Territorial Brands at Different Scales of Production: The Example of Champagne
conference contributionposted on 2011-07-04, 08:46 authored by Jennifer Smith Maguire, Steve Charters
◦Purpose: The research compares different scales of champagne producers in order to examine how the meanings of product and place vary within the same territorial brand. ◦Design: The research is interpretive and exploratory. Findings are reported from a thematic analysis of transcripts of nine interviews with representatives of large, medium and small-scale champagne brands. ◦Findings: Findings suggest two broad product meanings within the single territorial brand of champagne: large-scale producers framed champagne as a drink for special occasions, whereas medium- and small-scale producers differentiated their product as terroir-led wine. We consider how these product myths—champagne as celebration, and champagne as authenticity—are associated with different articulations of the link between product and place. Whilst all respondents suggested an intrinsic link between their brand and the terroir of Champagne, large-scale producers placed greater emphasis on regional-level geographic terroir, and brand-level cultural terroir, whereas smaller producers were more likely to emphasize highly-localized and personalized land- and cultural-based notions of terroir. A brand’s representations of champagne and Champagne will reflect objective conditions of production; however, we argue against assuming a neat dichotomy between large and small, manufactured and authentic. ◦Practical implications: The case of champagne underlines the need for territorial and regional brand managers to balance the stories told by actors situated at different scales of production. The variation in product myths and place stories creates the potential for conflict and consumer confusion; however, it also allows for a multiplicity of place-related attractions and extensions to the territorial brand.