The concepts of bricolage and semiotics are respectively based on the understanding and interpretation of social and cultural constructs (bricolage) and the meaning of signs and symbols (semiotics). They are ways to deliver cultural insight. The practice of bricolage puts the researcher’s analytical skills at the core. Rooted in the pursuit of symbolic meaning, semiotics is a key tool to ensure intended brand meanings are understood. When combined with traditional qualitative methods, semiotics offers additional depth and an avenue to tackle challenging research topics.

Definition

Bricolage: the way in which different materials are used, constructed and reinterpreted in the creative process of understanding.

Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

Key Insights

1. Semiotics can help understand brand meaning in the age of media fragmentation

With social media now ubiquitous, understanding the stories consumers tell about brands is essential if brands are to remain meaningful, relevant and adaptable. When consumers create visual stories on social media they are in control of the narrative and decide whether or not a brand is made prominent or sits out of the limelight. Analysis of these narratives offers the potential for powerful insight which can provide brands with the opportunity to truly resonate with consumers, and shape messaging so that it can be acceptable and legitimised.