This chapter explores the theoretical background to a new understanding of how corporate brand identity is emerging in the 21st century, which develops into the book’s central theme of the riparian brand. Traditional perspectives of branding have focused on tangible brand construction as an important element of brand design and marketing (Moor 2007), and have seen public relations as a servant, supporting master brand values (Morris and Goldsworthy 2012). This chapter will instead consider the theoretical origins of a move towards an understanding of identity as projective and dynamic (Lury 2004). It will build on the current emphasis on the co-creation of brands and negotiation (Merz et al 2018) as part of creating authentic brands. It will also concentrate on developing a theoretical understanding of the processes of stabilisation and formatting required to create brands as immutable mobiles: ‘In sum, you have to invent objects which have the properties of being mobile but are also immutable, presentable, readable and combinable with one another’ (Latour 1986:6).