Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Les applications du différentiel sémantique en marketing

Cigada, Sara

In: Bulletin VALS-ASLA, 2006, vol. 83, no. 2, p. 225-233

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    Semantic differential as a technique was first elaborated by the psychologists Osgood & Suci & Tannenbaum in 1957, who aimed at "measuring" the semantic effects of words in social groups. This methodology has a linguistic basis in that it requires to rate one’s emotional reactions towards each tested word by associating it to a pair of adjectives. In linguistics, even if sometimes criticised, Osgood’s work is often referred to as the first research about connotation. The empirical and psychological approach, nonetheless, does not allow such a quick conclusion. On the other hand, Osgood et al. 1957 has become a shared methodology for marketing research, both in branding / naming and in product positioning. We outline the central elements of this question both in its historical development and in its theoretical implications, which give some relevant hints again on the controversial notion of connotation.