Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Analogies: Your Best Friend

by Narmeen Iqbal & Robyn Hatcher

According to Dictionary.com, an analogy is: “a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects”.

They are also your best friend when giving presentations and communicating with people. Analogies help listeners grasp concepts and ideas more easily. They help listeners mentally visualize the connection between one form of reasoning by interpreting it through another form of reasoning.

An excellent example of the use of analogy by a Marketing Professor at Indian Institute of Management (IIM). I compares marketing concepts to meeting a gorgeous girl at a party.  Like many effective analogies, this analogy uses a touch of humor. 

  • You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say: "I am very rich. Marry me!" – “That's Direct Marketing”.
  • One of your friends points at you and says: "He's very rich. Marry him!" –“That's advertising”.
  • You go up to her and get her telephone number. The next day, you call and say: "Hi, I'm very rich. Marry me!"-“That’s Telemarketing”.
  • You get up and straighten your tie, you walk up to her and pour her a drink, you open the door of the car for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her ride and then say: "By the way, I'm rich. Will you marry me?" –“That's Public Relations”.
  • She walks up to you and says: "You are very rich! Can you marry me?" –“That's Brand Recognition”.
  • You go up to her and say: "I am very rich. Marry me!" She gives you a nice hard slap on your face-“That’s Customer Feedback”.
  • You go up to her and say: "I am very rich. Marry me!" And she introduces you to her husband-“That's demand and supply gap”.
  • Before you say anything, another person comes and tells her: "I'm rich. Will you marry me?" and she goes with him- “That’s competition eating into your market share”.
  • Before you say: "I'm rich, Marry me!" your wife arrives-“That's restriction for entering new markets”.
The effect of analogies is long lasting because they force you to form an image in your head and we are conditioned to remember visual information more readily than verbal information. I’m sure many of you reading this will think about these marketing terms the next time you’re at a party or a networking event. “Hmm… is this person using direct marketing or advertising?” 

I often use the analogy of baseball pitching to describe “Elevator pitches”. (read article) And I love uncovering analogies to help my clients come up with a unique way to describe their business or a  selling point of their product or service. For example; in working with a Whiskey Master Blender who was speaking about an extremely expensive aged scotch whiskey, I replaced an overused and incongruent gimmick he was using with an analogy of a piece of coal (the different raw whiskeys) turning into a gorgeous, luxurious diamond (the finished aged scotch). This analogy was visual, (he incorporated actual coal and diamond props) and conveyed to his audience the rarity and preciousness of his product. 

What analogies can you come up with for your business or service? Feel free to test them out here and I'll let you know my thoughts.

For more information about crafting your content, download a complimentary chapter of my book, Standing Ovation Presentations.


  1. My artwork is like little angels buzzing around your head...sweet images whispering silly, soothing words to your soul.

    I dunno Robyn...that literally just popped out of my head after reading this article. Does that work?

    I've been having a hard time branding myself...this article was helpful.

    Mary Ann Farley

  2. Hey Mary Ann,

    sorry it too me awhile to get back. I've been away. Like that analogy I might suggest finding another word for buzzing because it sounds a little annoying. How about "fluttering" or something like that.

    All the best1!

  3. Analogies.. yeah! They are my favourite way of expressing thoughts.. I use them a lot in my blog posts!


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