Maria spent over 10 years in advertising and research agencies (including ACNielsen, Publicis, BBDO), where she worked mainly as Media Research Director. She completed a dissertation on visual semiotics in 2004 and after that started working as a freelance semiotician with several international companies. She enjoyed the methodology so much that in 2009 she decided to make it her main field of specialization and founded semiotic and cultural research agency LocalTalk. Maria holds Masters (Hons) degree in Sociology and PhD in Social Psychology from State University of Management, Moscow.
Rob is Director of Cultural Insights at Fiftyfive5, a research consultancy based in Sydney. After completing a vaccinology PhD at Oxford uni, Rob transitioned to branding and strategy in London. His research has swept him from the living rooms of middle England to the wild spaces of sunburnt country. Wielding a semiotic scalpel, he’s unravelled the fabric of consumer, culture and brand, unlocking growth strategies for a cupboard full of household names. On his days off, he draws mermaids with his daughter and makes Jamie’s 15 minute meals in 150 minutes.
Oliver Litten is co-owner of Group Red, based in Hamburg and Berlin. A brand strategist, trends and innovation expert he was worked for leading agencies, including Interbrand and Added Value, and his client list includes Virgin, Levis, Apple, Beiersdorf, Pepsico/Lays, Nike, Procter & Gamble, GlaxoWellcome and Unilever. Oliver specializes in facilitating creative workshops and immersion experiences where clients come face to face with opinion formers.