Semiotics is a type of linguistics, which focuses on the study of ‘signs’ and their interpretation into language. What makes semiotics so relevant to business, is that it provides the opportunity to gain deeper insight into how your customers perceive a product. When you can change how your customer perceives a product, you can change how well your product sells.
1) Switching up your language
If your business is selling high-end furniture, you could describe the furniture as ‘visually appealing, well made and comfortable’ which would accurately and fairly describe the product. However, if you describe the furniture as ‘majestic, master-crafted and fit for a king’ you still carry across broadly the same denotation as the first description but have a much stronger connotation which can help influence the customer’s perception of the brand. With each word in the second description carrying a vaguely royal connotation, it can help the customer start to see your product as higher quality than they would have if they had just read the first description.
2) Appealing to your target demographic
As established, connotations can help you influence how your customer sees your product, the next step is to ensure that the connotations created in your advertisement or copy sit harmoniously with your target demographic.
It can be useful to think about the values and concepts that would appeal to your target demographic and to then ensure that all your outbound communications carry connotations that are connected to those values and concepts. This will help your product situate itself in a positive place within the minds of your customers, and in the long run, drive higher sales of the product.
3) Consider alternative readings
A key concept in semiotics is that the connotations of a word can vary from person to person, based on their own experiences, values and culture. Therefore, it can be beneficial to consider what other connotations a customer may draw from your description. For example, if you were appealing to a younger audience, then the royal theming of the furniture description used as an example above, may not resonate with them in the same way as a different set of connotations might. It never hurts to take a minute to sit back and make sure the meaning you are trying to convey is the most obvious and straightforward interpretation that could be drawn.
4) You can’t please everyone
Whilst it can seem like a good idea to use words with a wide variety of positive connotations, it is often better to target a specific target audience with a set of connotations that you know will appeal directly to them. If you cast too wide a net you risk diluting the strength of your words, which is counter-productive and a waste of valuable time and effort.
5) Somewhere between simple and grandiose
Whilst it is obvious not to use too simple and bland a description when talking about your product. It is equally important to remember that you don’t want your audience to have to reach for a thesaurus just to decode your marketing copy! Even simple words can still carry strong connotations and have a powerful impact on your audience. Find a happy medium between ordinary and extravagant.
6) It makes a difference
Semiotics can be a valuable tool that can allow you to make more effective and educated choices for your marketing decisions however the safest option is always to get a professional job done.
At Azzurro-Blu every single word of copy is examined rigorously, in order to ensure that whatever your business might be, the wording used is fully optimised to appeal to your target market and help drive more sales of your product.