I took a structure for my essay that I had planned based on my research so far. I also printed some of the photographs that I took of the toiletries in the supermarket, as this clarifies a lot of my thoughts about stereotypes in branding and also helped me explain my current practical idea.
We went though the structure I had planned which was:
Chapter 1 - naming
Chapter 2 - visual identity
- logo mark
Chapter 3 - Advertsising
Chapter 4 - Case Study of Dove
Whilst Simon was happy with this structure and what I feel I am going to talk about in them he suggested having a first chapter that provides definitions of stereotypes and female stereotypes and what I mean by branding, I could here discuss what I am including under the term branding. These are things I had originally planned to put in my introduction but it makes much more sense to have these in a first chapter.
Following this discussion I have a finalised structure to follow for my essay.
Chapter 1 - Definitions
Chapter 2 - Naming
Chapter 3 - visual identity
- logo mark
Chapter 4 - Advertsising
Chapter 5 - Case Study of Dove
I explained my idea of including a case study of Dove as they are a long standing (over 50 years old) female focussed brand selling toiletry products, which in turn would be really helpful for my practical idea. I was unsure how long a case study should be or what exactly to include in it but Simon explained that this could be as long as I could make it, the more depth the better. I will need to do a lot more research into this brand.
I explained to Simon that I had been struggling to find some key writers, at the moment I just have a few books on branding and graphic design in general. Simon explained that I should be looking at writers on branding such as Naomi Klein. I have heard of No Logo by Klein and understand that she is a critical writer on brands so she would be an interesting writer to look at.
I mentioned that when I had been reading up on semiotics I hadn't really found any quotes I felt would be useful, but Simon explained that it was more about using the language and understanding of semiotics rather than directly quoting. Such as using the understanding of signs, signifiers, myths.
In terms of my primary research I had thought about interviewing studios and asking them their thoughts on female stereotypes within branding and how they deal with this. However, Simon mentioned that I should be careful when doing this as I may offend some studios for example if they use techniques that I am stating are dated and stereotypic.
This made me think that I should definitely not contact Unilever for my case study of Dove as I think I could offend them as my current thoughts are that Dove are far from as confidence boosting as they claim to be.
I mentioned how I had done a bit of research into focus groups and read that you should consider the ages of people, range, occupations, the environment you hold the group in, etc. but Simon said at this level to not worry too much about such factors.
I am also going to produce a questionnaire to back up the focus group, possibly asking questions about the same products, this will allow me to give it to a wider audience as there are a lot of flaws within focus groups.
We discussed my practical idea in a bit more depth as I am currently considering producing a gender neutral product and really wanted to produce a gender neutral razor as this is something I have been looking at and it is clear that razors apply stereotypes heavily and there is a clear divide with gender, when the products are essentially the same !
However, we discussed that I could be limited by the product design element of this as I am unable to design the razor and this would play a big part in the design.
Although, we then discussed producing a gender neutral shower gel as it is definitely possible to colour the shower gel myself or source bottles. I liked this idea just as much and I discussed with Simon whether producing a gender neutral range is fitting with my essay that looks at female stereotypes in branding. But it is appropriate and synthesising with my essay as this is a sector in which female stereotypes are hugely applied and to products that do not have a need to be gender specific. Men and women both wash, both remove hair with a blade in the same way, etc. but many of these brands manipulate stereotypes to sell to two different markets.
Following this I feel I am now at a stage where I could start writing and feel like I have a solid idea for my practical that really synthesises with my essay.