Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Metaphorically Speaking

On BNET, angel investor John Warrillow tips his hat to the "strategic metaphor."

A strategic metaphor is powerful not because it's apt, but because it's handy. 

Swamped by inbound messages, consumers need a convenient hook to hang yours on.

Provide that hook, and they're more likely to listen to you.  

"A strategic metaphor gives people a cheat sheet for understanding what you do," Warrillow says.

He cites as examples:
  • A start-up that offers a "deal of the day" on chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists is "the Groupon of alternative medicine.”
  • A classy car dealership is “the Ritz-Carlton of Ford dealers.”
  • A manufacturer of sexy sportswear is “the Victoria’s Secret of cycling apparel.”
  • A retailer of furniture for the corner office is "the Mercedes-Benz of office furniture.”
It's easy to find your strategic metaphor, Warrillow says.  Decide what you want your brand to stand for; go to Interbrand’s list of the top 100 brands; and choose one that represents your aspiration.

So, within your niche, if you want to represent "the most reliable," you're FedEx; "the speediest," McDonald’s; "the most rigorous," McKinsey; "the most upscale," Rolex.  And so forth.  

Find your strategic metaphor, Warrillow urges, "because the faster you can describe your business to new customers, investors, and employees, the better your chance of holding their attention long enough for them to buy what you’re selling."

My strategic metaphor?

I'm "the Jaguar of copywriters."  

What's yours?
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