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GIOVANNI MARRONE

Brand language. Methods and models of semiotic analysis

  • Authors: Marrone, G.; Mangano, D.
  • Publication year: 2015
  • Type: Capitolo o Saggio (Capitolo o saggio)
  • Key words: semiotica, brand

Abstract

There are several reasons why scrutinizing brands from a semiotic point of view is mandatory. Some of them are technical, and relate to the fact that brands are above all pieces of communication; others pertain to a recent and pervasive cultural phenomenon whereby brands have migrated from marketing to everyday social life. A brand is a mark, a sign that, by producing various possible meanings, generates pragmatic effects on subjects and objects: it identifies, transforms and gives them value(s). A wide roster of social phenomena are rooted in brands as signs: communication strategies, production and reception of discourses, inter-subjective dynamics, changes in a collective imaginary, identity construction processes, forms of life. Although the logic of branding was initially economically rational, based on calculated needs and their satisfaction potential, it soon became something else: from mere “subject”, in structuralist semiotic terms, that used to function as a mediator between a company and its consumers, to a catalyst of transformation of the relations between these two actorial figures (companies and consumers). Contemporary brands do not merely provide guarantees for product quality, but also for social values that become clearly perceivable only once they are embedded into products. We are not going to deal with social and cultural aspects of branding in general. Instead, we are going to focus on methodological aspects of semiotic models for understanding and managing the language of brands. These models are applicable throughout product categories and media. We are going to illustrate our approach from three product categories: automotive, sports and food/ beverage.

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