Table of Contents

Brands and Branding Geographies

Brands and Branding Geographies

Edited by Andy Pike

Despite overstated claims of their ‘global’ homogeneity, ubiquity and contribution to ‘flattening’ spatial differences, the geographies of brands and branding actually do matter. This vibrant collection provides a comprehensive reference point for the emergent area of brand and branding geographies in a multi-disciplinary and international context.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Brands and Branding Geographies

Andy Pike

Subjects: business and management, marketing, development studies, tourism, economics and finance, regional economics, services, environment, tourism, geography, tourism, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, urban studies


Andy Pike INTRODUCTION Blundstone boots are an archetypal Australian product, produced by a ‘100% Australian family-owned’ business since 1870 in Hobart, Tasmania. The brand’s differentiation and value are based upon its hard-working, tough and sturdy attributes situated in its particularly Australian national context (Blundstone 2010:1). Going by the slogan of ‘Australian for boot’ and using Australian rock legend Angry Anderson as ‘the face of Blundstone’, ‘Blunnies’ are marketed as tough, sporty and comfortable, and provide ‘hard working footwear for “Hard Working Men”’ (Blundstone 2010:1). In the early 2000s, Blundstone employed 500 people in Hobart, and the company was considered ‘the last major full footwear manufacturer in Australia’ with ‘80% of their product .  .  . fully manufactured in Australia, 15% have uppers made overseas and 5% . . . fully imported’ (Colbeck 2003: 4). By 2007, the brand owner’s Australian manufacturing operation faced acute cost and viability pressures. These resulted from trade liberalisation and increased competition for consumers demanding increasingly differentiated products requiring extra labour content and ‘en masse . . . not willing to pay more dollars for product that is of comparable quality and features just because it is Australian made’ (Blundstone 2010:1). Exhausting its potential to further improve productivity and innovation in its Australian factory, the company concluded that ‘all we can see is our costs going up, the market forcing our prices to either drop or stay the same’ (Blundstone 2010:1). Blundstone decided to relocate most of its production overseas to India and Thailand, where labour costs were one-fifteenth to...