Semiofest Tallinn 2016
Keynote speech "Brand Semiotics & Cultural Analysis - the next paradigm"
Malcolm Evans, UK

Video by: Madis Ligema 04.06.2016 14029 views Philosophy and Semiotics


Principal of S-Foundation & Co-Founder of Semionaut

This started life as a plea for a collaborative review of where we are up to in the evolution of applied brand semiotics and, with the benefit of dialogue with our academic specialist colleagues, a push to innovate and move forward to the next paradigm of what semiotics can offer brand owners – along with NGOs, policy-making bodies and other organisations. This keynote is designed to get the ball rolling for such a conversation, blowing the whistle and kicking off with some possible directions of change and innovation themes.

The introduction will be informed by a) abduction, b) the luxury of hypothesis around emergent perspectives not yet fully available in empirically verifiable form c) a desire provisionally to identify ideation areas for incremental and disruptive innovation and d) an engaging humility and diplomatic avoidance of offence (in the great Semiofest heritage of five friction-free years of co-creation).

Following a quick sketch of the historical context and one interpretation of current ‘business as usual’ brand semiotics, the presentation will move on to the first pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that show us what tomorrow’s core applied methodology, its toolkit and outputs might look like. Then we will look at some evolving semiotic, and cross-disciplinary, ‘push’ factors that could help move these trajectories of change in the direction of a new paradigm – along with the corresponding ‘pull’ factors in the emerging market place.

The presentation aims to throw down some conceptual dots, invite the addition of others, and help us move forward together to join them and build four of five practical areas for innovation – and start putting some flesh on the bones. Which categories? which potential clients? how will this differ from what’s already being done? what may we be able to do that we haven’t even dreamed about yet (the unknown unknowns)?

No teasers about where the presentation thinks the new paradigm may lie. But we are hoping to persuade the philosopher Jean-Claude d’Iquède to contribute, with his theory of an emerging post-narrative society. And his insight that “every time a brand semiotician talks about story-telling a kitten dies”.


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