This chapter explains the basics of structural semiotics and its application to solving an identity and positioning problem. It discusses the case of a new designer perfume marketed in the 1990s. Semiotic analysis of advertising for the perfume showed that the consumer had two different perceptions of the female: as a goddess or the girl-next-door. These conflicts were not immediately discovered during the product life, resulting in failure. Semiotic research later revealed that there was a third feminine perception that could have made a difference in product sales. Semiotics is useful in decoding the consumer culture of the market being targeted; plotting the grid or sector where the product is to be positioned; identifying rising trends and codes; and aligning advertising and other creative strategies with these trends and codes.
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