Symbolic Speech: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Steven Coleman

Steven has his Bachelors in Communication and has earned his Masters in Education. He is also in the process of pursuing his Doctorate degree.

Symbolic speech is non-verbal communication used to express or convey a specific message or idea. In this lesson, you will learn what symbolic speech is followed by a quiz.

What Is Symbolic Speech?

Let's say John is a baseball fanatic; his favorite team is the Boston Red Sox. John walks into a restaurant and sees his rival baseball team's jersey, the New York Yankees, hanging on the wall. John gets offended by the jersey and walks out. This is an example of symbolic speech and how it can affect business.

Symbolic speech is non-verbal communication that is used to express or convey a specific message or idea. Whether we notice it or not, symbolic speech is displayed frequently throughout our everyday lives. Sometimes it is subtle and discreet, for instance, a no smoking sign in the window of a hotel. Other times it is deliberate and blatant, like an American flag on the antenna of a car.

The Business of Symbolic Speech

What is the most popular brand in the world? When thinking of that brand, what is the first image to come to your mind? More than likely it is their logo. Developing a logo is a prime example of symbolic speech and its influence on business. A logo creates brand recognition, and it gives the public an image to associate with your company. Most companies, if not all, have some sort of logo to identify with. For example, the Nike check logo symbolizes Nike and the apple on the back of a phone symbolizes the Apple brand.

Symbolic speech is also interconnected with marketing and advertising. The more people you put your logo in front of, the more popular it will become. The message that your logo promotes is significant and can impact a company's public relations. If the message of the logo resonates with the targeted audience, then it could gain supporters. If the message is offensive and doesn't relate to the public, then it could affect a company's public perception, and it could lose supporters.

Effects of Symbolic Speech

The effects of symbolic speech when used in a business setting varies depending on the message. If the message relates to the public, then it could increase popularity. If the message does not connect with the public, then it can do the opposite.

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