A methodological framework for projecting brand equity: Putting back the imaginary into brand knowledge structures

George Rossolatos


The aim of this paper is to outline a methodological framework for brand equity planning with structuralist rhetorical semiotics. By drawing on the connectionist conceptual model of the brand generative trajectory of signification it will be displayed in a stepwise fashion how a set of nuclear semes and classemes or an intended semic structure that underlies manifest discursive structures may be projected by its internal stakeholders (i.e., a brand management team, an account planning team or a marketing research team) with view to attaining differential brand associations. The suggested methodological framework focuses on the strength and uniqueness of brand associations as integral aspects of a brand’s equity structure and comprises a set of calculi that aim at addressing from a brand textuality point of view how associations may be systematically linked to their key sources with an emphasis on the ad filmic text. The propounded methodology is exemplified by recourse to a corpus of ad filmic texts from the major brand players in the UK cereals market. The argumentative thrust is intent on demonstrating that structuralist rhetorical semiotics is not only useful for analysing/interpreting brand texts, but, moreover, for constructing and for managing them over time. This demonstration is deployed by adopting a synchronic/diachronic and intra-(ad)-filmic/inter-(ad)-filmic approach to the formation of brand associations that make up a projected brand equity structure, in the context of embedded product category dynamics.


brand equity; content analysis; multimodal rhetorical semiotics; brand textuality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2014.42.1.05

SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia