Implications of the Developments in Metaphors Research for Marketing Communications: A Review and Research Agenda: An Abstract

  • Sreedhar MadhavaramEmail author
  • Dorcia Bolton
  • Vishag Badrinarayanan
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science book series (DMSPAMS)


Metaphors are pervasive in everyday life, not only in language but also in thought and action. In addition to increasing the effectiveness of communication, metaphors have also contributed toward theory development in social science. Specifically, in the marketing discipline, there is a rich tradition of research based on metaphors. However, a systematic review of advancements in research on metaphors and, correspondingly, research in marketing communication regarding and employing metaphors, reveals that the potential of metaphors and metaphoric transfer for marketing communication remains under-realized. Given that metaphors research has been developed in disparate fields, such as linguistics, psychology, and social sciences, understandably, research on metaphors is fraught with non-conciliatory issues with regard to conceptualization, different types of metaphors, uses, and metaphoric theory. Therefore, on the foundations of the significant developments in metaphors research that can be useful for marketing communications scholarship, we undertake a systematic overview as to the status of research on metaphors in order to develop an appropriate framework for reviewing metaphors and explore implications for the domain of marketing communications. Specifically, we develop a brief review of metaphor conceptualizations, various typologies in metaphors, uses of metaphors, models of metaphor, and potential issues with and pitfalls of metaphors. To demonstrate that marketing research can be significantly advanced by focusing on metaphors as linguistic tools and as well as research tools that can spark inquiry, the objectives of this research are to: (i) provide an up-to-date review of metaphors research in terms of conceptualization, types of metaphors, uses of metaphors, models of metaphor, and issues and pitfalls of metaphors; (ii) identify several communication and theoretical metaphors that are relevant to marketing communication; and (iii) develop a research agenda on the different roles of metaphors for the domain of marketing communications. Consequently, the contributions and implications of this research for marketing communication scholarship are discussed.


Marketing communications Metaphors Theory development Linguistic metaphors Theoretical metaphors 

Copyright information

© The Academy of Marketing Science 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sreedhar Madhavaram
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dorcia Bolton
    • 2
  • Vishag Badrinarayanan
    • 3
  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Auburn University at MontgomeryMontgomeryUSA
  3. 3.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

Personalised recommendations