Symbols and Signs in Marketing Campaigns

Ronn Torossian
3 min readAug 13, 2021
symbol marketing

A symbol can be an object, an idea, a visual image or a gesture that helps in the effective entrenchment of a brand.

Symbols can also include words, phrases, or sounds that connect customers to a brand.

The pandemic has added its own symbols to the realm of advertising, such as images of empty streets, voice-overs that call up ‘these uncertain times’.

In the race to respond to the pandemic, marketing campaigns have been created that address the new circumstances.

There are examples where products have been arranged or altered to resemble a symbol.

A poster in the ‘Have a break’ campaign placed two Kit Kat fingers side by side to create the ‘pause’ symbol.

Semiotics in Advertising

Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. Symbols and signs successfully convey messages and create meaning. Since marketing is about communicating the right message at the right time to the right person, semiotics can play a crucial role in marketing.

Names as Symbols

The name of a company can also be a symbol. Ikea is an example. It contains the initials of the name of Ingvar Kamprad, who founded the company and the first letter of his farm and hometown. This symbolically expresses the company’s focus on environmental responsibility and affordability.

Shape of Logos

The shape of a logo can say a lot about a business. It is not about aesthetic appeal only. Shapes carry specific associations in the human brain and can hence amplify an intended message to a target audience. The iconic Olympic logo with its overlapping rings represent love, support and community. Nivea’s dark blue circle is a reminder of the classic tins of cream.


Fonts cannot be left to chance. There is a psychology behind fonts as well. Fonts left to chance can undermine the credibility of a business. People associate different traits with different fonts. Arial or Times New Roman can be seen as stable or mature while Comic Sans can be seen as youthful and casual.


A great slogan differentiates a brand and makes it stand out. A slogan should be able to bring out the quality of a product. It can contain some zing or rhythm which would enable people who read it or listen to it to retain it in their memory. It should have the right connotations for the target audience. Slogans are often used synonymously with the word tagline. Carlsberg Beer’s emphatic ‘That calls for a Carlsberg’ conveys the message that the beer is good enough for a celebration.


Colors are steeped in meaning, and it is important to understand that if a business caters to a particular audience. A lot of brands choose red as their primary color because it symbolizes love, survival and passion. Brands like Coca Cola and McDonald’s use red to position themselves as important in the mind of the customer.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital PR and influencer marketing agency.



Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR, one of America’s leading & largest PR Agencies and the Author of the best-selling PR book: "For Immediate Release"