What the experts say…

Creating Value: The Theory and Practice of Marketing Semiotics Research (Oxford 2015)

“In this book, Laura Oswald brings semiotic theory and marketing practice together through an engaging and illuminating series of case studies. Beginning with a remarkably lucid overview of semiotic theory, Oswald demonstrates the unique and valuable insights that can accrue from using semiotic frameworks to address complex marketing problems in the domains of advertising, branding, and service design. Her analyses astutely pin point the limitations of more conventional approaches and show the clear strategic advantages offered by a semiotically informed, cultural perspective. This book should have a strong appeal for marketing academics and practitioners alike.” Craig Thompson, Churchill Professor of Marketing, the University of Wisconsin.

“Today marketing managers look for customer insights directly, by getting out and talking to people where they shop and consume. The more they do so, the more they realize that interpretive and ethnographic skills are not innate; they need to be learned.  Books like this one, unpacking the science and art of semiotics, are essential reading for managers responsible for insights research.” John Deighton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School.

“Building on real-life case studies, Laura Oswald offers a broad-ranging and stimulating framework for understanding how semiotics (broadly defined) can be applied to address a large variety of marketplace problems. You absolutely need to read this book if you find that semiotic research is unnecessarily abstruse, too subjective and therefore not really relevant for marketing practitioners.” Christian Pinson, Emeritus Professor of Marketing, INSEAD Fontainebleau France

“Creating Value is a remarkable book, not only written skillfully but with a rare mix of cutting-edge theory and practice on the market-based making of meanings. Market creators, brand managers, and customer experience designers alike will find it to be an eloquent and effective guide to leveraging the power of semiotics.”  Markus Giesler -Professor of Marketing, the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto and ShapingMarkets.org.

“Laura Oswald’s truly original interdisciplinary Marketing Semiotics and its compendium Creating Value are groundbreaking, foundational works that incorporate a wide range of modern and postmodern semiotic, economic and deconstruction theories, seminal for understanding the foundations of marketing semiotics.  Creating Value, an intellectual tour de force, is a seminal work for all those interested in semiotic theory, and marketing in particular, contributing to the establishment of this dynamic field as an exciting innovative academic discipline that furthers our comprehension of social behaviour in general. Paul Perron, Semiotics, the University of Toronto.

Marketing Semiotics: Signs, Strategies and Brand Value (Oxford 2012).

“Oswald has crafted a theoretically cogent and empirically rich account of the making of meaning in the marketplace that is accessible to academics and practitioners alike. Anyone concerned with the cultural construction of value will benefit from her many and varied analyses of the contemporary brandscape. She delivers a sensitive interpretation of the mythologies that underlie contemporary commerce. The book will prove as useful in the boardroom as in the classroom.”  John F. Sherry, Jr., Herrick Professor and Department Chair, Mendoza College/Marketing, University of Notre Dame.

“A breath of fresh air to the confining functional benefit brand view. Its in-depth discussion of how brands provide meaning to customer lives expands our under- standing of brands and their roles.”  David Aaker, Vice-Chairman, Prophet, and author of Brand Relevance.

“Advertising and marketing have become the new beacons in how we search for meaning. Oswald’s book is a brilliant examination of how brands have evolved into meaning-making structures. She deconstructs the process insightfully offering us a comprehensive purview of what a branded society is all about. This is required reading for everyone, from students in marketing and culture studies to the general public. It offers a cogent perspective on how brands and social processes are now intrinsically intertwined.”  Marcel Danesi, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto.

“In books on the application of semiotics to marketing, there is probably a ‘binary distinction’ between those that are written for academics, emphasizing literature and theory, and those written for practitioners, stressing examples and cases. Laura Oswald’s text carves out a new portion of this space, drawing rigorously on well- accepted principles and frameworks, and then showing their value in understanding and resolving real-world branding and advertising challenges. Anchoring strongly on her deep knowledge of the literature on meaning production and symbolic consumption, Oswald applies this to several real branding case-studies from a variety of industries and cultures. I intend to use many of these principles and case studies in my branding classes: there is clearly much that marketing professionals can learn from them.

“The book includes dozens of global business cases where semiotics has been used to refocus, reposition, or extend the brand to new products, customers, and markets. Drawing upon twenty years of academic and consulting experience, the book provides actionable direction for steering brands through technological and cultural change, differentiating brands in the competitive environment, and counteracting the natural depletion of brand meaning over time.” Rajeev Batra, S.S. Kresge Professor of Marketing, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.