Hi! Fascinating concept. One item to add to the reading list (if it isn't on your radar already):
Berg, L. D., & Vuolteenaho, J. (Eds.). (2009). Critical toponymies: The contested politics of place naming. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
There may also be something from Anholt on the early begins of place branding and origins stemming from family names.
In my research, looking at neighbourhood brands, one set of interviews (12 so far) all independently refer to the traffic circle as the key landmark of the neighbourhood and yet the actual traffic circle was removed 25+ years ago. So framing comes into play.
Another that comes to mind is David Harvey and the social capital that is attached when naming takes place, and in turn, the place is objectified or commodified for trade. And once something goes into circulation, it is under market control. I think is very salient to your initial idea.
I'm currently working on a paper around beer toponomy. So I find your draft proposal very interesting.