Brand Metaphor

Brand Metaphor - Roy Castle

One of the struggles of being in business for yourself as a business expert, subject matter expert or thought leader is to establish your reputation and ideally, create a unique market position.

By being unique you:

  • Give yourself a greater chance of standing out in a noisy marketplace.
  • Can charge more for your services because you don’t compete directly with others.
  • Have a stronger sense of self and the inspiration that goes with this.

Image: A Visual Metaphor by The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation – passive smoking is as deadly as using a gun!

Brand Metaphor

One of the simple ways to create your unique market position is to use a brand metaphor. This is a turn of phrase that compares what you do to something else.

I call myself the ‘Ideas Architect’. This is my brand metaphor. It works because it is based on the unique story of who I am and my personal background. I literally used to be an architect and no longer design buildings. Instead, I help people design their ideas.

Brand Metaphor Examples

Here are some real examples…

  • Me – Ideas Architect – Designer of ideas
  • Helen McDonald – Corporate Optimist – using optimism to get better results in a corporate environment
  • Lynette Hoy – Firetalker – a PR firm that fans the flames of people talking about your business
  • Jennie Vickers – Zeopard Law – (zebra and leopard) – because the law is not always black and white
  • Amazon – a reference to the biggest river in the world and founder Jeff Bezos’ vision to create the biggest store in the world

[Tweet “Create a #brandmetaphor to claim your unique market position”]

Qualities of a Good Brand Metaphor

Here are three qualities for a good brand metaphor:

  • It’s fresh, new and alive! – The whole point of this approach is to be innovative and original. In other words, avoid using clichés because they’ll dent your market position.
  • It Fits! – Shortly after I started using ‘Ideas Architect’ a string of people around me started popping up with the word ‘architect’ in their moniker. In most cases, it didn’t work because it wasn’t a true reflection of who they were or where they had come from. Also, a good brand metaphor needs to mirror your personality. If you’re fun then a fun name will work. If not…
  • It’s provocative! – Now and then when I say I am the ‘Ideas Architect’ I hear the reply, ‘what is that?’ That’s a good result. You want to stimulate interest in what you do without being too abstract that no one gets it.

How to create your Brand Metaphor

To create your brand metaphor the two key questions to ask are:

  1. What do I do?
  2. What is that like?

It might take some time to come up with the perfect brand metaphor. The only trick is to come up with lots of examples until you find one that fits you and your business.

More Examples

Here are some more examples that I just made up…

  • Money Tree – wealth advisor who believes that money really does grow on trees
  • Key Master – master networker who can open almost any door through their connections
  • Ideas Catcher – graphic artist who captures the key ideas for your conference
  • Clock Builder – systems designer – so your business will run like clockwork
  • Piggy Banker – personal finance advisor – save more of what you earn

Comment: I’d love to collect some more examples. If you already use a brand metaphor then share it below.


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