two different ways: keeping things in and keeping things out.

Example:
The company name Dropbox as a description for cloud storage for files.

Connection

Connection refers to the idea of belonging to someone or somewhere.

Example:
Facebook uses this deep metaphor for both their company strategy and marketing efforts.



Resource

Resources are related to the human instinct for survival. The metaphor always connotes something prized and valuable.

Example:
Google’s mission statement: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”



Control

We want to feel control over our lives. That’s what makes this metaphor so powerful. Even social norms exist to control the interaction within a group.

Example:
Apple’s marketing strategy: Giving control over personal data back to the user.
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