The Nobel Prize: A ‘Heritage-based’ Brand-oriented Network

by Mats Urde & Stephen A. Greyser

Overview — This study examines the Nobel Prize as a true heritage brand in a networked situation and explores its identity, reputation, and stewardship. It is the first field-based research on the Nobel Prize as a brand. The authors define a heritage brand as one where its past is leveraged into its positioning and value proposition for the present, and the future. A networked situation is one where several organizations join together to create a new entity with its own strategy and identity. Overall, the authors develop and articulate a new approach to and framework for examining and analyzing corporate brand identity and reputation, and apply it to the Nobel Prize. Key concepts include:

  • This study investigates and illuminates what the Nobel Prize is and how it works in practice.
  • The Nobel Prize's brand core identity—"for the benefit of mankind"—is rooted in its past (the will of Alfred Nobel), informs and guides its present, and strengthens its relevance for the future "as the world's most prestigious award."
  • The research examines, explores, and seeks to understand the Nobel Prize—its brand, identity, and reputation—as well as how and why it has the character it does.
  • The Nobel Prize is a "networked brand" with the Nobel Prize at the hub of a network of four other independent collaborating organizations. They have a shared goal of sustaining and reinforcing the meaning and values of the Nobel Prize, while each maintains its own identity and other goals.

Author Abstract

Purpose Understanding the Nobel Prize as a "true" heritage brand in a networked situation and its management challenges, especially regarding identity and reputation.

Methodology The Nobel Prize serves as an in-depth case study and is analysed within an extended corporate brand identity framework that incorporates reputation.

Findings The Nobel Prize is a "true" corporate heritage brand (in this case, organizational brand). It is the hub of a linked network of brands-"a federated republic." The brand core of the Nobel Prize is its set of core values supporting and leading to its promise: "for the benefit of mankind." The core constitutes a hub around which the essential award-granting institutions, as well as the Nobel Foundation and other related entities and stakeholders gravitate. The laureates represent and validate the Nobel Prize track record. The will of Alfred Nobel, described as "the Nobel Prize federation's constitution" is interpreted by us as indicating a brand-oriented (compared to market-oriented) approach within a network of interrelated institutions and organisations.

Paper Information