How Brands Craft National Identity

Michael Beverland*, Giana M. Eckhard, Sean Sands, Avi Shankar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Drawing on cultural branding research, we examine how brands can craft national identity. We do so with reference to how brands enabled New Zealand’s displaced Pākehā (white) majority to carve out a sense of we-ness against the backdrop of globalization and resurgent indigenous identity claims. Using multiple sources of ethnographic data, we develop a process model of how brands create national identity through we-ness. We find that marketplace actors deployed brands to create and renew perceptions of we-ness through four-stages: reification, lumping, splitting, and horizon expansion. From this, we make three primary contributions to the consumer research literature: we develop a four-part process model of how brands become national identity resources, explore the characteristics of the brands that enable the emergence of and evolution of we-ness, and explore how our processes can address a sense of dispossession among displaced-majorities in similarly defined contexts
Original languageEnglish
Article numberucaa062
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 12. December 2020


  • Brands
  • We-ness
  • National identity
  • New Zealand
  • Cultural branding

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