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(617) 327-3969

Cracking category and cultural codes… since 1999.

Strategy & Research

Semiotic analysis doesn't replace brand strategy or traditional consumer research; it complements these disciplines. When there is a disconnect between consumer perception of a brand and the brand's current code execution, the brand faces a crisis. The tools produced by our analysis — e.g., cultural and category code maps, brand identity keys, brand maps, communications guardrails, and "R-D-E" trajectories — are critically useful in pointing a way to crisis's resolution.

Typically, we work with the client and/or agency before any consumer research takes place. The output of our semiotic analysis — e.g., analysis of a specific cultural or market category; communications and/or pack design from a specific brand and/or its competitive set; or all of the above — is used to develop specific inputs into the consumer research. We then loop back in order to analyze the consumer research output.

We have conducted semiotic analysis of the following consumer research outputs, among others.

  • Answers to interview questions
  • Materials created during focus group exercises
  • Pinterest boards and liveblogs created by forward-thinking consumers
  • Photos uploaded by brand fans to social media platforms including Facebook.

Semiotic analysis complements qualitative and quantitative consumer research in the following ways:

  • Creating a proprietary brand strategy.
  • Developing a meaningful brand key.
  • Using qualitative research to refine and develop advertising, innovation, and communication strategies based on cultural and market category codes.
  • Identifying meaningful visual and verbal language which are ownable by the brand.