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Don’t call me the Jane Austen of copywriting

Jane Austen teapot cookie

Jane Austen Teapot Cookie, via Wikipedia


Reading John Warrilow’s Don’t Try to Pitch Your Business Without One of These | BNET ( May 26, 2011) proved irksome. To Warrilow’s credit, the article met with great response from his followers. He suggests sub-metaphoring: In short, link your pitch to an existing successful enterprise. Whether the link is direct or not, didn’t seem to matter much.

In brief, the solution reads as a short-cut to seizing attention rather than achieving engagement that builds long-term value.

So here’s the comment I posted about borrowing another company’s metaphor:

Coy, but ultimately risky. Some may perceive your brand as a sycophant. Worse, if the primary brand repurposes, goes out of business, or suffers a crisis, your own brand inherits the consequences. Ultimately, any brand’s meaning is held by your customers. Certainly research the success of other brands. Still, best to begin at the beginning and find your own brand’s metaphors, symbols, and USP. One day your brand, too, could be the new Facebook.

The Jane Austen of copywriting

Yes, my use of mixed metaphors is intentional.

Jane Austen, the author, did inspire me to find my inner storyteller. Indeed, I write to and about relationships that take twists and turns through every tail, funnel, circle, and ocean of marketing. Perhaps that’s why I often write about tea and coffee — two naturals for conversation in my culture.

Yet, does it help me pitch my creative consulting services? Not really. Neither would I describe myself as The Lillian Vernon of the digital age. One, there’s only one Lillian Vernon. Her process, legacy is unique. If people could be trademarked, she certainly should be.

Don’t let the madmen (or gals) fool you: The use of symbols and metaphors to convey a message is as old as well, messaging. They are the original text messaging. If you agree with the symbol, metaphor, then you’ll agree with what comes next.

Do I wish it were easier? No. It’s hard work and the  rewards are well worth the effort.

What’s your experience?

Have you ever had to develop a pitch with an “inherited” or “enforced” metaphor? How did it work out? Were you able to turn things around?

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