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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Corporate Communication | 2016
Thesis number: 14396
Communicating corporate identity through window displays - A semiotic analysis of ten fashion stores in Helsinki
Author: Ye, Shishi
Title: Communicating corporate identity through window displays - A semiotic analysis of ten fashion stores in Helsinki
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Corporate Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; yritykset; companies; identiteetti; identity; visuaalinen; visual; muoti; fashion; semiotiikka; semiotics
Pages: 83
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14396.pdf pdf  size:7 MB (6798257)
Key terms: corporate identity; window displays; visual merchandising; semiotics; visual communication; fashion stores
Objective of the study

This study aimed to analyze how fashion stores communicate the corporate identity through window displays. The window display is a crucial part of visual merchandising, which remains an important channel of corporate marketing communication. However, little attention so far has been paid to how the window display works as a channel for companies to communicate corporate identity. This research tried to fill the gap by studying the window displays of fashion stores.

Methodology and the Analytical framework

The study adopted the semiotic approach to analyze the window displays of ten fashion stores located in Helsinki. From the semiotic perspective, the window display can be regarded as a semiotic resource as well as a sign system containing multiple visual messages. In addition, this research utilized an analytical framework adapted from Kress and van Leeuwen's (2006) three-metafunction framework of visual communication to analyze the window displays of the ten fashion stores.

Findings and Conclusion

Based on the analytical framework, the findings were elaborated according to the three metafunctions namely the ideational metafunction, the interpersonal metafunction, and the textual metafunction of the window displays. The results demonstrated that the fashion stores have integrated multiple signs and elements in their window displays to communicate corporate identity: 1) Clothing communication is the most salient and efficient in representing and communicating corporate identity; 2) Images and background are utilized as enhancement; 3) The less salient elements are used to support the communication of corporate identity. However, window displays have limitations in communicating corporate identity too. In some window displays, part of the corporate identity is missing, and the visual presentations are not recognizable.
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