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Using Semiotics in Marketing Chapters 7-9 with Rachel Lawes Read-a-long

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NOTE this webinar series is ongoing from 23rd April 2020. This presentation reflects the 11th June 2020 webinar.
If you'd like to join these ongoing sessions, please check out the timetable below in this description area*

If you work in marketing or market research, or if any aspect of your job involves understanding consumers, there’s never been a better time to get into semiotics. Brands around the world are rapidly taking it up. It strengthens brand communications, guides design and ensures that everything is pitch-perfect for global and local markets. It bridges the gap between culture and psychology, giving a clear view of how the deepest emotions and needs of the individual are connected to national tastes, politics and changing social trends. It’s also unique in being the only market research method which is expressly designed to unlock the meaning of visual images.

Until now, the only barrier for would-be users and practitioners was that semiotics was considered hard to access and rather academic. All that has changed with the publication of ‘Using Semiotics in Marketing: How to achieve consumer insight for brand growth and profits’. Described by reviewers as “immensely readable”, “crystal clear” and “generous” in sharing the author’s 20 years of commercial experience, ‘Using Semiotics’ is the first book to offer a complete step-by-step course for marketers that takes away the barriers to entry and empowers everyone to conduct their own research and find original insights for brands. No previous experience or training is required and readers who follow all the steps have a completed, publishable project by the end of the book.

This is the first webinar in a series in which Dr Rachel Lawes, the author of ‘Using Semiotics in Marketing’ and Ray Poynter, a luminary of British market research, read the book together, over a handful of episodes. Everyone is invited to join us and is guaranteed to look at the world differently by the end. Semiotics will permanently change the way you think about marketing, brands and consumers and eventually it will change the way you think about your own culture and your own life.


- COMPLETED EVENT: 23 April, Presentation by Dr Rachel Lawes on semiotics, what it is it, why you might be interested in it, and what will the book help you achieve?
- COMPLETED EVENT: 21 May, Review of chapters 1-3, questions and comments from readers
- COMPLETED EVENT: 11 June, Review of chapters 4-6, questions and comments from readers
- COMPLETED EVENT: 2 July, Review of chapters 7-9, questions and comments from readers
- COMING UP: 23 July, Review of chapters 10-12, questions and comments from readers

You will need to acquire a copy of the book if you want to read along with the group, available in e-form, paperback and hardback from Kogan Page, Amazon and other retailers.

Click here to register for the final session: https://bit.ly/2ZtGEYL

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Using Semiotics in Marketing Chapters 7-9 with Rachel Lawes Read-a-long

  2. 2. Sponsors Gold Silver
  3. 3. •  How to do semiotic field trips •  Combining semiotics with ethnography and DA •  Data – Insight - Strategy recommendations
  4. 4. 42% Homewares. DIY stores re- opened early. 24% Other non-food, eg clothing. Food.
  5. 5. 1.  if you’re feeling brave, go shopping; look & take notes 2.  staying indoors? pick a product and collect Amazon reviews 3.  strategy: tell your client how to respond to our changing world photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash
  7. 7. Pro tip: Often, there is a difference between reality (a convenience store) and representations of reality (an historical toffee shop). Semiotics is primarily concerned with representations. Ask yourself: is the physical world around me trying to achieve some persuasive effect? Semiotic Field Trips Photo reproduced with kind permission of Dales Toffee Shop, England.
  8. 8. Pro tip: the following question can be applied to all cultural products, from buildings to packaging to newspaper headlines. How could this have been done differently? If the item could have been made, expressed or built in any other way, then the fact that it was done in this way means something. Semiotic Field Trips Photo reproduced with kind permission of PricewaterhouseCoopers, United States.
  9. 9. Semiotics with Ethnography & Discourse Analysis Photo by Will Myers on Unsplash.
  10. 10. Disclaimer: not an exhaustive list. Ethnography Semiotics Discourse Analysis Main focus Observe reality Observe representations of reality Observe how speakers manage reality Capturing data Usually video Could be still photos Usually transcripts or text Special powers Capture action sequences, behavioural routines Capture features of the environment which are otherwise overlooked Recognise when people are being defensive
  11. 11. Pro tip: An insight is not merely an observation. It is distinguished by its ability to cause change. It upsets conventions or makes you look at things in a new way. Data – Insight – Strategy
  12. 12. Pro tip: Use your knowledge of change to make recommendations for marketing. Be brave. It’s your job to have radical ideas. Data – Insight – Strategy
  13. 13. Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash SO … HOW’S YOUR PROJECT?
  14. 14. •  Writing-up & sharing your findings •  Hot topics: AI, semiotics around the world •  Self-development & your future career WRITE! Webinar 23 July. Read chapters 10, 11 & 12
  15. 15. let’s discuss! Dr Rachel Lawes Ray Poynter