Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
Presentation & Sales Specialist
Author | Speaker | Coach
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Metaphor Minute: Out of This World




July 18, 2012

Out of This World

I bet you can identify with the following inquiry that I received from Wendy P., Marketing Director of one of the world’s largest educational publishers. Wendy wrote, "We position our products as solutions to solving various pain points, but the term 'solution' just seems so over used in the industry. Can you share some insights or suggestions for how we can imply the same thing without using the word 'solution'’?"

Play the Metaphor Game

In a very noisy world, it is, indeed, hard to grab and maintain attention when you sound like everyone else. Here is a 5 step process to use to discover vivid metaphorical alternatives to get you heard above the din:

  1. Be very clear about the concept you wish to convey.

  2. Look at equivalents of that concept or dynamic in several other domains or worlds.

  3. Select from those worlds your fresh expression for the original concept

  4. Make sure the chosen expression is appropriate to your audience

  5. Then, run that new expression as a theme throughout your product copy/presentation.

For example,

  1. I mean “solution” as a “positive outcome to a challenge or process”

  2. Some other worlds where the challenge-outcome dynamic plays itself out are:

    • Transportation: Happy Landings, Soft Landings, Guaranteed Arrivals
    • Games of chance: Catching the Gold Ring
    • Fantasy: Making Dreams Come True
    • Baking: Putting Icing on a Cake
    • Nature: Growing Healthy Plants & Crops
    • Sports: Winning the Gold Medal
  3. I choose Nature: the concept of Growing Healthy Plants & Crops

  4. It lends itself to many applications and it is certainly appropriate in tone and association.

  5. Immediate ideas to be refined: “Grow young minds with XYZ.” “Our products nurture the best in children.” “Develop Redwood Tree Thinking Skills.” Feature A can “provide the soil for the learning to take root.” Feature B can “water their thinking to advance their abilities.” Etc.

You can see that whatever Wendy chooses, it is going to be much more engaging than "solutions."

Stand Out in a Very Noisy World

As of this writing, Wendy has not made her decision. But that needn’t matter to you. Look at the tired concepts in your presentations. Sit down with your colleagues, play The Metaphor Game, and give those clichés a make-over to get your products, services, and ideas noticed and remembered by your clients.

Make what you say pay — with metaphors.
Anne Miller

I am re-issuing my book Metaphorically Selling in the next two months, which is now very low in stock. The expanded book will be called, The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone and will include the original book plus 23+ Metaphor Minute-type anecdotes.

As the world becomes a noisier and noisier place in which to sell products, services, or ideas, the need for visual communication becomes increasingly critical to success, so I am very excited to be doing this.

Will you do me a favor? I am ashamed to admit it, but I do not have the best handle on what all of you loyal readers do. Can you drop me an email with just your job title and country in the subject box? That will help me enormously in targeting future announcements about the book. Many thanks!

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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. © 2012. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2012, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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