Back to Hugin and the ‘70s for one last anecdote. We were having a meeting to consider our branding because few could get the pronunciation of our name right – it was Hew-ghin or they called us Huggins, Hoogin, Huge-gin… In the meeting someone asked its derivation and an older member of the Co-op team mumbled ‘It’s Odin’s raven, innit’.
I did a bit of research and found he was right. The Norse god Odin was blind and thus sent his ravens, Hugin and Munin, to fly around the world and report back to him. Of course, it didn’t escape our notice that Hugin cash registers did much the same thing for retail managers.
We put that raven everywhere – on brochures, in adverts and mailers, and even on the bonnet of our two hundred service vehicles.
I remember one service engineer buttonholing me saying it was humiliating to drive around with the image on his vehicle. I asked him why and he told me people kept asking him what it represented. I asked how he responded and he replied, ‘Of course, I tell them about Odin’s raven.’ I said, ‘QED!’