We work on brands across many categories and many cultures, delivering a 'semiotic toolkit' to deal with a range of brand issues.
Some past examples:
Charity: how are cultural meanings around 'Charity' changing? How can an international aid charity best connect with consumers' changing ideas?
Lager: how can the traditionally masculine world of lager start to attract female consumers?
Transport: how can a function-focused travel website start to reflect the consumer experience of urban travel?
Breakfast cereal: what are the key words and images that can talk about The Family in a modern, distinctive way?
Supermarkets: we live in a 'culture of choice' - how can a supermarket best connect with this idea?
Mobile phones: a consumer co-creation project has yielded thousands of 'picture responses' - how can we make deeper sense of them?
We do a lot of work alongside ad agencies, helping them translate cultural insights into strategic planning and powerful executions. For example:
The Dulux global pitch (Euro RSCG): what is the cultural role of Colour- what differences and commonalities are there across international cultures, and even within those cultures?
Kingsmill (M&C Saatchi): what kind of stories and characters should this brand be portraying, to make it distinctive, yet keep its authentic identity?
Vodafone (McCann Erickson): what is the dominant 'body language' of the mobile network category- how can a brand work against these conventions, yet remain relevant?
Flora (Ogilvy): the symbol of the heart is at the centre of the Flora brand- how could a new campaign inject new life into this age-old and ubiquitous symbol?
When you've only got a few square inches on which to communicate, every word, image and squiggle counts.
Semiotics helps brands use their space as powerfully and relevantly as possible. Some examples:
Soft & Gentle (Colgate-Palmolive): Consumers felt that packaging was 'not modern'- but how could 'modern-ness' be added in a way that retained the core visual elements of the brand?
Nokia: packaging for accessories is notoriously dull- how could Nokia do something different that was both relevant to the brand and connected to its brand values?
ING Direct: financial direct mail is rarely welcomed by consumers: ING Direct needed a rationale for choosing images for a range of direct mail campaigns.
P&O Cruises: the world's favourite cruise line was not producing the world's favourite brochures and leaflets. How could it overhaul its visual and verbal identity?
"Rob Thomas has a particularly valuable skill for a semiotician. He was not only able to make complex ideas easy to understand, but he also moved swiftly from analysis to business application"Wendy Gordon, Martin Lee, Directors, Acacia Avenue