Gigi Taylor is a cultural anthropologist working as a qualitative UX researcher with Indeed in Austin, Texas. As a research practitioner, she conducts cultural anthropology research for business. As a scholar, she conducts anthropology research of business. What distinguishes her applied and academic research is that she uses a cultural anthropological lens to study business—advertising, consumers, brands, consumption, users, products, digital experiences, and organizations.
She embraces the idea that consumer and user experience insights informed by a cultural analysis can serve as the muse and inspiration for all aspects of product and brand strategy. The magic of cultural analysis is the theory of interpretive and symbolic cultural anthropology (Clifford Geertz and Victor Turner).
She became smitten with the discipline of anthropology when she met her first applied consumer anthropologist. She was a new account planner/brand strategist in San Francisco at Publicis & Hal Riney Advertising. The advertising agency had just hired two applied anthropologists (Patricia Sunderland and Rita Denny) to conduct foundational research for creative development. Up until that point, she had approached consumption using a psychological frame. Her PhD in Advertising from the University of Texas taught her to think in terms of consumer relationships, emotions, information processing, needs, cognition, and attitude to the brand. In contrast, the applied anthropologists introduced her to a cultural frame that illuminated the interwoven meaning of consumption practices. She was hooked.
She was an Assistant Professor of Advertising in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. She introduced Account Planning (strategic planning) into the advertising curriculum in addition to teaching media planning and graduate-level strategy courses. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas State, she was a partner with Practica Group, a consumer anthropology research consultancy where she conducted ethnographies, focus groups, interviews, diary studies, and observations. She started her research strategy career as an Account Planner at Publics & Hal Riney Advertising in San Francisco and has owned Luminosity Research, a qualitative research consultancy, since 2006.
She has a PhD and MA in Advertising from the University of Texas and an MA in Applied Anthropology from the University of North Texas. Her published academic research has appeared in both advertising and anthropological journals.