Placing brands and branding: a socio-spatial biography of Newcastle Brown Ale
Despite their apparently pervasive reach and relevance, the geographies of branded commodities and their branding have been unevenly recognised and under-researched. This paper presents a way of conceptualising and analysing brand and branding geographies. Focusing upon goods and services, the notion of geographical entanglements is developed to understand the spatial associations and connotations that unavoidably ensnare brands and branding. Second, it examines how such attachments shape and are shaped by brand and branding agents, including producers, circulators, consumers and regulators. Last, the placing of the geographical entanglements of brands and branding is developed as a means of lifting their ‘mystical veils’ and prompting reflections upon their politics and relationships to uneven development. Situating branding genealogies in geographical context, the empirical analysis comprises a socio-spatial biography of Newcastle Brown Ale (NBA). It explains how NBA’s geographical entanglements have been (re)constructed in its contrasting survival in the UK and growth in the US. As a way of thinking about brand and branding geographies, the paper seeks to broaden the reach of economic geographies at their intersections with cultural economy approaches and to stimulate debate about their politics and alternatives to uneven development.
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