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It’s Simple, Actually – Just Use a Metaphor

By October 26, 2005April 24th, 2022No Comments
ibm headquarters building in india, ibm's new advertising campaign just use a metaphor

I came across an interesting article from Business 2.0 Magazine (update: magazine no longer exists) today. IBM is following a story-driven approach in its new advertising — use a metaphor.

I am a huge fan of using visual metaphors in your business stories, especially in your elevator pitch, Better Tomorrow Message, and presentations (think data with storytelling). Visual metaphors impart so much emotion and connection in a condensed and effective way. The challenge is to get people to feel comfortable using them in a purposeful way in their communication. It is one of the hurdles my customers and workshop attendees face in developing their own stories.

Once they work through the hurdle, it’s a warming feeling to see the smiles on their faces. Looking back and comparing older IBM advertising campaigns, I can just imagine how big of a hurdle IBM had in accepting this audience-centered way of communicating its messages.

I copied three paragraphs below from the Business 2.0 Magazine article.

Just Use a Metaphor

“Let’s face it: Management consultants are a dull lot. Jet-lagged and overworked, they wander the world spouting tired buzzwords about “enriching the customer experience” or “strengthening supply chain relationships.”

“It’s simple, actually:  Just use a metaphor. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. Add a little drama, conflict, and character development — and, of course, a happy ending — and a sleepy high-tech service advertisement can start to feel, well, almost human. That’s the underlying strategy of IBM’s latest Global Services campaign, which will be unveiled this week at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The topic may be dull, but the approach, created by IBM and its advertising agency of record, Ogilvy, surely is not. “

“According to Ogilvy group creative director Andy Berndt, who helped dream up the campaign, here’s how it works: ‘You take boring, complicated stuff and explain it. Since the topic isn’t that interesting, you need to add some dialogue and characters with humor.’ “

Further Reading on Language, Messaging, and Words

  • Avoid the Word “Anxious”  (read)
  • Anaphora – Increase Impact with this Word Repetition  (read)
  • Leave Your “But” Behind – Strengthen Your Communication (read)
  • Use Visual Words in Your Story to Improve Dramatically Your Impact  (read)
  • The Wilted Spinach Test – Do Your Content and Messages Relate and Resonate?  (read)

Photography Source (Updated 2020):  Wikipedia
#advertising #media #personalization #chiefstoryteller

Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.