Laura Oswald is founder and director of a strategic brand research company, Marketing Semiotics Inc., which began as In-Signs Qualitative Research in 1991. Her areas of expertise include cross-cultural consumer research and ethnography, brand strategy, and semiotics - a social science discipline that anchors sign theory in the culture of consumers. She applies semiotics to advertising response theory, brand discourse, and cross-cultural consumption settings. Her research among Haitians in North America, blacks in the inner city of Chicago, and Chinese consumers in the French luxury market examines the role of meaning production strategies in consumer acculturation. Dr. Oswald is currently conducting comparative ethnographic research among affluent consumers in Paris and Shanghai to determine the cultural variables underlying consumer perceptions of luxury brand advertising, and to identify the role of advertising in developing “brand literacy” among consumers in emerging markets. She has published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Semiotica, the Journal of Marketing Communication, Advances in Consumer Research Design Issues, Poetics Today, and the Journal of Popular Culture. Her book, Marketing Semiotics: Signs, Strategy, and Brand Value, is forthcoming at Oxford University Press.