Chapter TwoThe Geographies of Brands and Branding


This chapter establishes the geographical understanding of brands and branding at the heart of origination. It tackles the definitional and conceptual questions of what is meant by the terms brand and branding. The inescapably geographical connections and connotations of brands and branding are explained. The conceptualization of geographical associations is introduced and defined. The role of actors utilizing brands and branding in spatial circuits of meaning and value is set out.

Defining the brand and branding

While a pervasive entity and object of study, the precise meaning of brand is not entirely resolved. In literal definitions, to brand is to burn, label or mark as well as to place indelibly in the memory or stigmatize (Collins Concise Dictionary Plus 1989). Originating in pre-Roman livestock and pottery and mediaeval trades, brands were used to mark identifiable distinctions in property as proof of ownership, production and/or marks of infamy and notoriety (Room 1998) (Figure 2.1). Brands established differentiated and recognizable identities for goods and services commodities, especially skilled trades, in competition (Tregear 2003). Brands marked and articulated the reputation of craft labour ‘whose prosperity depended on making a name for their goods as what we today would call a “brand label”’ (Sennett 2006: 68). Brand names, signs and logos evolved to identify and articulate the character of goods ...

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