A semiotic approach to marketing recognizes that customers look for way more than use value of goods. It also argues that competitive advantage and financial performances are highly dependent upon a company’s ability to deliver an offering rich in meanings.
A semiotic analysis of marketing actions reads meanings that marketers and customers attribute to goods by addressing attention to three orders of signs. First, verbal signs going from single words to verbal sign systems (e.g. discourses, languages). This is for example the case with verbal advertising language, product and brand naming, sales representatives’ speeches, on-line verbal interactions, brand storytelling, and more. Second, non-verbal signs that largely dominate contemporary consumer culture. Marketers manipulate a countless amount of non-verbal signs, including colours, shapes, sounds, packaging, sales representatives’ uniforms, etc. Third, spatial signs that provide additional meanings through the design and use of space (e.g. store design, shopping experience).