Herding Cats

You might have spotted the video “Herding Cats” at the bottom of my blog. It is an extremely funny commercial from EDS, especially if you are a cat lover. My friend Thomas Verner pointed out to me that EDS actually did a series of videos, all using the same kind of metaphorical approach.

According to Gerald Zaltman, consumers use seven deep metaphors in order to orient themselves in the world. By understanding them, companies can frame their marketing better. These deep metaphors are balance, transformation, journey, container, connection, resource and control. He has described these and a method for extracting them in his book “Marketing Metaphoria”. The method requires people to collect images that they think relate to a specific product and are used as a point of departure in an interview.

In cognitive linguistics, deep metaphors are a well-researched area and the book “Metaphors we live by” by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. The former is very much engaged in demonstrating how metaphors are and can be used in politics. His latest book is called “The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 20th Century American Politics with an 18th Century Brain” and he has used some of his findings when analysing speeches made by Barack Obama.

When looking into what voters seem to try to understand about a politician (Values, Authenticity, Communication, Judgment, Trust and Identity) it seems to me that they are very similar to what you want to understand about companies. There is a great trend towards looking at yourself as a brand, so why shouldn’t companies see themselves as persons?

Take a look at the EDS videos. They are witty and still very accurate illustrations of what it is like working in the software consulting industry. And the comments are quite interesting too.

Looking at these I was reminded of the now classic Norwegian Helpdesk video, where a monk is instructing a fellow brother in how to use a book. Hilarious!

If you want to learn more about how to combine metaphors and storytelling, there is no better way than to go on a Metafari!

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