Sense and meaning

Our en-symbol technique is for clients who want to gain semiotic insight within a qualitative research project to understand what a product. service or brand means to the people who buy and use it.  Semiotic analysis tells us about the cultural concepts and codes that influence how people experience products and services  while qualitative research tell us about the meaning of that experience.  

Our approach suits clients who are looking for the depth of 'people' understanding that comes from qualitative research, yet who understand that people's perceptions and expectations have been shaped by their culture in ways that are outside their

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. Our semiotic work is much much more than a researcher simply spotting packaging cues in a group discussion. We offer insight backed by rigorous analysis and knowledge.

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

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.

Tags: Semiotics, Rituals, Cultural insight, Narratives, Myths, Implicit

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