Visualize the following features: quality, powerful, reliable.
Having trouble? Me too.
That’s where metaphors can help:
“…life insurance companies use ideas associated with various symbols such as umbrellas (Travelers), rocks (Prudential Insurance Company), and hands (Allstate) to convey qualities of protection, sturdiness, and support” (Zaltman & Zaltman, 2008, p. 35).
Metaphors bring abstract ideas into the sensory world. They provide readers with building blocks that can paint these mental images.
Your message becomes more persuasive when you strengthen the mere vividness of mental imagery. Compare these two insurance plans:
- Death by terrorism
- Death by any reason
In the second plan, people are covered by any reason—including terrorism — but, ironically, they found it less appealing (Johnson, Hershey, Meszaros, & Kunreuther, 1993).
Don’t ask sales prospects if they want to “chat” this week. This verb is abstract and vague. Instead, ask if they want to “Zoom” this week? Even if you don’t talk via Zoom, this word strengthens this mental imagery of the conversation.
Refer to my book Imagine Reading This Book for other ideas.