The field of semiotics is growing. Users and buyers of market research are increasingly taking up semiotics, and when demand increases so too does the opportunity to supply. This needs the help of a generation of market researchers who are excited to take on big challenges in a rapidly changing world.

Speaker: Dr Rachel Lawes, social psychologist

What you’ll learn:

  • How to recognise opportunities for your future careers in market research
  • How to discover topics you find inspiring and challenging and in which you would like to become a thought leader
  • The next steps for learning semiotics, so that you can take on new and exciting challenges

There are a host of new things for semioticians to research. The world is changing rapidly and we are starting to need ambitious and visionary semiotics that reaches beyond ads and packaging. We need new thinkers who are going to pioneer research into some of these areas:

  • Social unity vs social unrest. Like many other countries, Britain is divided – by generational conflict, climate change, Brexit, identity politics (both unifying and divisive). All of this has consequences for the national economy, as well as at the level of individual consumers investing in brands. We need some brave semiotic thinkers to research this topic.
  • Human relationships with technology. Once we used technology – now it is using us. Amazon and Netflix have done well out of the pandemic, but more than simply reflecting changes in consumer behaviour, technology mediates our relationships and is starting to shape our individual lived experiences. We need researchers actively investigating this – and semiotics is an expansive research method that allows us to tackle big questions.
  • Big data. As the amount of quantitative data and reportage expands, we need to be able to find the stories in it. But for people who are great with numbers and technology, storytelling isn’t always their strongest skill. And unfortunately, we haven’t equipped qualitative researchers with tools that enable them to form opinions about what vast numbers mean. But semiotics offers a way in. It is an open door, waiting for researchers to apply its many tools for thinking to the data we have.

Semiologists tackle questions like this all the time, but, says Dr Rachel Lawes, we need more of them. Semiotics needs the help of a generation of market researchers who are excited to take on enormous challenges. If you’re wondering how to begin, join our webinar and step into the future.

Dr Rachel Lawes is a social psychologist specializing in the interface between individuals and consumer culture. Her extensive publishing history spans marketing industry trade journals, academic publishing in psychology and market research, and journalism. She is recognized as one of the original founders of British commercial semiotics and is known for her engaging style and ability to make difficult concepts and theory accessible to non-academic audiences.

Rachel has produced a number of award-winning papers and conference presentations. Her books include Using Semiotics in Marketing: How to achieve consumer insight for brand growth and profits (Kogan Page, 2020). Her extensive support of MRS includes acting as a mentor and trainer, delivering a wide range of professional development programmes. For more than 10 years she has convened the MRS Advanced Qualitative Methods Masterclass.

On receiving her Fellowship, Rachel says: “MRS has been the backbone of my twenty-year career in market research. With its help, semiotics was able to become established as a commercial offering, I delivered more than a decade of training, spoke at dozens of conferences and published extensively. I'm extremely grateful for this award and I look forward to serving MRS in the future.”

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