The Nobel Prize as a brand..

Mats Urde and Stephen Greyser of HBS discuss their research on the topic. It is all about cultivating the heritage of the prize which has a huge history popularly etched in minds:

Countless brilliant academics harbor hopes of someday winning a Nobel Prize, arguably the world’s most prestigious award. But two renowned branding professors are interested in understanding what makes everyone covet the prize in the first place. For that, they recently completed the first comprehensive field-based study and analysis of the Nobel Prize from a brand and reputation perspective.

“In a real sense, everybody knows what the Nobel Prize is and what it does, but practically nobody knows how it does it,” write Mats Urde and Stephen Greyser in the paper The Nobel Prize: A ‘Heritage-based Brand-oriented Network. “Everybody knows it is prestigious but very few know how it acquired its elevated position.”

In addition to offering insights into the award’s unique brand success, the paper offers advice for protecting and fostering the heritage of any reputable brand. “When heritage is relevant, one should identify it, try to activate it, and then leverage it,” says Greyser, Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at Harvard Business School. “All brands have a history, many brands have a heritage, but only a few brands use their heritage as the heart of the value proposition that they put forth.”

The study involved historical research and hours of conversations with recent laureates and members of the organizations involved with the Nobel Prize. It draws from previous work by Urde (an associate professor at the Lund University School of Economics and Management in Lund, Sweden), John Balmer (a marketing professor at Brunel University in London) and Greyser. In 2007, the three published the paper “Corporate Brands with a Heritage,” defining brand heritage as “a dimension of a brand’s identity found in its track record, longevity, core values, use of symbols and particularly in an organizational belief that history is important.”

Interesting how the process of announcing the prize to giving it has becomeĀ a holy tradition and has become associated with the prize..

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