Abstract: A Brand Entwined in National History: Brand Heritage Between Asset and Liability

Anders R. Sørensen

Abstract

In this paper I use the Danish retailing cooperative, COOP, as an example of a corporate heritage brand that, not merely is aligned with, but has become completely entwined in Danish national history and identity. Thus, while many brand managers aspire to have their brands associated with fashionable national symbols, COOP, at its genesis, was created by and for the Danish cooperative movement central for Danish identity. Using COOP as an example I demonstrate how this entwinement of the corporate heritage brand and national heritage to some extent worked to the disadvantage to COOP because the company, in the past two decades, had to legitimize its actions and strategies against the background of the cooperative ideas of solidarity and community. As such the paper challenges and problematizes the notion of brand heritage management and shows that too much of a good thing (having your corporate heritage brand associated with a broader cultural heritage) has the potential to become a liability rather than an asset.