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Article

Ammar Abdellatif Sammour, Weifeng Chen and John M.T. Balmer

This paper aims to study the corporate heritage brand traits and corporate heritage brand identity by concentrating on developing key dimensions for the corporate heritage

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the corporate heritage brand traits and corporate heritage brand identity by concentrating on developing key dimensions for the corporate heritage brand dimensions in the retailing industry in the UK. This study advances the corporate brand heritage theory and introduces the theory of corporate heritage brand identity, which is developed from the case study of John Lewis – one of the most respected and oldest retails in the UK established in 1864.

Design/methodology/approach

This empirical study has adopted a theory-building case study using qualitative data. It uses semi-structured interviews that were organised and managed by John Lewis Heritage Centre in Cookham. A total of 14 participants were involved in this study. We have used Nvivo.11 software to set the main themes and codes for this study framework.

Findings

This study identifies Balmer’s (2013) corporate heritage brand traits that are essential to be considered for the corporate heritage brands in the retailing industry to sustain their innovativeness and competitiveness. The findings of the case study informed the four dimensions of corporate heritage brand identity, which include price, quality, symbol and design. The findings are incorporated into a theoretical framework of corporate heritage brand identity traits.

Practical implications

The discussed traits of this study can help brand senior management to enhance their corporate heritage reputation and sustainability through maintaining these (four) traits over their brand, and inform their brand stakeholders about their brand heritage success.

Originality/value

This is one of the few attempts to develop a research framework of corporate heritage brand identity. This framework suggests four dimensions of corporate heritage brand identity traits including brand price, quality, design and symbol. This is one of the first attempts to study corporate heritage branding management traits in the retailing industry sector.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

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Article

Mats Urde and Stephen A Greyser

– The purpose of this study is to understand the identity of the Nobel Prize as a corporate heritage brand and its management challenges.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand the identity of the Nobel Prize as a corporate heritage brand and its management challenges.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth case study analysed within a heritage brand model and a corporate brand identity framework.

Findings

The Nobel Prize is a corporate heritage brand – one whose value proposition is based on heritage – in this case “achievements for the benefit of mankind” (derived directly from Alfred Nobel’s will). It is also defined as a “networked brand”, one where four independent collaborating organisations around the (Nobel) hub create and sustain the Nobel Prize’s identity and reputation, acting as a “federated republic”.

Research limitations/implications

The new and combined application of the Heritage Quotient framework and the Corporate Brand Identity Matrix in the Heritage Brand Identity Process (HBIP) offers a structured approach to integrate the identity of a corporate heritage brand. In a networked situation, understanding the role of stewardship in collaborating organisations is essential: The network entities maintain their own identities and goals, but share common values of the network hub.

Practical implications

The integrated frameworks (HBIP) provides a platform for managing a corporate heritage brand.

Originality/value

This is the first field-based study of the Nobel Prize from a strategic brand management perspective.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article

John M.T. Balmer and Weifeng Chen

This paper aims to examine the attractiveness of the Tong Ren Tang (TRT) as a Chinese corporate heritage tourism brand and consider the significance of TRT for Chinese…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the attractiveness of the Tong Ren Tang (TRT) as a Chinese corporate heritage tourism brand and consider the significance of TRT for Chinese national identity. The study considers the saliency of Balmer’s augmented role identity notion vis-à-vis corporate heritage institutions/corporate brands. Insights are made from and for corporate heritage, heritage tourism and national identity literature.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model comprising five hypotheses was developed and this informed a survey-based questionnaire administered to domestic tourists/customers visiting Tong Ren Tang’s flagship shop in Beijing.

Findings

The attractiveness to domestic Chinese tourists/customers of the TRT corporate heritage tourism brand was found to be attributable to its multiple role identities: national, corporate, temporal, familial and imperial. As such, this study lends credence to Balmer’s augmented role identity notion. Chinese domestic tourists/customers – as members of an ethnic Chinese community – in visiting TRT not only consume an extant corporate heritage by tangible and intangible means but can also be seen to express, and reaffirm, their sense of Chinese national identity.

Practical implications

For TRT’s managers, there should be an appreciation that the attractiveness of TRT as a corporate heritage tourism brand rests not only on what it sells but also in what it symbolises in national and cultural terms. This finding is applicable to the managers of many other corporate heritage/corporate heritage tourism brands.

Social implications

Adopting a primordial perspective, the TRT pharmacy was found to be of singular significance to China’s national identity. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Confucian and Daoist religious/philosophical and China’s erstwhile Imperial polity are significant and enduring precepts of Chinese national identity. As such the TRT flagship shop/brand is of singular importance, as China has eviscerated much of its cultural heritage – particularly in relation to its corporate heritage brands.

Originality/value

This is the first empirical study to focus on corporate heritage tourism brands and one of the first studies to examine a Chinese corporate heritage/corporate heritage tourism brand. Also significant in focussing on the TRT corporate heritage brand. Established in 1669, TRT’s history spans five centuries: a corporate provenance which is exceptional within the People’s Republic of China. The study links the corporate brand notion with the nascent corporate heritage brand domain and the established area of heritage tourism.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

Content available
Article

John M.T. Balmer and Weifeng Chen

The study aims to explore customer satisfaction towards the celebrated Tong Ren Tang (TRT) Chinese corporate heritage brand (established in 1669). This paper examines the…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to explore customer satisfaction towards the celebrated Tong Ren Tang (TRT) Chinese corporate heritage brand (established in 1669). This paper examines the multiple role identities of the corporate brand and, in particular, the enduring imperial identity (role identity) of the corporate brand. The study examines whether the corporate heritage brand’s imperial associations are still meaningful.

Design/methodology/approach

A indicative, survey-based case study methodology undertaken with Chinese customers informs this research.

Findings

TRT’s corporate heritage brand identity and, moreover, its imperial role identity were salient in terms of customer satisfaction. TRT’s augmented imperial role identity not only was highly salient but also, moreover, meaningfully enhanced the organisation’s corporate reputation in terms of customer satisfaction.

Research limitations/implication

This study lends further support for the utility of the notion of corporate heritage/corporate heritage brands and in particular the saliency of the theoretical notion of augmented role identity within the corporate heritage marketing field.

Practical implication

Corporate heritage brand managers should be appraised of which corporate role identities are meaningful for customers. At a practical level, senior corporate marketing managers of corporate heritage organisations should accorded importance to the additional P of Provenance apropos the corporate marketing mix.

Social implication

At a time, when China is reappraising its relationship with its past – including its imperial past (of which much has been destroyed) – this paper’s focus on TRT’s unsurpassed augmented role identity is pertinent and propitious. Seemingly, this corporate heritage brand’s imperial association provides a living and tangible link with China’s long and momentous imperial provenance and erstwhile imperial polity. In short, the corporate heritage brand is part of China’s patrimony and enjoys a unique place in this regard.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first empirical studies examining a Chinese corporate heritage brand entity. The study marks new ground in examining customer satisfaction from the theoretical perspectives of corporate heritage brand and augmented role identity. It is believed that this is the first study to consider corporate heritage in the pharmaceutical sector and marks new ground in considering the saliency of China’s imperial legacy on an extant, highly successful and high profile-Chinese corporate heritage brand.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 51 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article

Mario Burghausen and John M.T. Balmer

The purpose of this empirical study was to introduce the theory of corporate heritage stewardship by focussing on the nascent corporate heritage identity domain. In…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this empirical study was to introduce the theory of corporate heritage stewardship by focussing on the nascent corporate heritage identity domain. In particular, the research explores managers’ collective understanding of their organisation’s corporate heritage and how the latter is marshalled, and strategically represented, by them. The case study was undertaken in Great Britain’s oldest extant brewery. Established in 1698, Shepherd Neame is one of UK’s oldest companies.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical research informed by a theory-building, case study using qualitative data. This study draws on multiple sources of data generated through semi-structured interviews, the analysis of documents and non-participant observations. The analysis of data was facilitated by a multi-stage coding process and a prolonged hermeneutic interaction between data, emerging concepts and extant literature.

Findings

Corporate heritage identity stewardship theory argues that the strategic enactment of a corporate heritage identity is predicated on a particular management mindset, which is meaningfully informed by three awareness dimensions expressed by managers (i.e. awareness of positionality, heritage, and custodianship). These awareness dimensions are underpinned by six managerial stewardship dispositions characterised by a sense of: continuance, belongingness, self, heritage, responsibility and potency. The findings are synthesised into a theoretical framework of managerial corporate heritage identity stewardship.

Research limitations/implications

The insights from this empirical case study meaningfully advance our theoretical understanding of the corporate heritage identity domain. Whilst the empirical contribution of this study is qualitatively different from statistical/substantive generalisations, which seek to establish universal laws, the research insights are valuable in terms of theory-building in their own terms and are analytically generalisable. The insights from this study have the potential to inform further studies on corporate heritage identities, including research underpinned by a positivistic, and quantitative, methodology.

Practical implications

The findings have utility for corporate marketing management, in that they illustrate how a collective corporate heritage mindset can both inform, as well as guide, managers in terms of their stewardship of their firm’s corporate heritage identity. The theoretical framework is of utility in practical terms, in that it reveals the multiple dimensions that are significant for management stewardship of a corporate heritage identity.

Originality/value

The research confirms and expands the notion of management stewardship in corporate identity in corporate marketing contexts by identifying how a multi-dimensional managerial mindset has constitutive and instrumental relevance. Moreover, this study identifies the distinct characteristics of this corporate identity type – corporate heritage identity – which are revealed to have a saliency for managers. Both insights underpin the corporate heritage identity stewardship theory explicated in this article.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article

John M.T. Balmer

This article scrutinises the nature and salience of corporate heritage identities via the lens of the British Monarchy. A corporate heritage identity framework is…

Abstract

Purpose

This article scrutinises the nature and salience of corporate heritage identities via the lens of the British Monarchy. A corporate heritage identity framework is introduced. The heritage identity construct is positioned vis‐à‐vis other related constructs such as nostalgia, tradition, and custom.

Design/methodology/approach

An embedded case study informed by desktop research and a literature review of the British Monarchy and by an empirical‐collaborative study on the Swedish Monarchy. The paper is also informed by the literature on heritage and other historically‐related constructs.

Findings

The notion of relative invariance is introduced. The latter is important since it explains why heritage identities can remain the same and yet have changed, namely: The Relative Invariance Notion. Corporate heritage identities and brands are invested with special qualities in that they are a melding of identity continuity, identity change and are also invested with the identities of time (times past, present and future). Heritage identities are an accretion of various identities, which are variously linked to institutions, places, cultures, and to time frames. The notion of Institutional Role Identities is introduced. The study suggested that heritage identities have multiple institutional role identities. These identities can be utilised in various contexts and for a variety of purposes: this might account for their strength. One explanation of why heritage identities are powerful is because they meet customer and stakeholder needs by encapsulating and, importantly, by giving identity. Heritage identities, potentially, are an important dimension of a group's collective memory.

Practical implications

A revised corporate heritage identity framework relating to the British Monarchy is introduced. The model can be adapted so as to appraise our comprehension of corporate heritage identities in more general institutional contexts. The importance of bi‐lateral institutional and stakeholder trust to the framework and the need for (institution) heritage authenticity – or perceived authenticity – and stakeholder affinity are noted.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on heritage identities in institutional contexts and a distinction is made between corporate heritage identities and corporate heritage brands identities.

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Article

John M.T. Balmer

The purpose of this paper is to advance the general understanding of the corporate heritage domain. The paper seeks to specify the requisites of corporate heritage and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance the general understanding of the corporate heritage domain. The paper seeks to specify the requisites of corporate heritage and to introduce and explicate the corporate heritage marketing and total corporate heritage communications notions.

Design/methodology/approach

As befits an opening article of the first special edition specifically devoted to corporate heritage, this article is largely conceptual in character and draws on the extant literature on corporate heritage brands and identities. In illuminating key points, it also makes reference to extant corporate heritage entities/brands.

Findings

A provisional theory of corporate heritage sustainability is articulated, as is the enumeration of key corporate heritage traits. The notions of corporate heritage marketing and total corporate heritage communications are introduced and articulated. Key corporate heritage traits requisites encompass omni‐temporality; institution trait constancy; external/internal tri‐generational hereditary; augmented role identities; ceaseless multigenerational stakeholder utility and unremitting management tenacity. Corporate heritage marketing consists of eight dimensions: corporate heritage character/communications/covenant/conceptualisations/culture/constituencies/custodianship/context. Total corporate heritage communicates consists of primary/secondary/tertiary and legacy communications.

Practical implications

The paper notes the need for assiduous management attention to be accorded to organisations with a bona‐fide corporate heritage. Managers are custodians – as are organisational members guardians – of a corporate heritage. Corporate heritage institutions because they are sui generis require distinct approaches vis‐à‐vis their preservation and management.

Social implications

Corporate heritage identities and corporate heritage brands confer not only corporate but also temporal, territorial, social, cultural and ancestral identities to multi‐generational groups of customers and other stakeholders. As such, they are of importance not only as corporate entities but also as perennial social identities as well. This is of importance to policy makers, managers and owners of corporate heritage identities and corporate heritage brands.

Originality/value

The unveiling of corporate heritage marketing and of total corporate heritage communications perspective and the articulation of key corporate heritage entity traits is original and is of value to corporate communications/corporate marketing scholars and practitioners alike.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article

John M.T. Balmer

This article introduces the special symposium entitled “Advances in corporate brand, corporate heritage, corporate identity and corporate marketing scholarship” and…

Abstract

Purpose

This article introduces the special symposium entitled “Advances in corporate brand, corporate heritage, corporate identity and corporate marketing scholarship” and provide a synopsis of the five articles constituting this symposium. By means of context, this article celebrates the anniversaries of four marketing milestones apropos the formal introduction of the corporate brand concept (1995), the formal introduction of the corporate heritage notion (2006), the first special edition (in this journal) devoted to corporate identity (1997) and the formal introduction of the corporate marketing philosophical approach (1998). The latter – corporate marketing – can be viewed as a revolution in marketing thought by noting that mutually beneficial company–stakeholder relationship can be based on corporate identities and corporate brands are not restricted to products and/or services.

Design/methodology/approach

Taking a retrospective, this paper explains the four marketing milestones detailed above and notes the revolutionary notion of corporate marketing. All of the aforementioned have meaningfully advanced marketing scholarship over the last 20 years.

Findings

This study provides 18 reflections of developments with the corporate brand and corporate identity fields. It also shows the seminal importance of European Journal of Marketing (EJM) special editions on the territory dating back to 1997.

Practical implication

This paper discusses how corporate identity, corporate branding, corporate heritage, corporate identity and corporate marketing have, increasingly, become mainstream marketing concerns.

Originality/value

In marking these milestones, this celebratory EJM symposium comprises cutting-edge scholarship on the aforementioned areas, penned by renowned and prominent scholars from Australia, England, Germany and the USA.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 51 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article

Anna Blombäck and Christina Scandelius

This paper seeks to explore whether corporate heritage as a component in planned communications can be important to foster a responsible corporate brand image among consumers.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore whether corporate heritage as a component in planned communications can be important to foster a responsible corporate brand image among consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

A research model with three hypotheses was created and tested through linear multiple regression analysis, including 199 brands. The dependent variable, responsible brand image, was obtained from a Swedish consumer survey (n=8,015). The independent variables were measured through content analyses of the brands' webpages.

Findings

The findings support that presence of corporate heritage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication is positively related to responsible brand image with consumers. It is notable that the results indicate that corporate heritage identity on its own does not influence positive consumer perception on responsibility, unless it is linked to CSR communication.

Research limitations/implications

Previous research has indicated the significance of cultural context on what constitutes effective CSR communication. As this study is limited to a Swedish consumer sample, the authors therefore recommend further research including a wider national context in order to validate the findings.

Practical implications

The study and findings can inspire and inform companies how corporate heritage can be utilised in brand communications to facilitate CSR credibility among consumers.

Originality/value

By introducing history and heritage as a perspective on CSR communication and responsible brand image, the paper adds to the growing literature on corporate heritage identity and branding. The findings also add to the CSR communication literature calling for more knowledge on elements that build effective CSR communication.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article

Anna Blombäck and Olof Brunninge

This paper seeks to uncover why and how the combination of family and company history in family businesses implies idiosyncratic opportunities in the process to uncover…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to uncover why and how the combination of family and company history in family businesses implies idiosyncratic opportunities in the process to uncover, activate, and nurture heritage‐based corporate identities and brands.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion is specifically informed by the literatures on brand heritage, family business, and the notion of hybrid identities. To illustrate this typology of history communication in family businesses the paper relies on web site observations in Sweden and German‐based family businesses.

Findings

Based on the construct of brand heritage, the paper clarifies why the entwinement of family and business provides fertile ground for brand heritage. The presentation of a typology of ways to communicate family, business and family business history respectively further reveals the varying openings and practices of family businesses in this area.

Research limitations/implications

The paper primarily takes an external marketing orientation and is conceptual.

Practical implications

The distinction of two sources of brand heritage in family businesses and the typology of approaches to reflect history in corporate communications should be of interest for practitioners. The findings can serve as an eye‐opener and instrument in the planning of strategic marketing.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on brand heritage and heritage branding from a family business perspective. Being hybrid identity organizations, characterized by entwinement of family and company history, family businesses offer particular perspectives to the heritage brand discussion.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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