Metaphors and gravity

Planet_orbits2 Metaphors have gravitational weight. People choose to orbit them. Or to be more accurate people think they have ideas when the ideas really have them. If you are talking on a certain topic there are only a limited number of metphors that relate to them. Which you will either head straight for. Or try to express something different but in a way which shows the dominance of the metaphors that were already there.  This is a new way of thinking for professional communicators who conventionally spend days if not weeks trying to find something relevant to say in a very unusual way. That way we reckon we get your attention and you are more likely to remember. But this doesn't work in a cluttered environment. No. What really works is finding a way to orbit the central metaphors in a way that keeps people involved with them.

To do that you need to understand which metaphors are important to people. There's a great piece in the Quirks' website this month about doing research which listens to what your research participants care about and how they express themselves instead of forcing your own agenda onto them because you paid them. When people talk about what matters to them you find out which metaphors they choose to orbit. And it gives you a chance to work out how a brand might help instead of getting in the way.

A lot of this thinking came from hearing Rosie Campbell's paper on totem pole language at the MRS conference this year. If your interested Revelation are featuring her in a webinar on June 1st check it out here.

But otherwise you might want to explore the wider ramifications of language and culture – something we all share. Which brings me back to CCO Camp with Grant McCracken at the end of this week when I bet this gets referenced at least once.



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