Quizz: Testing Metaphors

Quizz: Testing Metaphors

Metaphors, like all other elements of the message, need to be tested.

The Framework Institute does this in various ways.

First they conduct on-the-street interviews, by which they test how several metaphors work on changing the perception of random public members.

They then isolate a few “candidate metaphors” that seem to work best and enter a second more scientific testing stage where they test metaphors for stickiness and usability.

Stickiness is appreciated by the metaphor’s capacity to be passed on by one person to another, by the way the metaphor can be transferred, and how well it travels within the target group without being altered. This is tested by watching how the people from a test group who have been exposed to the metaphor can use this metaphor in discussions with members of the target group who have not been exposed. These are called “persistence trials”.

Usability tests whether advocates will actually use this metaphor. This is tested by exposing advocates and experts to the metaphor and see how confidently they use it in their interactions with a focus group.

All the above tests will isolate which metaphor best conveys a complex issue in a simple and sticky way.