Advances in Branding RC organizes the Branding Special Interest Group at EMAC 2023, Odense

At this year's EMAC conference held in Odense on Funen in Denmark, the Advances in Branding Research Cluster ran the Special Interest Group in Branding under the theme of: "Exploring the crossroads between brand, work and consumption: where is the person?"

The session focused on discussing the extent and repercussions of the fluid boundaries between production and consumption (Firat & Venkatesh, 1995; Ritzer & Rey, 2016), between work and play (DuGay, 1996; Ransome, 2005), between brand and person (Fournier & Alvarez, 2012). Our aim was to explore and push the semantic and disciplinary boundaries across these three, often distinct fields through a metatriangulation (Lewis & Grimes, 1999) that explores the spaces between.

The interactive session began with three impulse presentations and continue with a discussion with the audience.

The first presentation by Fabienne Berger-Remy from IAE Paris-Sorbonne was entitled: "Brands in the negotiation of identities at work: self-reinforcement or alienation?". Here she presented an overview of research streams in branding and organization studies that examine the spaces between work, identity, and brand. Fabienne's presentation challenges us to look across disciplinary boundaries to gain insights from our colleagues in organization theory and to accept fluidity in the concept of brands and identities. We need to follow the work begun in the organizational literature that looks at the construction of self in the workplace, which pulls from professional and non-work selves. Fabienne encouraged us to take a comprehensive perspective on how brands contribute to organizing and making sense of our lives. In particular, she focused on the need to work across internal branding, HR, and corporate communication literature.

abcThe second presentation by Anna-Bertha Heeris Christensen was entitled: "The Illusion of the Empowered Consumer: When Branding Becomes Labouring on the Self." Her work delves explicitly into the intricate connection between work, production, and consumption, particularly in the context of personal branding. She highlighted the multifaceted roles social media influencers assume in the realm of production where they are engaged in a dynamic interplay of branding, consuming, and working, all simultaneously. Anna-Bertha encouraged us to critically examine the nature of consumption without production. Is it merely a form of presumption, as coined by Tofler (1980)? Or does it transcend traditional definitions? Her presentation invited us to venture beyond conventional boundaries and explore the nuanced relationships that emerge when notions of the worker, entrepreneur, individual, and personal brand meld and intertwine. By exploring the fluidity of these concepts, we were encouraged to examine the dialectic relationships that arise, as boundaries between notions of the worker, entrepreneur, individual, and personal brand become fluid.

sgyThe last presentation by Szilvia Gyimóthy "Branding “our space”: spatial narratives of shared places of consumption and production" explored the relevance of applying space as an ontological metaphor and reflecting on its axiological consequences. Space is a relational construct, that is co-created by market transactions, brand imaginaries and resident practices. The production of places is hence contested, and the accommodation of spatial practices is governed by power asymmetries. Szilvia raises issues of morality and in particular highlighted the notion of home, care, and identification in fluid workplaces and work practices. How do we domesticate our offices and new colleagues to foster a sense of belonging? What are the practical and ethical repercussions of turning our homes into offices? How could we think of a place and spatial production beyond commercial endeavors?

We invite all who are interested in the contested space between work, consumption, and brand to join us on the journey ahead.

The page was last edited by: Department of Marketing // 06/13/2023