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Corporate brands with a heritage


This paper articulates a concept of ‘heritage brands’, based primarily on field case research and studies of practice. We define brand heritage as a dimension of a brand's identity found in its track record, longevity, core values, use of symbols and particularly in an organisational belief that its history is important. A heritage brand is one with a positioning and value proposition based on its heritage. The work grew from our lengthy study of monarchies as corporate brands. We describe how to identify the heritage that may reside in a brand and how to nurture, maintain and protect it, particularly through the management mindset of brand stewardship to generate stronger corporate marketing.

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We appreciate the time and ideas of numerous executives who kindly shared their experiences and insights with us via interviews and field visits. We especially thank senior members of the Swedish Royal Court and the Swedish Royal Family for meetings with us. We are also grateful for reactions and ideas from faculty colleagues, especially professor Evert Gummesson, from members of the LEAP program at the Yale School of Management, and from the Reputation Management practice group at Opinion Research Corporation. This paper has benefitted greatly from suggestions made by the two anonymous reviewers. This research was self-funded by the authors.

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Correspondence to Mats Urde.

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Urde, M., Greyser, S. & Balmer, J. Corporate brands with a heritage. J Brand Manag 15, 4–19 (2007).

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  • heritage brand
  • brand stewardship
  • corporate marketing
  • monarchies
  • heritage quotient
  • core values