Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
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Metaphor Minute: Surf? Swim? or Both?



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March 30, 2010

Surf? Swim? Or Both?

What do you do to sell the power of your combined products when your buyers (A) think you are becoming obsolete? (B) give them less value cost-wise than your competition? and (C) have a personal preference for the competition?

That is the situation the magazine print world faces. They are bleeding advertising dollars to the online world. The Internet is ďhot.Ē The buyers of advertising are frequently young and personally go online more than they bury themselves in a magazine. Kick in the far less expensive ad rates the Internet offers and the ability to measure online ad results and to advertising buyers, it looks like magazines are going in one direction: down.

Not so fast, say the print publishers! They have expanded their Internet offerings in the last year and they are out now to sell the power of print to these buyers who dismiss their magazines as passť.

A Literal (and Metaphorical) Fight for Survival
Time Warner (publisher of Time, People among others), Hearst (Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan), Conde Nast (Vogue and Wired), Wenner Media (Rolling Stone and US Weekly) and Meredith (Better Homes & Gardens and More), have collaborated on a new million dollar advertising campaign that dramatizes its point with a clever metaphor.

We surf the Internet.
We swim in magazines.

The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is fleeting. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.

Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor is the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years. Even in the age of the Internet, even among the groups, one would assume are most singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.

Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.

What it proves, once again, is that a new medium doesnít necessarily displace an existing one. Just as movies didnít kill radio. Just as TV didnít kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish, so long as it continues to offer a unique experience. And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.

Which is why people arenít giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing.

- Magazines. The Power of Print*

If I was evaluating the Metaphorian Power of this argument, I would give it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. It does what a metaphor should do: It engages. Itís easy to grasp. Itís framed in terms its audience can relate to. It has ďlegsĒ--the comparison is made in several ways (exhilarating and enveloping, grabs and embraces, fleeting and immersive). Finally, after the factual reference to its growth rate and the other metaphors to illustrate its premise, the last line of the argument returns to the central metaphor to firmly nail the point. Flawless.

I encourage you to review this example several times. What ideas can you take from this example to apply in your world? 

See you next month!.

Anne Miller
Make What You Say, Pay ó With Metaphors.

* "Magazines Tout the 'Power Of Print,'" Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2010

Hope to have information for you on my new book, which is a follow-up to Metaphorically Selling.  It is in production now.  Stay tuned...

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"The Metaphor Minute" is a brief monthly note with examples from business, media, or politics that illustrate the power of metaphors and analogies to make a point, solve a problem, and get results. Use these stories to stimulate high pay-off metaphoric thinking in your business. © 2009. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2010, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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