Why you should use Symbolism to boost your visual impact.

One of the most powerful advertising techniques usable in social-visual media is to create symbolic representations of the key ideas you want to communicate with metaphors and similes.

An insurance company, for instance, could picture a man about to step on a banana to represent the unexpected risks in life.

Metaphors and similes are two excellent ways to communicate symbolic ideas.

You can create a metaphor by using two images or statements that are completely different, but when placed together create a new idea.

You can use words. Or visuals. Or both. You can create a metaphor to represent a characteristic of the brand. Or a feature of the service. Or a benefit of the product.

To create a metaphor, use one thing - a vivid statement or dramatic visual - to suggest another thing - your company, product or service.

A metaphor, by the way, is like a simile, but more powerful. A metaphor "is". A simile "is like". A metaphor equals. A simile is similar. But a simile can help you create a metaphor. Here's how:

- Start with the most basic idea, the key concept for your product. That might be 'safe' or 'agile' or 'bright' or "well engineered". Then sketch or write ways to express that idea.

- Complete the sentence, "This brand, service or product is likeĆ¢€¦."

- Fill in the blank: "The benefit to the consumer of this brand, product or service is like __________________"

A metaphor can be used to characterize the brand's personality. A branding campaign for an investment bank uses the visual metaphor of a fencer, for example, to characterize the company as aggressive yet sophisticated.

A metaphor can represent a product feature or a benefit to consumers. As in the ad for an iron enriched breakfast cereal showing a magnet attracting the cereal out of the bowl.

Another example, a "subservient chicken" is a metaphor for "having food prepared your way" at Burger King.

Creative tip: Metaphors can communicate internationally, cutting through language barriers. But they can also be culturally specific, meaning they fail to work outside the border. Also, make sure your metaphor is fresh. If you've seen it or heard it before, don't do it again.

Original article: Steven Lorin McNamara / AdCracker.com