Programme PGP Term VI Academic Year 2021-22

Course title Semiotics: Strategies for Media and Brand Communication Area Marketing Credits 1.00

Prof. Seema Khanwalkar (VF)

Course Description & Objectives
Course Brief:
This course proposes to introduce basic concepts and applications of Semiotic theory to students of brand and marketing communications. Semiotics is a field of study involving many different theoretical stances and methodological tools. Semiotics involves the study not only of what we refer to as 'signs' in everyday speech, but of anything which 'stands for' something else. In a semiotic sense, signs take the form of words, images, sounds, gestures, and objects. Whilst for the linguist Saussure, 'semiology' was 'a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life', for the philosopher Charles Peirce 'semiotic' was the 'formal doctrine of signs' which was closely related to Logic. Contemporary semioticians study signs not in isolation but as part of semiotic 'sign systems' (such as a medium or genre). They study how meanings are made: as such, being concerned not only with communication but also with the construction and maintenance of reality. Semiotics represents a range of studies in art, literature, anthropology and the mass media rather than an independent academic discipline Semiotics is important because it deals with two important aspects of human life – reality as a system of signs (reality is constructed and we have a role to play in it as we interpret it) and Meaning as actively created according to a complex interplay of codes or conventions that is usually taken for granted. Meaning, is not readily available to us and to understand how it comes to us through constructed codes is intellectually empowering as we begin to understand how to deconstruct different realities in human life.

This course will take students through the basics of Semiotic theories, concepts, and research methods with a view to apply the same to practices in branding and the marketing discourses 
The aim is twofold:
  • To understand the value of semiotics as an interpretative method
  • To see its value when used in the planning process that can help strengthen the symbolic value of brand communications