Scotland the Brand, which administered the Scotland “country of origin” mark and advised companies on how to use Scotland in marketing products in the UK and abroad, has gone into voluntary liquidation.
Launched in 1994 as part of business development agency Scottish Enterprise, the organisation was spun off in May 2003 and turned into a private company, dependent on membership and licensing fees for its income. Annual fees – which included rights to use the Scotland mark – ranged from £250 to £10,000.
However, only a week after the body was privatised, the Scottish Executive announced plans for a new strategy for promoting Scotland abroad.
Nick Kuenssberg, the Scottish businessman who became non-executive chairman of the company, says the uncertainty caused by that announcement effectively destroyed the company’s chances of survival: “They announced a new branding initiative, but without telling anyone what it was.”
Kuenssberg adds that as a result, Scotland the Brand was unable to market itself to potential licence holders and was unable to bring in any revenue.
The company’s directors called in the liquidators at the end of last month.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive says: “As far as I’m aware, Scotland the Brand did a good job, but it was purely a quality mark for Scottish products.”