Using semiotics in brands, through having a better understanding of how the brand is communicating to customers and how the brand is being perceived by customers, can take brands to a whole new level.
What is semiotics?
To put it simply, semiotics is the scientific study of signs and symbols and how they are understood within culture. The practice typically further breaks these signs down into 2 elements:
These are the physical forms which elicit a meaning. For example, objects or words.
This is the undertone, or secondary meaning, of what the signifier. It’s the emotion or sense that things like objects, words or images illicit within a certain cultural and social context.
One example that is often used to explain these two concepts more simply is that of an apple.
Let’s break it down: In the case of an apple, the sign is the apple itself. The object (or “the signifier”) is the apple’s colour and the fact that it’s round (ish) in shape. The signified elements of the apple are the connotations or hidden meanings that we associate with it within our culture and society: It’s healthy, it’s fresh, and maybe it brings to mind Apple – the brand – too.