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Ch-Ch-Changes: The Geology of Artist Brand Evolutions

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew Lindridge



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald Publishing Limited, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Purpose – Existing brand literature on assemblage practices has focused on providing a map or geography of brand assemblages, suggesting that an artist brand’s ability to evolve and achieve brand longevity remains constant. Using geology of assemblage, this study explores the types and mechanisms of change in brand evolutions to address the problem of identifying when and how a brand can transform in an evolving marketplace. Design/methodology/approach - We apply an interpretive process data approach using secondary archival data and in-depth interviews with 31 self-identified fans to explore the artist brand David Bowie over his 50-year career. Findings – As an artist brand, Bowie’s ability to evolve his brand was constrained by his assemblage. Despite efforts to defy ageing and retain a youth audience appeal, both the media and his fans interpreted and judged Bowie’s current efforts from a historical perspective and continuously re-evaluated his brand limiting his ability to change to remain relevant. Practical implications – Brand managers, particularly artist brands and human brands, may find that their ability to change constrained by meanings in past strata over time. Withdrawal from the marketplace, the use of silence as communicative practice enables brand transformations. Originality – The geology of assemblage perspective offers a more nuanced understanding of brand changes over time beyond the possibilities of incremental or disruptive change. We identify the mechanisms of change that result in minor sedimentation, moderate cracks, and major ruptures in a brand’s evolution.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Eagar T, Lindridge AM, Martin D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Marketing

Year: 2022

Volume: 56

Issue: 12

Pages: 3617-3651

Print publication date: 02/11/2022

Online publication date: 02/12/2022

Acceptance date: 03/10/2022

Date deposited: 03/10/2022

ISSN (print): 0309-0566

ISSN (electronic): 1758-7123

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/EJM-04-2021-0252

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/5h56-zp55


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