A Bittersweet Past: The Negative Equity of Corporate Heritage Brands

Anders Ravn Sørensen*, Ellen Mølgaard Korsager, Michael Heller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    In this article, we call for increased focus on the historicity of corporate heritage brands, emphasizing that perceptions of the past in the present do change as time goes by. Building on the idea of corporate brand historicity, we introduce the notion of “Negative Heritage Brand Equity” to capture the historically contingent downside potentially associated with corporate heritage brands. We use the Danish consumer-cooperative COOP as an exemplary corporate heritage brand whose heritage has become historically balanced at the threshold between asset and liability. Based on a longitudinal analysis of COOP’s heritage, we demonstrate how the entwinement of the company’s corporate heritage brand and Danish culture and identity worked to the benefit of COOP in some historical epochs but have become increasingly misaligned with its political and cultural-economic environment since the 1980s. As the cultural, political, and economic environments changed throughout COOP’s 120 years of history, so did the nature of COOP’s corporate heritage brand, which with the passing of time, negatively impacted on COOP’s image and constrained the company’s strategic options.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)200-218
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: 11. May 2018


    • History
    • Corporate branding
    • National identity
    • Heritage
    • Heritage brand
    • Negative heritage brand equity
    • Brand historicity
    • COOP
    • Danish cooperatives

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