Semiotics is an investigation into how to create meaning and how to communicate meaning. Its roots lie in the study of how meaning is generated by signs and symbols (visual and linguistic). It is a way of seeing the world and recognizing how we all collectively have a massive impact on the nature and society in which we live. Due to the importance of signs I believe that semiotics communication theory enhances a communication message, leads the way to branding products and companies, and fosters relationships between the public and a communication message.
Semiotics, also known as semiology, the science of signs and the use of symbols. It was identified as the study of ‘the presence of signs in society’ by one of its founders, the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. Although the English philosopher John Locke used the word in this way in the 17th century, with the independent work of Saussure and the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, the idea of semiotics as an interdisciplinary mode for investigating phenomena in different fields originated only in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Semiotics mainly focuses on signs. We use the term signs to talk about something that stands in for something else. Sings can come in many shapes and form. Charles Sanders Pierce defined 3 categories of signs. These are Icon, index and symbol. An icon directly resembles the object. It shares tangible quality with the object. The examples for Icon are pictures, maps and sounds. Pictures because it also invokes an idea to another person without the actual object being there whether the picture is a crude drawing or a high definition picture. Maps represents the idea of a certain location much similar to pictures. Sounds also represents a certain sound to a certain object or person. The next category Based on Charles Sanders Pierce’s theory, is index. An index has an implied association with the object. The sign and object are connected in a logical way. An example of this are: Sunglasses and a cane represents a blind person; a smell of smoke represents that there’s a fire nearby and a person’s dry mouth represents thirst. The final category based on Charles Sanders Pierce’s theory is Symbol. A symbol does not fundamentally connect to the object. Instead, the connection is matter of convention within a certain society. Because their meaning must be explicitly thought, symbols are easily misunderstood. Examples of symbols are: The crescent moon representing Islam, The red light on traffic lights meaning stop and the cross representing Christianity. Another category that is not included in Charles Sanders Pierce defined 3 categories of signs, are words. Word allows a person to communicate the idea of a noun or an object to another person without needing the actual object to be present and be pointed out.
In communications, especially in the field of public relations, it is strategically planned to make an impact on a person whether or not they realize it. The field of communications has a multitude of theories to choose from, which can help make their messages more effective. This is where semiotics comes in handy. Sometimes the strategic planning behind a marketing strategy or company goes unnoticed; but, for those involved in the industry, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
The use of semiotics theory is really prominent nowadays. Many of us can associate brands to their status and quality. The more famous and reliable a certain brand is, the more customer that the brand will attract. The striking manner in which logos, signs and images reach different target markets, viewers and customers is used by brands and companies far and wide. Semiotics is used to deliver the message that marketers want to communicate to them via a visual representation of potential customers. What makes them both distinctive and different is the link between brands and semiotics; the most successful marketing strategies are those that produce localized product resources using semiotic techniques. Marketing semiotics can significantly improve the communicative ability of any given product and help ensure successful reaching to broader and wider audiences. Marketers use a range of semiotic strategies. Semiotics ‘ visual elements include icons, colors, websites and ads. The use of semiotics can be used in more than one way. Metaphors are the most common way semiotics can be used in an advertisement. Although oral communication can be used to convey a tag line or context, most of the effect is in the visual representation of the text. The example of this type of semiotics being utilized is: Red Bull ‘ Gives you wings ‘ Advert Promotion One of the most well-known and accepted advertising campaigns is the red bull ‘ Gives you wings. ‘ Analogy is used in this promotion. Which might be the reason the ad is famous. The analogy is that the tenor, Red Bull, is the engine that gives you wings. Suggesting that you will be lifted by the caffeinated drink, giving you fuel. It’s unforgettable, it generates laughter, it allows the audience to come up with their own description of what it means to ‘ give you wings. ‘ Another example of the use of this is Heinz Ketchup ‘No-one grows ketchup like Heinz’ Advert Campaign. The new Heinz ketchup campaign focuses on a metaphor, No-one grows ketchup, the vehicle, like the tenor of Heinz. Creating Heinz’s image of being fresh, raw, healthy, unmade. Which focuses on the values of its target audiences. This is one of the more well known ketchup campaign by Heinz it is because it is Powerful, clear and simple to decode, the visual metaphor.
There are many use of types of semiotics that is utilized nowadays other than metaphors. An example of the use of semiotics that is utilized by Apple computers. The apple logo has a connotative meaning. The Apple logo can mean many things to people like: Iphones, Macs, Technology that is developed primarily in California and mass consumerism. Those are not only connation of this sign because it depends on a person’s background and ideology. Some may look at the Apple logo and view them as overpriced tech whereas some may view them as reliable and evenly price for the tech. The reason behind this is because signs are polysemic which means that they have multiple meanings.