Most companies pay a lot of attention to their formal messages. They’ll work for hours writing and re-writing slogans. They’ll spend days trying to perfect their mission statement. They’ll work hard to get their press release just right.
Metaphors, on the other hand, attract very little formal attention or review. Ask an employee what it’s like to work for a company and they’ll often use metaphors in their response. These metaphors typically are not carefully crafted. They occur naturally, without forethought or guile. Precisely for this reason, they provide an excellent window into what the company really thinks.
If you’re thinking of buying from or working for a company, pay particular attention to the metaphors that employees use. The metaphors will give you insights into the company that you’ll never glean from the formal messages.
If you’re an executive of the company, you also need to pay attention. Your employees may use metaphors that undercut the company’s position. Worse, they may have acquired those metaphors from you. Listen to the metaphors and decide whether you need to change them. If you do, you’ll need some new stories.
Learn more in the video.