Cloud Connected

Semiotic Systems and Web Site Design

During my freshman year of college, I took a class in semiotic systems.  It was a French Literature class and was also part of the Women’s Studies program.  I was one of the five males in the class who, like me, were all engineering students.  And, like me, they were all in over there heads.  Surrounded by women who were much smarter than we were.  Yet, we soldiered on.

The class proved to be very interesting as it dealt with “semiotic systems” which, at the time, was a completely new field for me.  We studied the role of symbolism and inference in marketing and specifically how it related to women.  Essentially, the course provided an in-depth study of the perception of females in advertisements, poetry, literature, fairy tales, commercials and the like. 

It was my first crash course on the subject.  So it was pretty new to me.  I later learned, of course, that those systems basically form the backbone for all marketing.  Since the dawn of time.

While working on Cloud CMS, we’ve thought intensely about the brand we want to develop and the market that we’re going after.  For us, the key intangible that we make possible is the sense of “customer touch” or “interaction” that can now be realized by having information flow sensibly both to and from the customer.  Intelligibly.  And in real-time.

We know that businesses work on content and push it out to the audience.  Through social streams, crowd-sourcing and interactivity through applications, the audience now pushes information back at the business.  Until recently, the latter channel didn’t exist.  But today it absolutely does exist.  And it’s growing.

Cloud CMS brings this together into a focal point around the notion of “customer touch”.  We also think of it in terms of “social resonance”.  These are exciting concepts to us that we feel paint the vision of what we’re all about.

We’re very serious about this vision and producing the technology to enable it.  For us, the branding exercise is more about setting our course and building the platform to get there.  We hate overselling.  We don’t like companies that manipulate advertising just to make a buck.  We don’t want to be a company that lies.  We want to say what we’re about and then stick to it.

So, while working on the web site, we’ve been looking for imagery that shares this vision and gets people excited about what it means.  This is, after all, where the world is heading.  We want to share that, find the people who, like us, are excited about it and then go there all together.

I’m very happy with the work we’ve done on the web site so far.  However, I’m also a little surprised at how the focal point in our imagery seems to center, so far, around the figure of the female hand.  Or more specifically, the female finger touching a virtual surface (i.e. an application running on an iPad or a kiosk running in a store).

This wasn’t intentional.  It really wasn’t.  It seemed to just work.  

However, the lessons from my freshman year Women’s Studies course are not forgotten.  The implications around female touch are there.  The submissive finger posture, the bestowing of female attributes upon inanimate objects.  I see that in the imagery.  I know we’re not trying to manipulate symbolism and yet… it seems we are.

I suppose if my French Lit teacher were to browse to our web site, she might find her way to this blog entry.  And, then, I might have a chance to explain that we’re still a work in progress.  We may adjust the imagery if we end up deeming it manipulative.  

One thing is for sure.  I know my professor would point out that I only got a B+ in the class.  Perhaps if I’d studied a little more, I’d be able to write an intelligible blog post about my perceptions on the matter.