How to rebuild the Spain´s reputation using Spanish company brands abroad


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Insight Corporate Excellence

Can Spain benefit from the strong position of successful Spanish companies abroad by reinforcing and launching its own brand during the crisis? What tools can be used to achieve this, in what sectors and what would be the basis for the project titled Spain?
In order to reconstruct Spain’s brand abroad, apart from improving the reputation by changing the country’s internal reality, it is necessary to align prestige and recognition achieved by the brands of Spanish companies abroad with the country itself, creating synergies and sharing meanings and values between the two.

But in order to achieve this, it is also necessary to improve the brand of Spain. Only by doing this it will be possible to restore the reputation damaged in the last years due to the economic crisis. Besides, it is important to improve the “hard” aspects of the reputation, such as quality, innovation and productivity – in all these elements Spain still lags behind.

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How to rebuild the Spain´s reputation using Spanish company brands abroad

  1. 1. InsightsStrategy DocumentsI11/2011BrandHow to rebuild the Spain´sreputation using Spanishcompany brands abroad Can Spain use the strength of the brands owned by its successfully internationalized companies to build up and improve its own country brand at an especially difficult time of crisis? What are the levers that must be used to achieve this, with which industries and under what premises must the foundations for a project named ‘Spain’ be laid? Spain has brands that identify its activity and point An idea made up of many voices, but also many to the high value of its products and services, with faces, according to Miguel Otero, Managing an important recognition worldwide since the Director of the Renowned Spanish Brands Forum, transition to democracy – as in the case of the as also certified by the honorary ambassadors of Monarchy –, or a strong tourist brand, which it the ‘Spain’ brand, accredited to this association – continues to build, and which many consider to be which includes the main Spanish brands located the meaning behind the ‘Spain’ brand itself. abroad –, with the objective of publicly recognizing individuals, companies and institutions that But, is that a limiting factor? Does Spain depend have contributed most, in their lifetime, to the excessively on its relationship with the sun, bricks strengthening of Spain’s international reputation. and holidays? Are all the foreign multinational Indeed, the British weekly magazine “The industries and companies prepared to associate Economist” published a cover story and an article their brand with the idea of Spain, as some fashion some time ago dedicated to analyze this point: brands have already done? Is it difficult for Spain “A country of many faces,” stated the magazine, to combine different industries in the mixture that stripping the different facets which, together, makes up the entire country brand? make up Spain’s reputation abroad, accepting and assuming that placing a country under a singe Also, the King’s personal brand and those of other differential concept is extremely difficult. important personalities in their own field (sport, business, arts or politics) contribute to define the idea Different images, one reputation that citizens from other countries have of Spain when The term Spain does not mean the same when thinking about visiting or buying (tourists), investing asking European students what this country (analysts) or studying (students), working and living represents to them when choosing it as a good place (professionals) in that European country. to study an MBA, or an Erasmus course, as whenDocument prepared by Corporate Excellence with reference to, among other sources, the interventions of Miguel Otero (ManagingDirector of the Renowned Spanish Brands Forum) and Juan Pablo Merino (Director of Corporate Marketing and Brand at FCC andProfessor at the ESIC Business & Marketing School) during the conference “How to build a country brand” organized by ESIC BusinessSchool in Madrid in October 2011.
  2. 2. How to rebuild the asking international analysts who must decide Spain Brand Committee‘Spain’ brand using whether to recommend investing in Spain or not,Spanish company or Latin American consumers when they have tobrands abroad value services on offer and work with a Spanish company present in their country. “The party is over,” read another cover story Spain Ambassadors Brand published by the principal economic magazine in the Project world – only a few months after the previous article mentioned – at the start of the current economic and financial crisis and with a clear reference to an idea of Spain based on chaos, overindulgence and constant entertainment. Source: Simmonsgd, 2011 For the overall image of the country also plays an important and decisive role when attracting successful brands in the world and the image of resources and obtaining results. Spain as a brand is the ‘Spain’ brand itself. In fact, most brands have made up of its different parts, its industrial, personal as their distinguishing DNA a series of attributes or business brands, but Spain is also what it is as a (sociable, sensual, glamour, kind and fashionable) whole, as an umbrella brand. that do not entirely correspond with the genetic ‘Personal Precisely at a time like this it is more difficult to code of the ‘Spain’ brand. brands achieve the relevance of a brand such as Spain’s, Brands of international renown such as Zara, San contribute even after intensifying communication campaigns or prioritizing efforts to inform about the positive Miguel, NH or Torres are not sufficiently associated with Spain by many consumers and opinion leaders to define aspects that work and improve in the context of throughout the world. the idea Spanish society, despite other aspects that do not. For that reason, it is necessary to create synergiesthat others Spain’s reputation has fallen in the last years among between these brands and the ‘Spain’ brand,have when the citizens of the more industrialized economies, especially Argentina, France and Germany, as well as with the personal brands of so many professionals that act as true ambassadors of thethey think but continues to be relatively good in other country, overcoming the traditional difficulties about countries, despite the downturn. Spain has a good reputation profile in some so-called ‘soft’ attributes with collaboration that Spaniards have, even with projects overseas. visiting, (friendliness, kindness, lifestyle, leisure and buying, entertainment), but in so-called ‘hard’ attributes (innovation, competitiveness, productivity and It is therefore necessary to ask oneself, as stated by Juan Pablo Merino, Director of Corporate investing, quality), Spain shows important weaknesses that Marketing and Brand at FCC (a company studying, must be corrected. specializing in community services, infrastructure construction and energy production) what can living or This collection of different images of Spain that make Spanish corporate brands do to help the Spainworking in up the global reputation of the country is formed as a function of varying dimensions, varying aspects such brand and to be very clear about why the country wants to be known and recognized.a country.’ as economic, political, social or technological. There is a direct relationship between global Dimensions which, in turn, are supported by market share and the number of renowned agents that fill them with content, such as regional brands belonging to each country. Brands and administrations, business schools, the Armed Forces their names directly influence the perception of or large corporations, to name a few. competitiveness in a country (locomotive effect) because large companies that become international The dimensions and images are perfectly drag their suppliers from the country of origin – as interconnected with each other, building the a locomotive drags a carriage. architecture of the Spain brand and resulting in its reputation. In Miguel Otero’s view, the question What is the value of the Spain brand? is not centered so much on which industries Globalization is challenging the commercial and support these dimensions, but which personal emotional reach that brands have. Increasingly, brands (entrepreneurs) and which company brands brands are values, as Steve Jobs, the founder of (innovative) actually do. Apple, stated, and they are also becoming an area of strategic development within organizations. Align meanings, identify origins Another of the elements to bear in mind in this ‘Glocal’, the combination of a global positioning case is the dissociation between the origin of many and a local angle, is a challenge for brands, also for Insights 2
  3. 3. How to rebuild the The 20 most internationally well-known Spanish brands ‘Spain’ brand using Spanish company Zara brands abroad Banco Santander Mango Real Madrid CF Seat Telefónica BBVA FC Barcelona Sol Meliá Iberia Endesa Iberdrola Repsol Freixenet ‘Spain’s Torres reputation Porcelanosa has Roca NH Hotelesdeteriorated Carbonel in recent Borges years 0 % 10 % 20 % 30 % 40 % 50 % 60 % 70 % 80 % 90 % among Source: Renowned Spanish Brands Forum, 2007 citizens of country brands such as Spain, but this task requires roadmap, a specific strategy and a clear leadership, the more the search of new positionings, new territories and compared to a more tactical and artificial vision, indus- the development of intangibles. more focused on opening up markets, selling and generating income in the short term, without trialized Brands are currently a key strategic asset for the thinking about the continuity and sustainability of economies, international competitiveness of companies and the business in the long term. countries such as Spain. but Conclusion: A brand of many brands continues The lack of a strong brand represents a greater To achieve the reconstruction of the ‘Spain’ disadvantage than any technical, commercial, brand abroad, apart from improving the country’s to be administrative or economic barrier would in reputation by changing its internal reality, it is relatively whichever industry, dimension or territory. necessary to align the prestige and renown that international Spanish companies have, as well as good in Spanish companies contribute to strengthen the their professionals of all types, with the prestige and other leadership and innovative image of Spain, to the renown of the country itself, creating synergies and extent that they also lead high profile industries and transferring meanings and values between both. countries.’ territories and key issues in globalization, as is the management of water, energy or infrastructure. But for this to happen, it is also necessary to improve the ‘Spain’ brand. Only then will it be However, because of this, the competitive position possible to recover its own reputation, damaged of the Spain brand is difficult to sustain, as it is based in recent years by the economic crisis, as well as on an exhausted growth model focused on the real improving its ‘harder’ aspects related with quality, estate and domestic consumer industries, unless it innovation and productivity, in which Spain still backs a competitive supply of goods and services on has ground to cover. an international level that incorporates innovation, creativity and knowledge into the management of the brand thereby attaining success on a global scale, activating talent and an entrepreneurial spirit and coordinating initiatives from the public and private sectors in order to achieve excellence. But in order to do all this, brands and companies also need to be proactive when defining a stable Insights 3
  4. 4. ©2012, Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation LeadershipBusiness foundation created by large companies to professionalize the management of intangible assets and contribute to the developmentof strong brands, with good reputation and able to compete in the global market. Its mission is to be the driver which leads and consolidatesthe professional management of reputation as a strategic resource that guides and creates value for companies throughout the world.Legal NoticeThis document is property of the Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership and has as its objective to share businessknowledge about Brand, Reputation, Communication and Public Affairs Management.This document is directed exclusively towards its addressee and contains confidential information, subject to professional secrecy, whosedisclosure, copy or non-authorized use is against the Law. If you receive this document by mistake, let us know immediately and erase itwithout keeping a copy.Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership is the owner of all the intellectual property rights of the images, texts, designsand any other content or elements of this product and has the necessary permission for its use, and therefore, its copy, distribution, publicrelease or transformation is prohibited, without express authorization from the owner.