In an oversaturated marketplace, brands need the extra edge that comes from having their message and reality in alignment. When that alignment exists, when the promise made by the brand experience is fulfilled by the actual product or service, their customers can sense something genuinely different and appealing about them—even if they can’t quite identify what it is.
Effective brand metaphors are crafted based on specific, relevant attributes of the brand. It can’t just be clever and interesting; it has to be specific, or it’ll only serve to further confuse consumers about what the brand is all about.
False or irrelevant messaging is unsustainable. Those who take this approach can coast for a while and may even see some success before it unravels. Inevitably, though, the slow attrition of disillusioned customers takes its toll. The long-term loss isn’t worth the short-term gain.
So, any brand metaphor process must include an initial step of thoroughly identifying the key characteristics of the brand that should be communicated through the brand metaphor. Without this crucial step, the resulting brand may be distinctive among its competitors, but it would ultimately fail due to irrelevance.