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    We are highly-skilled survey researchers with experience in almost all categories and markets.


    We have developed a unique sense-making model for qualitative research to understand how people really think.


    We also test business documents to assess whether the intended readers understand and can use them.  

Syllabell is about words. enSymbol is about culture.


en Symbol is our semiotics technique. Semiotics studies cultural material, such as media and cultural ritual to reveal cultural values, cultural codes and symbolism. The approach suits clients who who understand that people's perceptions and expectations have been shaped by their culture in ways that are outside their conscious awareness. Semiotics lets us see what those perceptions and expectations are. 

Why use Susan Bell Research for semiotics?

  • We have worked with semiotics for several decades and were the first to use it and promote it in Australia.
  • We are across all the major theories and know how to apply them to commercial marketing issues in ways that are easy to understand.
  • We innovate and use semiotics in contemporary ways, so while we can help you understand a market's residual, dominant and emergent codes - and there are new ways of thinking about this -  we can also go much further by drawing on a range of social semiotic theories and models such as narratives, myths and rituals.
  • We first started working with sensory semiotics 10 years ago and have since refined and updated our approach.
  • Susan Bell has spoken at conferences and webinars on semiotics and published papers on semiotics in peer-reviewed academic journals.

With en_symbol, we can help you to

  • Position or re-position your brand so it communicates in a contemporary way, through understanding how people use your brand symbolically, or by delving deeply into cultural themes such as 'wellness' and freshness.
  • Enter a new category by mapping brand image against category trends
  • Develop products and services by understanding how sensory elements create the experience
  • Create packaging for your product which conveys your intended meaning clearly and powerfully.

Syllabell is desk-based analysis of anything your organisation has written, based on discourse analysis. Syllabell diagnoses how your organisation communicates through language - its 'linguistic palette'. It is also a quick way to define your competitive context through analysis of the language used on competitors' websites or social media.

This technique is for clients who want to understand what people mean as well as what they say. 

Why use Susan Bell Research?

We are linguistics trained, so we understand how to read the words that people write or speak and understand what they mean beyond what they say. We have studied discourse analysis in depth. 

We have an ebook on discourse analysis and several blogs:



Case Study - semiotic analysis of a new category

A multinational wanted to enter a new category in Australia. They wanted to know what the category 'meant' to Australians. Their U&A had told them about usage patterns and brand image but it had not shown them what cultural and emotional role the category played and where the opportunities and barriers to entry were. We conducted a semiotic audit of the category to reveal that tradition was a key cultural lodestone for the category. This client described this analysis as "really really insightful". We expect to see a launch soon.

Case Study - discourse analysis of websites

Our client is planning to relaunch a significant part of their business. This client is a not-for-profit organisation with a small research budget. We are conducting an online survey to gauge customer motivations for them but there is insufficient budget to conduct any exploratory qualitative. Therefore, we conducted a discourse analysis of all the websites of a range of similar organisations worldwide. This analysis clearly revealed two very different ways to communicate the benefits of the new offering. We will now test these two ways to communicate in the upcoming survey.


Visit our Resources page for free books and webinars on these topics.

Tags: Semiotics, Discourse Analysis, Ethnography, Hybrid methods, Language

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