Case Study—This case study highlights the value of exploring the reality of having and treating psoriasis. Its aim is uncovering why it is that, despite treatments being available that offer transformative results, people with psoriasis can continue to live in isolation and with feelings of shame. If clear skin alone isn't enough, what is it that can help create a sense of well-being? Even undertaking a piece of work like this represented a significant step forward for the pharmaceutical industry where, historically, investing in this kind of deep patient insight work hasn't been common and where getting buy-in to the outputs is far from certain. How can sight lines be created and developed, particularly from physicians to patients? Explored in this case study are not only the ethnographic and other methodologies used, but also: some of the challenges in bringing together this encompassing piece of work; the strategies and efforts made to ensure that core audiences engaged with the research;...
Case Study—Opiate addiction is a significant public health crisis. In the past year, it has become a hot topic at all levels, including the political realm ahead of the presidential election. Triggers, treatment options and restrictions, the criminal justice system, and costs to society are all part of the discussion but the cultural milieu in which addiction occurs is poorly understood. This was a significant problem for our client, the maker of a monthly injectable that inhibits the ability of an addict to get high. Our client, basing their marketing strategy entirely on quantitative data, realized that they needed to get a deeper understanding of addiction and the roles caregivers, friends, and family play in the treatment and recovery cycle. Our team convinced our client, who was inherently nervous about executing qualitative work, that in order to create a meaningful marketing plan, they needed to understand the complexities at a deeper level than data could provide. Working with the client...
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Semiotic insight powerfully complements ethnographic approaches. Semiotics, the study of signs and cultural meaning, has been gaining ground in the world of commercial research. Semiotics has also been successfully melded together with ethnographic and other cultural approaches, especially in the UK and Europe. This tutorial equipped participants with the tools, techniques and hands-on experience needed to begin their own semiotic research endeavors.
Opening with a grounding in semiotic theory, we then focused on building practical skills through ‘live decoding’ of a cultural theme. We began by learning how to ‘decode’ – exploring how a semiotic close read analysis can reveal a deeper understanding of what is really being said. Crucially, we discussed the chasm that often appears between intended meaning and received meaning, especially within brand communication.
We then introduced the idea of codes (themes, or clusters...
by LUCIA LAURENT-NEVA, Visual Signo
I am an anthropologist and a semiotician. “A semio-what?” I have a set of answers to that question, ranging from ‘I explore meanings in culture’ to ‘I discover the subconscious cultural patterns we all use to find meaning around us, to understand how something makes sense to someone’. Sometimes the conversation turns to the lovely weather we’re having. But most people are interested and want to know more, because semiotics is one of the most powerful research methodologies to engage with strategic thinking and innovation.
Why is semiotics, once an esoteric methodology, becoming an essential approach to innovation challenges? The insights that semiotics delivers spark radical thinking, push boundaries and provide shifting perspectives. The method is known for embracing strategic dilemmas by making sense of complex cultural data and delivering practical insights around cultural transformations. Semiotics fosters innovation by getting involved in the detection of emergent changes...