Applying structuralist semiotics to brand image research

George Rossolatos

Abstract


The aim of this paper is to display a conceptual and methodological framework for brand image research by drawing on the discipline of structuralist semiotics. Upon a critical review of existing research from key authors in the brand semiotics literature and through an engagement with the concept of brand image as formulated by key authors in the marketing literature, a semiotic model is furnished for the formation of brand image and brand identity. By drawing on the structuration process of brand image along the three major strata in a brand’s signification trajectory, and the key operations of reduction, redundancy, recurrence, isotopy, homologation, I focus more narrowly on how the chaining [enchaînement] of elements from the three strata is effected with view to addressing how brand image may be operationalised in structuralist semiotic terms vis a vis a brand’s intended positioning, how it may be linked to a brand’s advertising discourse and how the conceptual framework may yield a platform for ongoing brand image analysis and management.

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