Semiotics addresses the significance of signs, symbols and messages in communication, based on the meanings attached to these by people. Brands utilize these to fill in the need-fulfilment gap in a consumer’s mind. All their marketing and advertising are channeled towards communicating and creating meanings in the target audience’s minds.
Most often, brands are synonymous with status or virility. Thus, semiotics helps with brand development as well as brand positioning and management. It can also help with identifying problems and devising solutions to reposition brand.
What is the role of semiotics in marketing?
Brands lean on semiotics for the following –
Verbal messages, shapes, sounds and images are used to build or reiterate mental concepts in consumers’ minds, like logos, taglines and packaging.
How do consumers perceive branding messages?
From the consumer’s perspective, these are what the signs mean –
All these symbols and signs add up to a certain meaning based on the individual’s social, cultural and personal context. Apple is one of the best examples for brands using semiotics effectively. Over decades, the brand has secured a certain perception of status and lifestyle in consumers’ minds, and that’s the reason people wait in queues for hours to buy an apple product.
What do signs and symbols mean to consumers?
Colours are associated with meaning from an emotional and psychological level. Most fast food outlets have red in their logo because it is perceived as the most hunger-inspiring colour. Another example is a combination of dark blue and gold, which is used to get the attention of mature and blue-collar audiences.
Shapes are considered to be one of the most powerful form of semiotics that’s part of a brand’s visual marketing strategy. Circle is associated with a feeling of friendship and warmth (Example – the logo of Pepesi). Whereas, square stands for power and professionalism (Example – the logo of Mitsubishi Motors).
Fonts should ideally be in sync with the desired verbal identity for the brand. The message that needs to be communicated via taglines and ads would depend not just on the actual content, voice and tone, but also on the font style. For example, comic sans wouldn’t be the right choice for a corporate brand.
Consumers connect with how a brand interacts with them and creates experiences to fulfill their needs and wants. Cultural trends, in addition to behavioural norms should be researched and applied to initiate and strengthen this connect.
All the above should be aligned to create a positive ethos by communicating a brand’s core values, such that it resonates with target consumers. Authenticity is a sure shot way to cement brand loyalty in their minds.