Apply theory to business decisions faced by management.

This course enables you to:

  • Understand how best to decode and creatively reconfigure for competitive advantage brand communications and product/service offers in their competitive and cultural contexts.

It combines a practical introduction to key tools and techniques with scaled-down live semiotic projects, carried out interactively by delegate sub-groups and agreed in advance of the course.

Learning outcomes
  • By the end of the course the delegates should understand:
  • How to access and mobilise in communication a brand’s most powerful cultural assets
  • How a category’s codes, language and meanings (visual, verbal, material) function and evolve in and across cultures
  • How to map brands and the deep-rooted cultural meanings & emergent trends they tap into using advanced tools from semiotics and cultural analysis
  • How to plot trajectories of change across time in culture & category communication
  • How to translate semiotic data into local or highest common-factor cross-cultural communication or NPD opportunities for brands
  • Best practice in effective semiotic project design: proposing & costing; accessing local market analysis & close-reading skills; managing expectations; navigating the minefield of diverse approaches & jargon; black box versus transparent process & scale
  • How, where and when to apply semiotics within a research process
  • The range of semiotic applications and how to implement them: positioning, updating communication, market entry, cross-cultural harmonisation, portfolio management, organisational culture & communications analysis, NPD, design semiotics, decoding digital cultures & communication, brand opportunities arising from disruptive cultural, social & economic change
Who will benefit?

Delegate groups for this course typically include: client marketing, consumer insight & design specialists aiming to optimise their use of semiotics and cultural analysis; advertising and design agency planners; brand strategists and semiotic practitioners looking for new insight ideas and higher level tools & applications.

“Excellent opportunity to walk through some key semiotic theories with a real master practitioner.”

James Woodhead, SpaceDoctors
23-24 November 2016


Tracy Beswick, SpaceDoctors (Freelance)
23-24 November 2016

“A detailed discussion around the world of semiotics.”

Tom Pattison, Added Value
19-20 May 2016

“For those with a basic background/ understanding of semiotics, a wonderfully applicable crash-course in understanding the 'how to' and 'why/for what' of applied semiotics.”

Elisabeth Bennett, Fresh squeezed ideas
19-20 May 2016

“Very good style, open encouragement, commercially acute.”

Christine Daley, Ipsos Mori

“Really patient and flexible about diving deeper into areas the group was most interested in, immensely helpful!”

Yannie Fu, Clear Aisa


The Old Trading House, 15 Northburgh Street,London,EC1V 0JR

Malcolm is an independent consultant in cultural and semiotic analysis and a leading figure in the application of semiotics to marketing. Having worked with the UK’s first specialist agency Semiotic Solutions and pioneered Added Value’s international Decoder offer, he founded what became a global reference point for best practice in brand semiotics, Space Doctors,where he stayed until 2014. Malcolm has worked for a wide range of clients including P&G, Mercedes, Mastercard, GCK, Unilever, Coca Cola, Tesco, American Express, Vodafone and Unicef. He is also founder of, a global forum for sharing ideas in brand, cultural & sociopolitical semiotics. Malcolm is extensively published academically and in marketing/consumer insight journals. He has won three UK MRS Conference awards (including Best Paper twice) and WPP’s Atticus Grand Prix award.

Additional Information

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