Brand Architects Give Ground To Brand Geographers

Hugh MacLeod, the writer-guy who draws (sometimes raunchy) comics on the back of business cards, says brands are a place. “A place where something happens when somebody (not necessarily the customer) interacts with it:
-By interacting with Gerber, she becomes a better-informed mom.
-By interacting with The Wall Street Journal, she becomes more tuned into the world of capitalism.
-By interacting with Apple, she brings her entrepreneurial dreams closer to reality.
-By interacting with McDonald’s, her busy schedule is made slightly easier by avoiding a lot of fuss over lunch.
-By interacting with Ralston Purina, she becomes more attached to her canine friend.
-By interacting with your brand, she becomes…?
And so forth.
Hence why I prefer to use the term ‘Brand Geography’, as opposed to ‘Brand Architecture’.
You go somewhere, something happens, and then you leave. Hopefully something positive happens. The more glaringly obvious the transformation, the better.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    Brand architecture or brand geography – isn’t it all just a matter of semantics? The basic idea of advertising hasn’t really changed over the years; people are just coming up with new, cool-sounding buzzwords to describe. Sorry to sound so cynical.

  2. You know what they say…
    There are no new ideas.
    I will say, brand geography makes more sense. It’s more pedestrian and thus more fitting.

  3. Yeah. Pedestrian is good 😉
    Actually, I agree with Carl that the basic idea of advertising hasn’t changed, but that’s not the part of advertising that is interesting to me.

  4. Carl LaFong says:

    Just out of curiosity, Mr. Macleod, what part of advertising does interest you?
    I’m being sincere here, not snide. I value your opinion. Your site, along with Mr. Burn’s, is one of my favorites because I enjoy your slashing wit and intriguing insights. Even when I don’t agree with what you say, you give me something to think about.
    My point is, the purpose of advertising seems simple enough: to connect to the consumer in such a way as to get them to purchase your product or service. Everything else is just window dressing.
    Or am I just being hopelessly naive and/or ignorant?

  5. “My point is, the purpose of advertising seems simple enough: to connect to the consumer in such a way as to get them to purchase your product or service.”
    A worthy definition. But traditionally very expensive, not to mention difficult. So there’s a market for making it cheaper, easier, more effective etc.