Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marketing Metaphoria

I’ve been reading Marketing Metaphoria by Zaltman and Zaltman. The authors say, “Thought occurs largely in the form of a metaphor," and so-called “deep metaphors” underlie what people think, hear, say, and do. Our deep metaphors hang around for a long time, pretty much dictating how we perceive life, make sense of what we encounter, and make choices. The book also notes that -- when faced with a given situation -- people generally share the same two or three deep metaphors ... which means marketers who study deep metaphors pick up serious clues as to what consumers are thinking. For example ...
People typically use five to six surface metaphors per minute (whew!) in spoken conversation: “This problem is the tip of the iceberg;” “Planning for retirement is an uphill battle;” “This issue is water under the bridge.” Just below these surface metaphors, lurk metaphor themes -- and its these themes that are important to marketers.
Consider for example the following common surface metaphors: “Money runs through his fingers;” “I am drowning in debt;” “Don’t pour your money down the drain;” “The bank froze his assets.” Notice the common thread here? Liquid ... money is like a liquid.
The goal of the book isn’t to train marketers in deep metaphor research, but rather to demonstrate how deep metaphors play powerfully yet silently in the unconscious minds of consumers. Chapters 3 through 9 of the book address three specific deep metaphors: balance, transformation, and journey. Other chapters show how real companies have used an understanding of deep metaphors to address particular business issues
Interested in more fun? Listen carefully and watch for the surface metaphors friends use to relate their dreams. Very deep stuff.

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