JONATHAN E. SCHROEDER
Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
Brands and branding have emerged as key concepts in marketing, management, and strategy. Branding refers to the process of bringing attention to a product, company, concept, person, or cause. The American Marketing Association defines brands as a “name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition.” Brands and branding have transcended the traditional implications of trademark to occupy a central place in corporate strategy and cultural life. They are not just managerial tools or marketing concepts; they represent a contested ideological, managerial, and scholarly arena. Understanding brands and branding involves an awareness of basic cultural processes which include historical context, ethical concerns, consumer response, and regulation.
Recent research on brands and branding has expanded to include cultural, sociological, and theoretical analysis which both complements and complicates corporate, economic, and managerial approaches. Brands have representational and rhetorical power both as valuable cultural artifacts and as engaging and deceptive bearers of meaning and value, reflecting broad societal, cultural, and ideological codes. Brands are not only mediators of cultural meaning; they themselves have become ideological ...