Summary of Brandscapes

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  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


The mall where you shop, the coffee shop where you take your breaks, the museum that you visit – wherever you go, you are walking through a “brandscape,” or branded world. Anna Klingmann describes this aesthetic experience in her eye-opening study of branding in all its forms, with a special focus on architecture. Offering a unique perspective, Klingmann breaks down the strategy behind well-known brands such as Disney, Apple and Starbucks. She also parses the experiences that brandmakers create everywhere from cruise ships to casinos to that “urban entertainment district” where you might have suffered your latest attack of brand overload. Klingmann’s text meanders at times, yet her trenchant analysis is rewarding. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone seeking a perceptive analysis of branding strategies – with an unusual recognition of how architecture and landmarks serve to generate a brand image.

About the Author

Architect and critic Anna Klingmann is principal of a branding agency. Her articles have appeared in AD Magazine, Architecture d’Aujord’hui and other publications.



Brands and the “Aura of Meaning”

Branding is crucial in the modern economy. People increasingly identify with brands and interpret products, places and other individuals based on them. Moreover, branding has become a dominant force in world culture. Branding doesn’t rely just on the ephemera of logos, ad campaigns and the “cool” factor. In today’s “experience economy,” bricks and mortar also create brands. Step into a Prada store or a BMW dealership, and you’ll see how the built environment reinforces those brands’ cachet. Or look at the growing prominence of cities, such as Bilbao, Spain, pushed into the spotlight by its branch of the Guggenheim Museum. Building booms define Shanghai and Dubai; Las Vegas is famous for its over-the-top casinos. These are the winners in the branding game, but it also has countless losers. Branders strive to make their offerings stand out, but, if anything, ubiquitous branding has made the world a blander place.

A century ago, companies accomplished branding through mass production, epitomized by Henry Ford’s Model T. Ford said that his customers could buy a car painted any color they wanted, so long as it was black. For decades, mass...

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