The turn to city-regionalism in Scotland is a consequence of the policy and political assertion of the importance of cities in the new territorial economy of a devolved state. Moreover, the developmental rationale for city-regions rests on the stronger functional realignment of economic growth, investment, housing and population patterns, and the interaction of diverse flows to realise agglomeration efficiencies. In planning and governance terms, the argument for city-regions involves a layered spatial intervention so as to secure intended institutional efficiencies and sustainable development. In practice, the city-region discourse is dominated by functional linkages and relations in factor markets. This paper questions whether this functional perspective is sufficient in socially reconstructing the city-region identity. Adopting the concepts of functionalism and representationalism from the place-branding literature, this paper considers what may be learned from a communicative logic that is relatively more sensitive to issues of interpretation and identity.