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brand metaphor: a strategy for product uniqueness

"The client turned out to be extremely uncommunicative. I asked him questions, this way and that way. I twisted the wording. In this briefing, I needed to get to the essence of how he sees his business, its future, and what is hindering its development now. I paid attention to every word, trying to extract more information, asked leading questions, and sometimes guided him to the answer. After 2 hours, my briefing was filled."

Long story, right? But what if you tell it like this: "The client turned out to be uncommunicative. During the two-hour briefing, I tried to get into his mind." You agree that the metaphor "tried to get into his mind" already opens up the entire spectrum of the employee's efforts. What does it have to do with the brand?

The brand metaphor is a figurative comparison of a company with something similar in essence. It is formed at the stage of writing the company's strategy, forming the brand platform.

Every business is aimed at making a profit. And everyone does this through high-quality service delivery, work speed, staff politeness, and an individual approach. If these qualities are not there, then you can forget about brand development and income. But if everyone operates with the same concepts, how can we stand out among all those who do their job well on all parameters?

The metaphor is designed to solve this problem. With its help, we will help the company to grow emotional meanings and be remembered by customers.

Brand metaphor objectives

The metaphor is a shortcut to the client's heart. You know your product thoroughly, but the buyer does not. Therefore, the manufacturer's task is to inform a person in the simplest language about what the product represents, what problems it solves, and what emotions it gives.

If we look closely, the metaphor will help the brand:

1. Simplify communication. Without long stories and explanations, we immediately turn to a ready-made image in the buyer's head. Of course, here we need to take into account the difference in mentalities and the country of advertising, but the main parameter for choosing a metaphor will be geolocation. People of the same mentality usually have similar metaphorical images in their minds.

The Skittles chewing gum brand uses the rainbow metaphor. It is reflected both in the color of the candy and in the advertising slogan: "Taste the Rainbow." This is a clear image for all representatives of the target audience.

2. Simplify complex processes/images. What is a brick - does not need to be explained. But what is "brand promotion through cross-channel marketing" can be easier to explain through a metaphor.

The file hosting service Dropbox uses the metaphor of a box where all your files are stored - it is easy to remember and understand.

3. Be memorable to the consumer. We think in images, which is why we remember images, not descriptions. For example, why does Twix have two sticks? Surely, you will immediately recall the two competing founders of the company.

Metaphors are important for the team to translate strategic conclusions into creativity.

Types of metaphors in branding

There are three types of metaphors:

1. Rhyming metaphors - based on the common quality of the brand and the object being compared. Vanish (from the English "to disappear") removes difficult stains.

Tropicana juice with the slogan "Your daily ray of sunshine" draws attention to the presence of a similar feature between the product and the sun - the intensity of color, and indicates the usefulness of the drink and the presence of vitamins in it. That is, Tropicana assures buyers that the product is natural, sun-soaked and imported from the tropics.

2. Analogy metaphor - based on the similar structure of two objects.

Rich juices (from the English "rich") with the slogan "Life is a good thing, no matter how you spin it" appeared on the Russian market as a premium product. The name, like the slogan, appeals to the rich taste of the juice.

The same analogy is used by "Beeline". The naming is derived from the English "to make a beeline", meaning "the shortest route." The association with the route that a bee flies along is used.

3. Gestalt metaphor - based on obtaining a common state / emotion from two objects.

"Spread happiness on bread!" - Nutella, "My life is my map" - American Express, "Paradise pleasure" - Bounty, "Control your dream" - Toyota. These are all bright examples of how to experience the desired emotion through a product.

What does a good metaphor give?

Let's consider a few successful and unsuccessful examples of using metaphors in branding. Such cases will best demonstrate its significance.

Energizer batteries - "Do you have a rabbit inside you?". It is well known that the rabbit is the symbol of the Energizer brand and embodies strength and energy. Thus, the company replaces the word "strength" with "rabbit" so that the company's symbol is always associated with energy.

The automobile company Jaguar has the slogan "Get a jaguar for the price of a car." The company draws a parallel between the car and the jaguar, suggesting that there are similar traits between the machine and the animal, such as high speed, maneuverability, and beauty. However, even well-known brands can make mistakes when using metaphors. For example, Sberbank's campaign "Fast Transfers" used a hummingbird as its symbol. The campaign was not successful because a hummingbird is not a symbol of speed. It flaps its wings quickly but can hover in one place for a long time. There was no coincidence in the imagery between the developers and consumers.

Even Coca-Cola has had missteps. The company released a drink called Coca-Cola Life with a green label. The drink did not contain sugar and was targeted towards health-conscious consumers. However, sales of regular Coca-Cola suddenly dropped. Why? The presence of the green and red Coca-Colas on store shelves created associations in people's minds: "Green - healthy, can have it; Red - danger, can't have it" similar to a traffic light. Production of the "green" cola had to be stopped.

Metaphors directly impact sales and brand positioning. We all choose brands that resonate with us on a sensory level. Metaphors give emotional qualities to the functional properties of a product. Therefore, this tool helps products stand out and be memorable, even if they are similar to their competitors in terms of their characteristics. After all, there isn't always the opportunity to engage in innovative business, but a successful metaphor can help a simple product become unique.

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