What makes a corporate heritage brand authentic for consumers? A semiotic approach

Anne Rindell, Fernando Pinto Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, the purpose is to develop a consumer-focused understanding of authenticity within corporate heritage research. Our research question is as follows: “What makes a corporate heritage brand authentic for consumers?” We employ Peirce’s semiotic concepts of icon, index and symbol to analyse consumers’ perceptions of the Finnish corporate heritage brand Fazer, founded in 1891. Our study shows that childhood memories, consumer experiences and expectations as well as shared social conventions make the corporate heritage brand authentic for consumers. Thus, our research empirically advances the understanding of authenticity as socially constructed. Importantly, our study highlights the temporal dimension of this construction and advances the current knowledge on corporate heritage brands by showing that uniqueness, credibility and consistency over time are key dimensions of corporate heritage brand authenticity assessments. This understanding is fundamental for corporate heritage management practice, especially for developing the strategic positioning of corporate heritage brands in the markets by harnessing the assessments of authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Brand Management
Pages (from-to)545-558
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 19.06.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • authenticity
  • corporate heritage
  • corporate heritage brands
  • corporate image heritage
  • peirce

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management


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