Metaphors say so much about brands

Vivid metaphors are compelling for communicating brand essence.   Metaphors are memorable because they convey a visual experience. Here are four brands from diverse categories who are leveraging the power of metaphor in their brand building. Each conveys their essence using a metaphor to tap into the deeply held motivations of their customers.

Merrell...The outdoor footwear and clothing company leverages the metaphor of climbing like a mountain goat, nature’s surefooted mountaineer, for its Capra brand.   The brand even has a hoof-inspired design.  By tapping into this metaphor, Capra conveys it is a brand that understands and delivers to a climber’s desire to tackle mountains instinctively and without hesitation.

Cienne...This fashion brand is founded on the beauty of the unexpected.   To do so it blends and celebrates opposites thereby activating the metaphor of paradox.  The brand merges feminine and masculine, traditional and modern, globally sourced and New York made.  It is in the celebration of duality that Cienne conveys its’ unique understanding of the customer longing for strong coffee in a delicate cup. 

OneWind…The brand promise for this renewable energy company is to  ‘reap every gust’.   Using the farming metaphor, One Wind humanizes technicians and engineers and turns turbines into flocks.  Implicit in the metaphor is that OneWind has the same drive and dedication as farmers caring for their crops.  It creates customer assurance that this volatile energy source is controlled and harvested with care.  

Aesop… Like the storyteller of morality tales after whom this Australian skincare company was named, the brand advocates balance in life.  There is balance between physical and intellectual beauty as delivered in their Fabulist newsletter with its articles focusing on the arts.   Skincare is framed in a life balanced with diet, exercise, a moderate intake of red wine and a regular dose of stimulating literature.

The mastery of the metaphor in all examples reveals the brand essence, tells an engaging brand story and responds to deep human desires and motivations.   We can’t shake metaphors because they are mental models and part of our implicit memory.   They make sense of what we want to communicate.