1. Is semiotics ever this simple? Very interesting post but I would imagine that the two issues are symbiotic. After all, the signified and the signifier all make up the symbol. Surely one cannot exchange one without first addressing the other. As you say, the power of the signifier all depends on its context within the diachronic (signified) but the choice of signifier is crucial for creating the dissonance that completes the symbol. You cannot successfully have the one without the other.

  2. I do agree, but the worrying point is that many place far too much importance on the signifier assuming that somehow they can change the underlying signified. We have all seen the government departments that try to repackage an ailing system with a new brand name or logo, while not addressing the service fundamentals.

  3. Sad as it may be, the import of semiotics in marketing research has been a case of major watering-down. First and foremost, there is no single semiotic approach and definitions of sign, signifier, signified vary among semiotic theories (eg Greimas, Eco, Hejlmslev, Metz), while certain authors have gone so far as to drop the signified off the picture. Second, the diachronic axis is not necessarily synonymous with the realm of the signified, this is an oversimplification of the concept of diachrony. Signs ordered alongside the syntagmatic axis also have signifieds; the diachronic axis concerns the “opening up” of signs to multiple connotative levels. Third, selling semiotic studies and actually delivering semiotic studies are two different things, insofar as the latter presupposes that the buyer is willing to engage actively not only with a set of proposed action points, but with the terminological apparatus employed in semiotic studies. The usefulness of semiotics in strategic branding research is tremendous, but unless conceptual alignment has been achieved first it is highly unlikely that “sense”will be made of in a uniform manner. (grosolatos123@myway.com, http://www.grossolatos.com, http://www.grossolatos.com/blog)

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