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Presentation on "Semiotics in the Age of Digital" delivered at Insight Show, Olympia, London, 30th June 2011

Presentation on "Semiotics in the Age of Digital" delivered at Insight Show, Olympia, London, 30th June 2011

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    Insight show slides final june 2011 text Insight show slides final june 2011 text Presentation Transcript

    • ‘Semiotics in the age of digital’
      Thursday 30th June, 2011, 2pm
      1
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      01. WHAT IS SEMIOTICS?
      02. SEMIOTICS & WEB 1.0
      03. SEMIOTICS & WEB 2.0
      04. SEMIOTICS & WEB 3.0
      05. CONCLUSIONS
      2
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      01. WHAT IS SEMIOTICS?
      02. SEMIOTICS & WEB 1.0
      03. SEMIOTICS & WEB 2.0
      04. SEMIOTICS & WEB 3.0
      05. CONCLUSIONS
      3
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      Semiotics is the study of commercial signs…
      and the meanings they convey within culture
      Semiotics interprets the implicit messages that are embedded in graphic design, advertising, logos etc
      4
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      But sometimes, there are complex such as paintings, packaging or ads
      Complex texts communicate multiple meanings through
      the use of colour and typography and other elements
      5
    • CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      Semiotics and qualitative research come from separate traditions using different techniques
      QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
      SEMIOTICS RESEARCH
      PSYCHOLOGY
      CRITICAL THEORY
      CONSUMER GROUPS
      CLOSE READINGS
      INSTINCTS AND FEELINGS
      DECODING PACKS, ADS
      REPORTED OPINION
      INTERPRETATIVE PRACTICE
      CATEGORY MICROCOSM
      CULTURAL MACROCOSM
      Semiotics is particularly useful upstream in any consumer insight programme in order to provide foundational category knowledge
      6
    • CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      Commercial semiotics is the study of the meaning management in brands and design
      A STRONGER GRASP OF YOUR CATEGORY AND MARKETPLACE
      BREAKTHROUGH INSIGHTS FOR LONG-STANDING QUANDARIES
      Understanding what consumers won’t tell you – gaining a sense of how categories are structured symbolically. This helps brand owners obtain ground rules for creative strategy that can be leveraged throughout their brand communications.
      Semiotics invariably gets to the nub of the matter when research reports often repeat the same outcomes. Semiotics reframes business problems by placing them in a cultural macrocosm. It brings to light influences that challenge assumptions
      THE ‘EDGE’ IN HIGHLY CROWDED HIGHLY COMPETITIVE CATEGORIES
      ADVICE ON HOW TO SCALE BRANDS ACROSS BORDERS
      Semiotics enquires into how cultural difference alters customer interpretation of branded material – working equally confidently across brands and cultures. Semiotics helps managers to flex ideas globally and how to tailor them optimally.
      Semiotics provides extra provocation and the injection of magic that supplements qualitative research findings, providing critical revelations that lead to fruitful category disruption. In a competitive world semiotics is a critical advantage.
      7
    • CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      One key semiotic principle is that of DENOTATION and CONNOTATION
      DENOTATION
      1st layer, obvious meaning
      Literal and informational
      CONNOTATION
      2nd layer, obvious meaning
      Suggestive and metaphorical
      At the level of DENOTATION a rose is a flower but at the level of CONNOTATION it could signify love, England or left centre politics
      8
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      Skoda cake ad struck a chord was a successful ad, but what did it signify?
      This ad fell into the grouping of REGRESSION codes that signify a yearning
      to return drivers to a state of innocence and to return the fun to motoring
      9
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      This makes more sense when you consider what happening to the car industry:
      overcapacity, government regulatory and tax pressure, hyper competition, high buyer bargaining power, pressure on margins, peak oil & fuel system uncertainty
      The power of the car to move us is dwindling: status of the car in society
      is waning. These endemic concerns have percolated into UK advertising
      10
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM codes are an attempt to transform the idea of freedom from previous portrayal of acceleration and fun handling road, now looking increasingly unrealistic into the twitchy impulses of modern art.
      These semiotic codes all signify the desire to jump start conventional cars into a new paradigm, one which the industry is desperate to reach
      11
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      01. WHAT IS SEMIOTICS?
      02. SEMIOTICS & WEB 1.0
      03. SEMIOTICS & WEB 2.0
      04. SEMIOTICS & WEB 3.0
      05. CONCLUSIONS
      12
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      Semiotics views brands as consumable signs and the age of digital has allowed these signs to de-materialize and to become more diffuse
      MIT Media Labs have created a modular logo involving 3 intersecting spotlights to represent diverse employees a dynamic media environment
      - An extreme example as it boasts 40,000 permutations and 12 colours
      13
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      The two fundamental properties of brands online are immersion and inter-textuality – brands can plunge users into their worlds in a way that fundamentally changes the conventional idea of the sign and sign user
      More immersive browsers such ROME will create scenarios where the website is set to become more like virtual worlds such as Second Life where avatars wander through various spatial domains.
      14
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      For example, English language news channels that compete in a global market seeking to build their brands by breaking news stories, transmitting their editorial authority through graphics and offering multi platform access
      CCTV – red lucky colour in PRC
      France 24 – blue = French intellect
      NHK – diffuse and Japanese
      Black – Russian depth, mystery
      What is apparent is the extent to which they superficially resemble BBC and CNN whilst retaining their national character through livery etc
      15
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      RT is the news brands that best demonstrates the power of immersion and of inter-textuality by using a grey black penumbrous murkiness in line with its positioning of “Question More”
      Russia Today’s successful media strategy, with millions of page views, is a sign of an emerging multi-polar world. It is interesting how channels outer signs of globalized news whilst promoting their own agendas
      16
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      01. WHAT IS SEMIOTICS?
      02. SEMIOTICS & WEB 1.0
      03. SEMIOTICS & WEB 2.0
      04. SEMIOTICS & WEB 3.0
      05. CONCLUSIONS
      17
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      Semiotics has a number of useful potential applications when engaging
      with the social media space
      SOCIAL CONTENT INTERPRETATION
      CO-CREATION
      SORTING
      UNDERSTANDING
      DIGITAL MEMES
      A number of pilot projects are in progress in each of these areas but
      cannot be discussed due to confidentiality limitations
      18
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      01. WHAT IS SEMIOTICS?
      02. SEMIOTICS & WEB 1.0
      03. SEMIOTICS & WEB 2.0
      04. SEMIOTICS & WEB 3.0
      05. CONCLUSIONS
      19
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      The semantic web is the original vision of Tim Berners Lee
      who came up with the protocol for the internet in 1989
      The semantic web works via a tagging protocol called RDF which allows the underlying structure or meaning of data to be readable by machines
      20
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      A map of the progression of the internet by Nova Spivak.Xaxis denotes growing connectivity, and y-axis increasing knowledge.
      According to many, if Web 1.0 was about linking pages, Web 2.0 has been about linking people and Web 3.0 will be about linking data
      21
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      The way that all this data is linked together allows logical inferences to be made. For example, if Paul works for Frank and Frank works for Judy then the machine knows that Paul works for Judy and a similar principle can be applied to a geographical hierarchy too
      JUDY
      JUDY
      FRANK
      PAUL
      PAUL
      This allows querying machines on the web to reason rather than just by keyword matching. If it knows that Arial is a non-serifedfont and that the word ‘noir’ is a film genre not just a colour, this has major implications
      22
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      The way that all this data is linked together allows logical inferences to be made. For example, if Paul works for Frank and Frank works
      The ability to detect patterns across vast swathes of dispersed data could be very exciting and potentially revolutionary for semiotics. I believe that semantic web&semiotics can be mutually enriching.
       
      The semantic web helps semiotics to happen on a mass scale by recruiting semiotic technicians and by pulling data from the web. creating a more efficient, streamlined and standardized process.
      23
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      At the moment, the semiotics process is 100% human operated: interpretation happens through solo working with occasional data mergers between analysts to whom tasks have been parceled out
      DATA MERGER
      3. OBSERVATION &
      INTERPRETATION
      2. OBSERVATION &
      INTERPRETATION
      1. OBSERVATION &
      INTERPRETATION
      This process puts a big strain on individual human brain power and collating texts, the semantic web could radically configure this process
      24
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      The process would work as shown below, firstly tagging the data, then sorting through it by inferencing engines and finally analysis.
      Semiotic analysis findings could be shared over a wiki and if complex moving imagery and multimedia, via using multi modal dashboards
      25
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      Agreat example of a precursor to this is happening right now. BBC New Paintings site is an initiative allowing open source tagging of
      > 60,000 national paintings in order to make them more searchable
      This has been enthusiastically taken up by a community of art lovers
      from around the UK who are zealously placing tags on multiple items
      26
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      As more people add tags, more pinpoint and accurate tagging supersedes rougher tags and incorrect tags are weeded out
      So for example, the words ‘striations’ or ‘tessellations’ are more precisedescriptors than diagonals or oblongs for defining this painting and help it link it more closely to other works, for example Islamic decorative art.
      27
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      As more people add tags, more pinpoint and accurate tagging
      In the case of new mass scale semiotics a folksonomy of more
      advanced taggers could be formed for cleaning up data received from basic taggers to ‘tidy up’ and cull anomalous interpretations.
      Folksonomyis a combination of the words folks and taxonomy and is a socially propagated, collaboratively generated, open ended user driven categorization. These taggers would also devise apposite ontologies.
      28
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      So, for example if a beer client wants to create a new brand of international beer designed to work and they want to use a semiotic analysis to generate a graphic identity based on a mythical animal
      Beer Brands
      Animal Characters
      If they needed to firstly find out which brands currently used animals, this would involve commissioning local analyststo audit beer and spirits brands in their marketplaceand then look at brands with animal icons
      29
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      With the new system, once a critical mass of data has been tagged and annotated it would enable advanced querying of a dispersed database of beer labels and animal iconography worldwide
      Beer Brands
      Animal Icons
      This helps bounded rationality and would not only dredge up harder more niche, obscure brands (e.g. micro breweries) it would also make gathering texts much faster and more thorough and bring new information to light
      30
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      At the Sem Tech conference this year, a paper by a Professor of Radiology at Stanford University showed how visual pattern recognition of shapes and semantics helps in diagnosis of tumors through matching fresh cases to globally archived data on lesions.
      This got me thinking about how this could be applied to the world of branded and commercial imagery on the internet through pixel sensitive machine learning and could be combined with tag folksonomy cited above
      31
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      One possible benefit of this process would be a commonly agreed sort of protocol for semiotic investment in a brand. This would be enabled through real time monitoring of content published in RDF linked data by every brand.
      This helps bounded rationality and would not only dredge up harder more Analogous to Interbrand’sBrand index, an equivalent Symbolic Brand Index would measure connotations identified with each brand, feeding in metrics of coherence, consistency and discounting negative associations
      32
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      01. WHAT IS SEMIOTICS?
      02. SEMIOTICS & WEB 1.0
      03. SEMIOTICS & WEB 2.0
      04. SEMIOTICS & WEB 3.0
      05. CONCLUSIONS
      33
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      As an example of how semiotics is changing, in 2010 I founded the Semiotic Thinking Group on Linked In it is now close to 600 members – an excellent forum for debate on all topics for finding overseas partners to getting ideas.
      I recently crowd-sourced views for a conference paper and this sort of dispersed network could provide a valid prototype for both the tagging folksonomies and the semiotics wikis that we discussed devising above
      34
    • PREPARED FOR INSIGHT SHOW, LONDON, JUNE 2011
      CREATIVE SEMIOTICS LTD.
      IMPLICATIONS OF THIS PRESENTATION FOR INSIGHT PROFESSIONALS
      • Semiotics is a powerful insight tool for revealing deep meanings embedded in brands and all types of cultural texts and marketing material and helps brand owners in their strategic planning tasks
      • Semiotics is relevant not only to traditional forms of media such as TV advertising, packaging and magazine advertising but is also applicable to online forms and can bring insight to how brands are communicating in that arena too through looking at brand’s use of immersion & inter-textuality
      • Semiotics is relevant to the current web 2.0 as a way to help bring meaning to consumer generated content aiding in methodologies such as crowd-sourcing in the innovation process
      • Semiotics is uniquely placed to both aid in the interpretation of ambiguous texts such as pictures, music and moving image on the web, it is also able to take advantage of the power of semantic web technologies to allow semiotics on a mass scale, building in more standardization & efficiency
      • Technology will change the practice of semiotics and allow it to stay relevant to evolving digital ecosystems and make it increasingly indispensable to all those hunting for unique insights.
      • As a unified theory of meaning, semiotics is perfectly placed to interpret all types of phenomena though academic semiotic must be modified and new modular, 'custom' theories based on must be continually developed so as to be more applicable to future forms of media as they arise
      35
    • Chris Arning
      Mobile: 07951160921
      Skype: chrisarning
      E-Mail: chris@creativesemiotics.co.uk
      Website: www.creativesemiotics.co.uk
      36