The Perfect Partnership of Consumer Insight and Semiotics

Written by Suzy Clemo

Consumer insight is about individuals, their experiences, attitudes and behaviour. Market researchers endeavour to immerse themselves in the world of consumers in order to see through their eyes, and condense this knowledge into actionable insight for their clients.

Semiotics has a wider perspective; learning instead from the culture that consumers operate in. Semioticians analyse culture by collecting knowledge about the signs, symbols, narratives and meanings that are present. Signs and symbols encompass words and expressions, patterns and images, colours and shapes, sounds and tones, smells – and can be experienced by consumers with all five senses.

This high level of analysis allows semioticians to map how cultural meanings and trends have changed from the past and how they may change in the future. Also, they have a global view. Culture is different in each market, and a semiotician must understand this context. You can see how this can complement and build on individual consumers’ experiences, which are inherently personal, rooted in the current time and in their own culture.

Recently, we combined a qualitative digital hub with a semiotic review to explore the personal care market in South Korea. For our client, South Korea was an unknown – they have conducted little research there, and so they needed to immerse themselves in the market to identify potential opportunities for their brands. We got close to Korean consumers in real time, in their homes via our qualitative hub; finding out about their behaviour and attitudes towards personal care through video diaries and creative tasks. At the same time, our semiotic partner conducted an analysis of current and emerging trends and themes in personal care in the market. We were able to combine our findings to provide a wide ranging, inspiring and detailed view on the Korean consumer and potential opportunities for our client, who was delighted!

The integration of semiotics with traditional research methodologies offers the perfect partnership to inspire brand development, communication and innovation.

If any of this piques your interest, and you’d like to find out more about how RDSi can help your business, please feel free to contact;

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