Proposal preview


Brands and the branding process evolved over time and across categories (products, sectors, areas) and geographical/cultural areas. In the age of globalization, brands are at the core of market processes and branding is a pillar of corporate strategy and marketing practice. Not by chance the number of studies on this topic rapidly grew up in the last decade in scholarly and practitioner journals across different fields of research such as sociology, economic geography, business history, history, marketing, management and organization. According to this new literature strand, history and the “use of the past” as both a narrative and an intangible asset, emerged as cornerstones of the branding process. In particular, new studies in brand management featured the use of the past as a starting point of “cultural” strategies used on the one hand to revive “sleeping beauty” brands, by re-articulating brand’s heritage, and on the other to relaunch historical brands with updated and improved features. In other words, branding today should be understood as a creation of powerful narratives, or stories that create resonant cultural meanings and intangible values, as heritage and collective memory about different subjects (places, countries, cultures, products, firms, etc.) in different time and space conditions. Although some studies (Belfanti, 2015 and 2017; Hansen 2006, Mordhorst 2014; Pinchera, Rinallo 2017; Suddaby, Foster, Trank 2010) have recently highlighted that history and rhetorical history play a key role for establishing claims to authenticity, identity and value in the past and present branding processes, this approach is relatively new and still needs further empirical evidence as well as theoretical development.
Economic historians provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of history in branding processes and the way in which brands are “narrated” in a historicized fashion (storytelling construction and de-construction). More generally, they are able to discuss the key role that history and “the use of the past” play in the market processes over time and across categories and contexts.
This session invites scholars interested in understanding the role of history, and the use of the past, in brands and branding processes over time, from the XVIth to XXIth century, and across categories (products, firms, industrial sectors, regions, cities, countries) through an interdisplinary prespectives.


  • Valeria Pinchera, University of Pisa,, Italy
  • Marco Belfanti, University of Brescia,, Italy

Session members

  • Pierre-Yves Donzé, Osaka University,
  • Alberto Grandi, University of Parma,
  • Mukti Vishvanath Khaire, Cornell University,
  • Corine Maitte, University Paris Est Marne La Vallée,
  • José Antonio Miranda, University of Alicante,
  • Ivan Paris, University of Brescia,
  • Veronique Pouillard, University of Oslo,
  • Johanna Zanon, University of Oslo,

Proposed discussant(s)

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