Purpose – Naturally occurring brands combine history, anthropology, sociology and marketing to explain the phenomenon of communities defined by a sense of place. Focusing on both the Basque Country and Basques in Boise, Idaho, we discuss the naturally occurring brand of the Basque people throughout history into the modern day. We explain who the Basques are and how they have branded themselves through language, place, industry, food, drink and culture with mention of similarities to other communities and the lessons that other ethnic/cultural communities can learn. The purpose of the paper is to address the “marketing and imagined communities; nations and cities as brands” suggestion in this conference’s call for papers. In particular, this paper reveals instances where Basques, consciously or not, branded themselves through products and artifacts that simultaneously serve as windows into this often overlooked culture, hence the “metaphor for history.”
Approach – Both a marketer and a historian join efforts to discuss branding and a people’s history. A variety of branding issues are discussed in relationship to the Basque people via a history timeline and marketing branding literature. Photographs are included to highlight key points.
Research Limitations – This paper is descriptive, not empirical. It introduces many different branding topics without, by necessity, much elaboration of each topic. Other marketers and historians, with equally good knowledge of the Basque community, might choose other branding issues to highlight and still other researchers might verify by a quantitative study of perceptions of agreement from Basque communities.
This document was originally published by Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing in Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM). Copyright restrictions may apply.
Bieter, John and Ray, Nina M.. (2013). "Branding Basques, Bilbao, and Boise: Marketing as Metaphor for History". Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM), 162-13.