How to use semiotics

The Esomar publication RWConnect has been a running a series of articles on semiotics (the RWC Semiotic Serieswritten by some of the world’s leading commercial semioticians. They have described the work they have been doing and its relevance to marketers. It certainly shows that semiotics is alive and well across Europe, in the UK and USA.

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Are we wasting the uniquely human gift of language?

Over the last few years, I have attended many conferences and read lots of blogs from people who do not want research participants to talk. These writers and speakers (oh the irony!) say that researchers cannot ask people what they are thinking, because people don’t know what their unconscious or non-conscious minds are doing.  

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The language of emoji

Ever the language-obsessed researcher, I spent some of my summer break studying the language of emoji! It seems to me to be a useful skill for researchers to learn how emojis are used and how we should interpret them.

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The books that inspired me


Research News recently featured the books that inspired five AMSRS Fellows including me. These are mine and I think they speak volumes (pun intended) of the kind of work that I personally do. They are symbolic in fact! My other team members Suzanne Burdon and Jane Gregory and others who join us from time to time also bring their own special skills to our projects.

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The Bear and the Barron: Visual Rhetoric in the Frame in Trump’s Victory Speech

Chris Arning is a semiotician based in the UK. I have had the pleasure to work with Chris several times. Here is Chris giving us great insight in to Donald Trump's communication strategy, and how we use semiotics to make sense of today's world. As Chris says:

"What is unique to the semiotic enterprise is the methodology’s sensitivity to taking in and observing what other approaches neglect and another is its awareness of the meaning in the image. In addition to this, semiotics should bring a cultural memory to the task of making sense of today’s world – a world where media obfuscation and manipulation are all too common. If indeed we are entering a ‘post-truth era’ as seems to have become the received wisdom, then politics and the projection of ideology through media organs, is surely a critical facet of this. If semiotics is not relevant here, then I don’t know when or where it is?"

You can read the full article here:

Solving complex problems with sense-making

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around it"  1

Sense-making is a new way to think about how to research complex problems. It does that by focussing on how people ‘make sense of’ concepts, communications and marketing offers of all kinds.

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