Approaching the utopia of a global brand

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Increasingly global markets impose strains on the branding industry for the design of trademarks with a worldwide appeal. This paper explores the potential benefits of the exploitation of embodied schemata for this purpose. A corpus of international automobile brands is analyzed in search of the image schemas at work in the conceptualization of different car categories (i.e. minis, family cars, sports cars, and off-road 4 × 4s). Our findings evince that, together with other well-known strategies (i.e. sound symbolism), multimodal image schemas can be added to the inventory of branding tools which help to imbue brands with a globally comprehensible semantics. In the context of branding, it is also attested that the structure of the general schemas is fleshed out through their interaction with the most salient attributes of the target product/service named by a particular brand, rather than in relation to other contextual or cultural facts.


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