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I-Digital: A look from Semiotics of Culture

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Abstract and Figures

It is not today that brands are important. In the Middle Ages, European traders used brands as a means of guaranteeing the buyer the quality of the item purchased. Today, however, the brand issue has become more relevant. Brand is a determining factor for the customer's perception of a product or institution. It conveys business values and provides an identity to the business. The theme of the present study arises from the need of a better understanding of how organizations build their identities, from the point of view of Semiotics of Culture and it is limited to the analysis of images of two organizational advertisements of Itaú Unibanco Bank. The purpose is to analyze the I-Digital communication, symbol of Itaú Unibanco Bank to understand how the organization builds their identity based on semiosphere informations. As main theorical source, there are used postulates proposed by Lótman"s (1979), Bakthin"s (2000, 2002), Baitello"s (2003), and Machado"s (2003) culture semiotics. As for the methodology, it is an applied research, with a qualitative approach and exploratory focus, that takes place through a case study. The dialogue with publicity communication denotes how Itaú Unibanco Bank uses the communicational gestures I-Digital for building the organizational identity of a virtual bank, from the Semiotics of Culture point of view.
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Journal of Marketing Management
June 2019, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 145-154
ISSN: 2333-6080(Print), 2333-6099(Online)
Copyright © The Author(s). All Rights Reserved.
Published by American Research Institute for Policy Development
DOI: 10.15640/jmm.v7n1a12
URL: https://doi.org/10.15640/jmm.v7n1a12
I-Digital: A look from Semiotics of Culture
Eliane Davila dos Santos1, Dr. Ernani Cesar de Freitas2 & Denise Castilhos de Araújo3
Abstract
It is not today that brands are important. In the Middle Ages, European traders used brands as a means of
guaranteeing the buyer the quality of the item purchased. Today, however, the brand issue has become more
relevant. Brand is a determining factor for the customer's perception of a product or institution. It conveys
business values and provides an identity to the business. The theme of the present study arises from the need
of a better understanding of how organizations build their identities, from the point of view of Semiotics of
Culture and it is limited to the analysis of images of two organizational advertisements of Itaú Unibanco
Bank. The purpose is to analyze the I-Digital communication, symbol of Itaú Unibanco Bank to understand
how the organization builds their identity based on semiosphere informations. As main theorical source, there
are used postulates proposed by Lótman‟s (1979), Bakthin‟s (2000, 2002), Baitello‟s (2003), and Machado‟s
(2003) culture semiotics. As for the methodology, it is an applied research, with a qualitative approach and
exploratory focus, that takes place through a case study. The dialogue with publicity communication denotes
how Itaú Unibanco Bank uses the communicational gestures I-Digital for building the organizational identity
of a virtual bank, from the Semiotics of Culture point of view.
Keywords: Semiotics of Culture, Identity, Culture, Semiosphere, I-Digital.
1. Introduction
Before speaking about Semiotics of Culture, one must understand what semiotics is. It can be said that
Semiotics are a science that investigates signs. The semiotic name has its root in the Greek word semeion, which
means sign. Thus semiotics is the science of signs; it is the science that observes language and the constructions of its
meaning. The studies of Semiotics of Culture contribute to understand the systems of generation of signs in culture.
Semioticians argue that individuals are regulated by cultural codes of society, and culture can not be systematized
without signs. Based on these premises, the theme of the present study arises from the need for a greater
understanding of how organizations construct their identity from the thought of Semiotics of Culture and is delimited
to the image analysis of two Itaú Unibanco bank organizational ads.
This study is inserted in the Line of Research and Communication Processes and is justified by the relevance
of the interdisciplinary value in its realization, as it provides the researcher and, consequently, the reader, multiple
possibilities of connections between the subjects addressed. As a guiding question, it is admitted that the company
builds their business identity from cultural texts produced in a semiosphere, and it is in the environment in which the
organization is inserted that the dialogic information of the construction of the I-Digital emerges. The objective of the
study is to analyze this communication gesture, known as I-Digital, a symbol of Itaú Unibanco bank, to understand
how the organization constructs their identity from the information of the semiosphere.
In this article, the choice of advertising images for analysis was due to the fact that Itaú Unibanco has one of
the most valuable brands in Brazilian market and their intent is to understand how it relates to their audiences, based
on the analysis of I-Digital.
1 Phd student in Program in Processes and Cultural Manifestations; Feevale University;. Brazil. Email: eliane.d@feevale.br.
2 Dr. in Applied Linguistics and Language Studies; Feevale University, Brazil. Email:ernanic@feevale.br.
3 Dr.ª in Social Communication; Brazilian Institute of Studies and Research in Gender, Brazil; Email: denisecastilhos@gmail.com.
146 Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 7, No. 1, June 2019
The analysis makes possible important reflections on the construction of the business identity, from the
perspective of the Semiotics of Culture. Analyzing this kind of materiality also makes possible to shed light on the
possible interpretations of cultural semiotics analysis.
As main theoretical framework of the research, the postulates proposed by Lótman (1979), Bakthin (2000,
2002), Baitello (2003) and Machado (2003) are used.
The analyzes lead to a deeper dialogue with the advertising communications so that one can identify how the
Itaú Unibanco bank uses the I-Digital communication gesture for the construction of the corporate identity of a
virtual bank based on Semiotics of Culture.
As for the methodology of the study, it is an applied research with a qualitative approach and exploratory
approach, and is done through a case study.
The sections are arranged as follows: the first one presents the course of the studies of Semiotics of Culture
and its main concepts. The next section looks at colour information such as informational codes and identity. It
follows a presentation of the methodological questions and, then, it is presented the contextualization of the research
corpus, the analyzes and results. Lastly, the final considerations are presented.
2. The semiotic project: course of the studies of Semiotics of Culture
In contemporary times, social, cultural and economic transformations put companies in a scenario of intense
changes. Society and institutions reveal their visions of the world and the translation of reality. The deepening of the
studies that approach a possible interpretation of the constructed senses, from the different texts that emanate from
the environments, and the different social actors, helps the understanding of the systemic organization of culture.
It is emphasized that there are several types of semiotics, and using this methodological path requires an
interdisciplinary dialogue for the interpretations that arise in the process. It is considered that the most relevant "[...]
have been the European semiotics of Saussurian origin and continued by Hjelmslev, Greimas and Co., the triadic
semiotics of logical and mathematical origin of the American Charles S. Peirce, and that we call Semiotics of Culture
[.. .]. " (Iasbeck, 2012, p.76). Semiotics of Culture, which is taken as a proposal of analysis of the object of this
research, considers the postulates of several thinkers, such as Iúri Lótman, Ivan Bystrina, Mikhail Bakthin and Norval
Baitello Junior, among others.
The proposed project for the study of culture semiotics started at the Tartum-Moscow school (ETM)4 in the
1960s at the university of Tartum (Estonia) and the main objective was to assimilate the role of language in culture.
Summer seminars closed in 1974, but their developments in the 1980s persevered and their main representatives were
Roman Jakobson, Iúri Lótmam and Viatcheslav Ivanov, according to Machado (2003). In the next item, the main
concepts that involve the cultural semiotic project are presented.
2.1 The Semiotics of Culture: Main Conceptual Approaches
Semiotics of Culture has emerged from the need for a greater understanding of myths, arts, machines and
languages, and the understanding of how these spheres are organized. Based on these foundations, theoretical
orientations emerged that gave voice to research on the conceptions of individuals5 and their cultures. Its main
distinction comes in the focus of study: semiotics as a science studies the signs and the Semiotics of culture also
covers the study of cultural texts6.
Semiotics of Culture has taken its object of study, that is, culture, with the "[...] „combinatorial‟ form of
several systems of signs, each one with its own codification, is the maxim of the semiotic approach of the culture that
has been defined, thus, as a systemic semiotics7." (Machado, 2003, p. 27). One works with the idea that culture is an
information process and, therefore, an arrangement in a system of cultural signs or symbols. It emphasizes the
transformative character of Semiotics of Culture8, that is, the transformation of no culture into culture.
4 Summer Seminars.
5 Regarded as social actors in the Semiotics of Culture process.
6 It is through texts that one captures the information that will elucidate the cultural issues of society.
7 Culture Semiotics works with systems.
8 What is verified in this statement is the characteristic of Culture Semiotics of transforming disordered
information (entropy) into an intelligible textual organization (Machado, 2003).
Dos Santos, De Freitas & De Araújo 147
Based on the main Soviet semioticists of Tartum-Moscow school, culture is a set of texts elaborated by the
individual, forming a "second reality9", according to Baitello (2003). In the same sense, the second reality, for Lótman
(1979), is called the semiosphere10, that is, a possible cultural environment organized by individuals, in which cultural
productions take place.
[...] the fundamental 'work' of culture [...] consists of structurally organizing the world around man. Culture is
a generator of structurality; creates around the man a partner-sphere that, like the biosphere, makes life
possible, not organic, of course, but of relationship. [...] In order to fulfill this task, culture must have within it
a structural stereotyping device (ztampujuscee utrijstvo), whose function is developed precisely by natural
language: this is what gives the members of the social group the intuitive sense of structurality. (Lótman, 1981
p. 78).
Semiosphere would be a symbolic universe composed of a grouping of information created and assembled
"[...] by man over the millennia, through his imaginative capacity [...]" (Baitello, 2003 p. 37). This imaginative capacity
can be understood as a way of narrativizing what is not neatly linked. In addition, narrative ability allows the invention
of relationships and of writing texts, either in verbal language or in other languages available to the individual. Bakhtin
(2000) emphasizes the importance of the actors producing the cultural texts when one thinks of deciphering signs and
their meanings.
It is believed that the sign produces sign, just as a text creates new texts, proposing a semiotization of the
world. The work of culture would be "[...] to organize structurally the world that surrounds man". (Lótman; Uspenski,
1981, p. 39). Therefore, the text can be considered as a "[...] result of an interaction of elements and their temporal
projection [...]". (Baitello, 2003, p. 42). Thus, the sign will not be visualized as text without considering its path and its
relation of temporality in which the dialogue happens with the other signs or with itself.
Bakthin (2000), with regard to the definition of text, emphasizes that it is a rational set of signs. Another
point to be highlighted in the space of the semiosphere is the term frontier11, which can be defined "[...] as a
mechanism of semiotization capable of translating external messages into internal language, transforming information
(not text) into text". (Machado, 2013, p. 69). The semiosphere is a porous space (which can approach other
semiospheres) and finds in dialogism12 a perspective of recognition of the meaning of signs and cultural texts.
In the face of such ideas "[...] one should [...] understand by texts of culture, not only those constructions of
verbal language[...]". (Baitello, 2003, p. 28). Thus, other languages are also considered, such as images, dances, etc.
Therefore, it is considered that the minimum unit of culture is the text and, with this affirmation, because a high
degree of problematization is identified, Semiotics of Culture13 is an option to deal with these issues.
Thus, it is based on the premise that culture advises itself on semiotic resources that are its own. It should be
noted that the procedure of transforming information into texts is performed according to memory14. From this
principle, it can be said that culture can be perceived by semiotics, since the information provides data to transform
them into text15, that is, codified information.
"Codes as modeling systems and modellers have the function of culturalizing the world, that is, of giving it a
structure of culture. The end result is the transformation from a non-text into a text ". (Machado, 2003, p. 39).
Therefore, the concept of culture as a textual process is assimilated as text in the text. "Every culture text is
encoded by at least two different systems. Thus, every text of culture is a modeling system." (Machado, 2003, p. 39).
9 Baitello emphasizes that the biological level "primary or hypolinguistic" (first reality) exists within each
living being, as well as the "second reality", being a concept elaborated by Bystrina (1990).
10 Lótman (1979) uses the word semiosphere in analogy to the set of ecosystems existing in the planet Earth, that is, the
biosphere.
11 It is emphasized that in the space borders are found texts that can connect with other cultures semiospheres.
12 The claim comes from Bakhtin (2000).
13 By the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary affiliation that the discipline proposes.
14 "Before entering into the merits of the discussion of culture as a text, it is necessary to establish the basis of culture as
information, where the key element is memory - nonhereditary memory that guarantees the mechanism of transmission and
conservation.” (Machado, 2003, p. 38).
15It is said that texts are made up of languages.
148 Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 7, No. 1, June 2019
The importance of language16 as the first code in Semiotics of Culture is emphasized. "Although it has attributed to
language the character of primary modeling system, limiting the others to the condition of secondary modeling
systems [...]" (Machado, 2013, p. 66).
Other points to be emphasized in the understanding of Semiotics of Culture are tradition and translation,
which allow for reflections on how the translation of tradition evokes the construction of new texts, according to
Lótman (1979). The perspective provides support for the understanding of translation (dialogism) as a way of
rewriting new cultural texts. The dialogism, concept borrowed from Bakhtin (2000), refers to the relations that every
text maintains with the texts produced previously and with the texts to come.
Thus, semiotic studies originated from the school of Tartum-Moscow arise from a learning applied to the
language and the systems of signs. The applied semiotics, in view of this, understands that "[...] instead of simply
transporting theories for the analysis of the object, in this way, one has to conform to them, derives theories by
examining the properties from the own object". (Machado, 2003, p. 35).
It can be said that, in addition to contemplating language under the linguistic aspects and the graphic-sound
coding of the verbal alphabet, it is considered "[...] the presence of other cultural codes (visual, sonorous, gestural, of
specific semiotic systems. Therefore, understanding the language of culture will be regarded as a preliminary exercise
from which it will be possible to trigger the examination of cultural products on the systems of signs." (Machado,
2003, p. 35).
Semiotics of Culture is evidenced as an exercise of questioning, since, when speaking about culture, it is
referring to a field of related expressions, where each scope of language would need to be perceived as a system of
signs. Dialogue is in the experiences of encounters, in which each system sees the other system and legitimizes itself.
Next, one turns to questions about corporate identity and image in the semiosphere.
3. Companies in the Semiosphere: colours as cultural codes
The symbolic universe (semiosphere) where cultural productions take place, opens space for reflections on
the identity and corporate image and its importance in this environment. The possibility of managing the
organizational identity helps in the construction of an appropriate image and organizational reputation, that is, identity
plays a relevant role for a company to distinguish itself from others. Almeida (2008) clarifies that identity interferes
with image and reputation and, finally, image and reputation influence identity construction.
Bakhtin's (2002) thinking becomes important when he presents the ways in which the images of others are
created and the images of oneself before others. The reflection enables the conception of the self from three
interrelated groups in which there are innumerable functions between the self and the other. Initially, "it presents the
'me-to me', the way I see myself, how myself looks at my own conciousness and feels it; my identity". (Freitas, 2013, p.
191). It is stipulated that there are two more groups of the self marked by "[...] otherness: „me-to-other‟ and „the-other-
to-me.‟ The „me-to-the-other‟ category refers to how the other sees me, how I look in the other's eyes. Conversely,
„the-other-to-me‟ relates to how I perceive the other, as the other who is outside me is apprehended by his/her self."
(Freitas, 2013, p. 191).
The dialogical conception of the triad of the self can be used to understand the production of subjectivity,
that is, a self that builds itself in the interaction and not in a fusion with the other. (Freitas, 2013). Thus, the relevant
role of alterity in the composition of the self is evident. This process also happens in the business field, in which the
triad can be referenced for issues of identity and corporate image.
An important issue in the construction of corporate identity and, consequently, the corporate image in
dialogic spaces, is to consider that Semiotics of Culture works not only with the verbal text. In this context, the
perception, transference and storage of colour (as a text of culture) are governed by cultural codes that intervene and
suffer interference from other human codes, such as language and biophysics, according to Guimarães (2001).
Therefore, to take into account the relevance of colours in the cultural semiosphere is to look at colour as a code of
information that contributes to the symbolic elaboration of the companies. From this premise, emphasis is placed on
the understanding of "[...] colour as one of the elements of visual syntax, and visual language as one of several codes
of human communication". (Guimarães, 2001, p. 16). It is assumed that colour can enhance cultural texts because the
purpose of their use is known to the emitters and recipients of texts in the semiosphere.
16 It refers to verbal language.
Dos Santos, De Freitas & De Araújo 149
Companies, in general, in their cultural textual positions, relate colours to textual codes that contribute to the
maintenance of their identity, as well as to make them recognizable among many other companies by the recipients of
these textual codes. It is known that each company has their history and colours, in the same way, have histories that
are organized by the cultural, psychological and physiological aspects.
It is noted that in the dialectical17 context of the semiosphere, the production of cultural texts finds, in the
perception of colour18, a relevant component for communicational pragmatics. Thus, Semiotics of Culture brings the
possibility of a more in-depth reflection on the processes of the identity and imaginary dynamics of companies. After
evidencing the main theoretical premises on Semiotics of Culture, the methodological course to be used for analysis of
the case study is presented.
4. Methodological Route: the path of Cultural Semiotics
The corpus of the research corresponds to the analysis of the I-Digital communication gesture, considered a
symbol of Itaú Bank S.A.19 in the late 1990s, which began to reproduce the company's brand in Brazil's advertising
campaigns for decades.
As for the methodological procedures, the research is of an applied nature, with a qualitative approach. The
exploratory and descriptive nature of the research is assumed. As far as data collection is concerned, the procedures
are bibliographical based on Semiotics of Culture and documental: Itaú bank publicity images available on the
internet. The documents to be analyzed privilege advertising images, but also consider the semiosphere of Itaú Bank,
which is delimited, in this case, to Brazil, although the bank also operates in several other countries. It is from the
space in which the bank is inserted, semiosphere, that are brought the relevant information to compose the analyzes.
The proposal presents the analysis of advertising images from the perspective of Semiotics of Culture,
understanding culture as a set of systems, that is, a great text. The theoretical framework of the study is composed by
Lótman (1979), Bakhtin (2000, 2002), Baitello (2003), Machado (2003) and Guimarães (2001).
The study is organized as follows: first, the contextualization of the financial institution is presented so that
the semiosphere in which their signs are present is understood. Soon after, two advertising images that represent the
communicational gesture (I-Digital), considered a symbol of Itaú Unibanco Bank S.A, are analyzed. Lastly the final
considerations of the research are presented.
5. Itaú Unibanco Bank: the contextualization of the bank
Itaú Unibanco S.A is a company that arose from the merger between two Brazilian banks: Itaú and Unibanco.
Itaú Bank was founded in São Paulo (SP) in 1943 and their first name was Central Credit Bank. Unibanco Bank was
founded in 1924 in Poços de Caldas (MG) and their first name was Moreira Salles House. The merger of the two
banks in 2008 was the result of a stealthy deal between Roberto Setúbal, president of Itaú, and Pedro Moreia Salles,
president of Unibanco.
Valued at R$ 24.5 billion, the Itaú Unibanco brand was chosen by Interbrand as the most valuable in the
country. This recognition is very good, but what makes us happier is knowing that the admiration for our brand has
its origin in something that goes beyond our services and products. On the contrary, it comes from our concern, from
our acting as a bank that seeks to be relevant in people's lives. The purpose of our brand is to promote positive
changes in the lives of people and society. Our responsibility for the development of the country is at our core. In
addition to the transformation inherent in our main activity, we also invest in projects related to education, culture,
sports and urban mobility. (ITAU-UNIBANCO, s.n 2017).
In order to understand the actions of the bank in the last decades, it is noticed that in the 1970s, the bank
already thought about the creation of a logo to account for their visual identity. According to data from the official
website of the institution20, the bank's first logo was a black square with rounded corners, which alluded to the name
Itaú, which, in Tupi-Guarani language, means black stone. In the 1980s, the bank made significant changes in the
brand, when the blue color was introduced to symbolize a new visual identity, in which were valued the technological
aspects of the bank to better serve the customer.
17 Dimension valued by Bakhtin (2002).
18 Understood as information.
19 At that time, the bank had this business name. Soon after the merger of Itaú with Unibanco, 2008, the corporate name was
changed to Itaú Unibanco S.A.
20 Retrieved from https://www.itau.com.br/sobre/marca/saiba -aqui-como-o-banco-feito-para-voce-se-tingiu-de-laranja html.
150 Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 7, No. 1, June 2019
As early as 2000, the bank redesigned their brand and made it more contemporary, to fit the 21st century, that
is, something that would prove to be a bank made for you. Thus, it was during this period that the bank reinforces the
concern with the customer and the slogan “made for you” was inserted in the commercials. From then on, the bank
began to use the colour orange in their logo, what is highlighted in Itaú Unibanco Bank official website21, and informs
that the orange colour is an intense, warm color that raises the bank's intention to want to be close to customers and
society in general and, therefore, is related to the bank, becoming a trademark of the institution, and can be found on
bank facades, commercials, logo of the institution, etc.
With the transformation of the logo in the 1980s, the bank's goal was to bring greater visibility to agencies in
the city scenario, where most financial institutions used more sober colours in communications with their customers.
The relationship of the orange colour associated with the bank was so intense that in many commercials the brand
appears only at the end of the advertisement, being identified by the customer, first, by the preponderance of orange.
It demonstrates the relationship of the bank in linking the orange colour to a more youthful and contemporary
communication with their customers, that is, orange happens to be the identity of the bank made for you.
The slogan “made for you” has become the representation of the bank's promise. The text (slogan), together
with the orange colour, helps in the recognition of the identity of the bank, creating a contemporary, technological
and unique image. It is noticed that, in some commercials, as afore mentioned, the name of the bank does not appear,
only the colours and the textual part, that direct the reader to the understanding of the identity of the company.
It is also contextualized that it was the publicist Sérgio Valente who created the I-Digital code or "i-rroba"22
that was used to connect the bank and customers to the virtual world. It is observed that in the section of analysis and
results this subject will be explored in greater detail. It is noteworthy that Itaú Unibanco bank has products that refer
to the virtual world. The bank presents their clients with options that make possible that they enjoy their services with
the best existing technologies. An example of a bank product that values virtual technology is the virtual card for
Internet purchases that the bank makes available in their product portfolio.
It should be noted that the bank was one of the pioneers in Brazil working on customer segmentation. With
this strategic positioning, it seeks to build a communication with them that values and emphasizes the different social
classes, the multiple types of clients considered as the target audience, namely, black, white, children, celebrities,
women, the elderly, young and enterprises (large, medium and small). Itaú Unibanco is dedicated to causes that break
the frontiers of the financial sphere, that is, of their main economic activity. The institution acts in education, sports,
culture and urban mobility and uses these strategic concepts for the construction and maintenance of their identity.
It is noted that the world is changing and the way people interact with banks as well. Thus, Itaú Unibanco
aims to evolve with these changes and offer the best services to all who relate to it in some way. For that purpose,
they seek to strengthen the digital positioning, maintaining a dialogue with society and clients.
6. Outcomes of Semiotic of Culture
Firstly, the two publicity images that will help in the discussions on the human gesture of I-Digital, used for
the construction and maintenance of the identity of Itaú Unibanco, will be presented and, consequently, will give
indications of the image that the recipients are elaborating of the bank, from the textual productions under the look of
Semiotics of Culture. Figures 1 and 2 show the cultural texts of the bank within its semiosphere.
21 Retrieved from https://www.itau.com.br/sobre/marca/saiba-aqui-como-o-banco-feito-para-voce-se-tingiu-de-laranja.
22 The "a" was replaced by the "i" in the “at” sign.
Dos Santos, De Freitas & De Araújo 151
Figure 1 I-Digital Construction
Source: Youtube (2016).
Figure 2 I-Digital and slogan “Made for you”
Source: Site Marketing TV (2016).
In the reflections about the production of images of the bank Itaú Unibanco for ads commercials, the
analyzes of the Semiotics of Culture are used. The financial institution, since the 1970s, has been working to create
cultural texts that are organizable and intelligible (Machado, 2003) and that the recipients can identify them, even
without the Itaú Unibanco brand.
a) Figure 1 - Construction of the I-Digital: in figure 1 the images show two supposed clients or employees
two recipients making the human gesture of the construction of the I-Digital, taking ownership of the cultural
universe of the bank, a feeling of belonging to the semiosphere (Lótman, 1979). It is noticed that the movements of
the gesture, together with the orange colour contribute to the construction of the semiosphere of the bank. The
modeling codes (Machado, 2003) invite the recipient to participate in the digital scenography.
152 Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 7, No. 1, June 2019
Following the scenes for the preparation of the I-Digital, the two recipients, young people, make the gesture
in harmony and with ease. It is identified that the actors23 (Bahktin, 2000) of the scenography that composes the
gesture are valued by the bank, that is, the importance of the recipients who receive the information is observed. The
verbal language does not appear, but the images and the gestural production contextualize the technological
environment in which the bank is inserted.
In this way, other languages are valued for information transmission, according to Baitello (2003). The
construction of the I-Digital was associated with the "@" graphic symbol, which is related to Internet issues, since, at
the time of its creation (symbol created by Sérgio Valente in 1999), was waiting for the new millennium. With this, the
"a" was replaced by the "i" in the at sign, as mentioned, which suggests that the bank is seen as virtual and dynamic,
facing the rapid changes of the technological world. The human aspect of the gesture shows that, besides being a
dynamic bank, since it is oriented towards the future, it has a human aspect, as it is a process built from an individual
in the environment built by the bank. Culture (Lótman; Uspenski, 1981), in this case, organizes this space, revealing
meaning to the gesture suspended on the screen of the images. It is observed that in each screen presented, in the
center, are the people24 who represent those who adhere to the bank and its identity. Globalization can also be
remembered by the I-Digital symbol, identifying the bank's desire to be remembered as a global bank, whose
products25 ensure greater mobility for the bank's customers. It can be said that the modeling systems (Machado, 2003)
used by the bank to build a virtual world are capable of structuring the culture, from the symbol, the products and the
language of the advertisement.
Figure 2 - I-Digital and slogan “Made for You”. Figure 2 shows two people, supposedly with a profile that
the bank aims to conquer as clients: a hypothetical father with his daughter, presumably clients of the bank, making
gesture I-Digital Human from Itaú.
In this symbolic universe in which the bank creates its identity, it is envisaged that the recipients will adhere
to the values of the bank and the idea of digitizing, that is, transforming Itaú Unibanco into a more virtual bank in
exchange for ideas that the bank should be just face-to-face. It is observed that the semiosphere26 in which the bank
and its signs meet is a porous and permeable space where, through cultural boundaries (Machado, 2013) that
composes the dialogic process (Bahktin, 2000), it is not restricted to a determined field of economic and financial
performance. The identity building of the bank permeates other spheres such as education, sport, culture and urban
mobility. In the image, it is verified how the bank passes through the sphere of leisure of the supposed clients of the
bank, involving them with its predominantly orange colour, which suggests the intention of using colour as a code
(Guimarães, 2001) of information among people.
The elements colour and human gesture tend to collaborate so that the brand of the bank becomes
differentiated in the market and contributes to the symbology of the company. The orange colour helps in the
recognition of the brand of Itaú Unibanco, enhancing the perception of the bank's image by the receiver. It should be
noted that the receivers of the bank image have different profiles, since the bank uses the segmentation of clients to
serve the most diverse types of people and companies, offering specific products for such segmentations.
Figure 2 shows that two people, supposedly father and daughter, enjoy moments of fun and that the bank
cooperates with these moments of entertainment by being digital and offering products with this technology to their
customers. Itaú bank mark appears on the left side of the image, where one can see that the word “Itaú” is in yellow
inside an ultramarine blue square with rounded corners and accompanied by the slogan “made for you. The slogan
suggests that the institution undertakes to offer the recipient a unique bank capable of translating the purpose and
values of cultural information, using the technology of the advertisement scenario, making clients have a dialogical
relationship (Bakhtin, 2002) and of alterity in the systemic cultural process of Itaú Unibanco. The I-Digital gesture, as
opposed to the design of the brand visualized in the image, proposes the interaction of the receiver with the brand.
The static logo that appears on the left side of the image gives way to the incorporation of the moving brand, which
translates the bank's intention to redirect the brand to the virtual space, creating a dynamic and dialogical identity that
enables the receiver to image a virtual and globalized bank.
23 The one who adheres to the bank's cultural texts.
24 All recipients of cultural texts, such as the client, the artist (celebrity), employees, those who use the services of the bank or who
like the institution are considered.
25 Virtual credit cards, digital accounts, internet payment applications among others.
26 Delimitation: Brazil.
Dos Santos, De Freitas & De Araújo 153
7. Final Considerations
All studies have a historical affiliation, a philosophical, ideological, pragmatic affiliation. Ensuring both history
and the affiliation of ideas is the inalienable task of the theoretical work that supports all scientific research. In this
sense, it is possible to note that one of the primary tasks of scientific work is to preserve, disseminate and cultivate,
among scholars, the ethics of concepts. Preserving and disseminating the concepts formulated by Russian theorists for
the semiotic study of culture is the great challenge of this ethical agreement. Culture is a privileged space of signs.
However, there is much to understand about the dynamics that govern the relationship between systems in these
spaces. The more tools to think about such mechanisms one is able to develop, the greater the possibilities of having
knowledge about semiosis. Hence the need to present the semiosphere as a new field of investigation of Semiotics of
Culture.
The symbolic universe of semiosphere is where cultural textual productions are elaborated and where textual
constructions are carried out and are able to bring information about the organizational identities. The notion of
culture starts from an idea of the organization of principles of signs. This study, based on the thought of Semiotics of
Culture, thematized the need for a greater understanding of how organizations build their identity, and is delimited by
the image analysis of two Itaú Unibanco bank advertising projects.
The guiding question was complied with as it was admitted that the company build their business identity
from cultural texts produced in a semiosphere, and it is in this environment in which the organization is inserted that
dialogic information emerges from the construction of the communicational gesture I- Digital. The objective of the
study was reached as it made possible to analyze the I-Digital communication gesture, a symbol of the Itaú Unibanco
bank, in order to understand how the bank constructed its identity from the information of the semiosphere and
positioned itself as a supposedly virtual bank, without leaving aside the human aspect in their relations, and the whole
context in which it is inserted.
This research was of great value because, due to the interdisciplinary in the accomplishment of the study, it
was possible to use concepts of Semiotics of Culture and of the construction of the corporate identity, being offered
as a practical investigation for the line of research Communication Processes. It is believed that the studies may
contribute to future research about the theoretical aspects mobilized here. As a limitation, it can be considered that
the investigation takes place with documentary data from only one financial institution. It is advisable to use, in future
researches, discursive materialities of other organizations, promoting comparisons between the diverse cultural textual
productions, investigating how the companies construct their identities.
Culture, from the perspective of Semiotics of Culture, comes to be recognized as a process and not as a
product. Thus, studies that focus on understanding the dynamics of semiospheres show a greater probability of
exploring corporate semiosis and considers the boundaries, heterogeneity and irregularities that permeate
contemporary culture, especially in organizational environments.
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