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Brand heritage and the renaissance of Cunard

Bradford T. Hudson (Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




Brand heritage is an emerging concept within the marketing discipline, which suggests that the historical status of older companies is often explicitly linked to their brand identity and consumer appeal. The aim of this paper is to illustrate and validate this concept.


This paper provides a profile of the Cunard Line, which offers limited evidence to support prior conceptual work by other scholars. The paper uses historical research methods to illustrate the principles of brand heritage within a specific circumstance.


Heritage is central to the brand identity of Cunard and was a significant factor in the recent turnaround of the company. This paper demonstrates the nature and power of the brand heritage concept, even within a future‐oriented repositioning effort.

Research limitations/implications

Although the example of Cunard validates the brand heritage concept in a specific instance, it does not offer evidence that brand heritage is a universal phenomenon.

Practical implications

Brand heritage should be included within the repertoires of marketing strategists and brand managers. Executives of older companies should be aware of this approach and should consider the potential to exploit heritage for competitive advantage.


This paper offers original research to support prior conceptual scholarship on the emerging topic of brand heritage.



Hudson, B.T. (2011), "Brand heritage and the renaissance of Cunard", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 No. 9/10, pp. 1538-1556.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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