GEOG 597i
Critical Geospatial Thinking and Applications

The Influences of Product on Location

Manufactured goods are marketed differently than primary commodities such as farm produce. Although there may be a degree of market loyalty to particular brands of oranges or apples, market loyalty tendencies are much greater for manufactured items such as automobiles, shoes, appliances and so on. Thus, whereas a consumer may be willing to spend more to purchase a specific brand of bread (or travel further to get it), he or she will probably not care whether the wheat used to make the bread was grown in Kansas or Oregon. Over time, manufacturers attempt to build a strong cadre of repeat customers (this was more important during the 20th century than it is today, but customer loyalty remains important even now). Farmers in the 1950s, for example, were willing to pay more for a specific brand of combine or tractor. Brand names such as John Deere, Allis Chalmers, Oliver, Massey-Harris, International, and Minneapolis-Moline all had loyal followings of repeat customers. In fact, it was common to hear farmers engaged in friendly, but intense arguments over which company made the best farm equipment. My family was partial to Oliver and International. Thus, although there might be a Massey-Harris dealer nearby, my father and his brothers were willing to travel considerable distances to purchase the kind of tractor they preferred.

1950 John Deere Tractor
Figure 7.9: 1950 John Deere.
Credit: F. D. Richards as found @ CC BY-SA 2.0
1950 International Farmall Tractor
Figure 7.10: 1950 International Farmall Tractor.
Credit:Gilles Péris y Saborit as found @ CC BY-SA 2.0