Branding Spain Project: presentato un rapporto dei nostri colleghi spagnoli di Dircom sull'immagine
Organizzato dalla Ferpi spagnola, per la prima volta nella storia organizzazioni governative e non governative si uniscono per lavorare sull'immagine della Spagna: i primi risultati sono quelli di un report e la costituzione prossima di un comitato e un osservatorio permanente per l'immagine dello stato.
Ecco il comunicato stampa che presenta i risultati del rapporto e, a seguire, le discussion tables dell'analisi.
Spain's image does scant justice to the country's political, economic, social and cultural development
Spain's overseas image should be seen as a matter of State
The report recommends setting up a Branding Spain Committee and a permanent observatory
The Spanish language and Spanish culture should be regarded as one of the country's foremost assets
Madrid, 12 December 2003. For the first time in this country government and non-government organisations have joined forces to come up with a new image for Spain, one aimed at facilitating not only trade but an international awareness of the country's political, social and cultural progress. This is a medium- to long-term project dubbed Branding Spain' requiring a sound analysis and a clear and forthright commitment. It was presented today by the Secretary of State for Trade and Tourism and Chairman of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), Francisco Utrera; the Director of the Elcano Royal Institute, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa; the Deputy Chairman of the Brands of Spain Forum, Antonio Abril; and the Chairman of the Association of Communication Managers, Antonio López.
The report Branding Spain Project, commissioned as a starting-point for the project, contains the conclusions reached at various discussion tables of sociologists, historians, business leaders, politicians, public relations experts and Spanish and foreign journalists. It contains recommendations on how to promote Spain's image abroad, how to coordinate government and non-government efforts aimed at doing just that, how to convince companies and institutions what it means to have the right image and, in general, how to market, how to sell' (in the right sense of the word) what Spain is today. The main aim is to discover why Spain's image abroad bears so little relationship to the country itself and to work together to put that right. As the report notes, Spain's international image pays scant justice to the progress this country has achieved. Indeed, more often than not it gives the wrong message altogether. The project is a joint initiative of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), the Elcano Royal Institute, the Brands of Spain Forum and Dircom (the Spanish Association of Communication Managers). It also enjoys the support of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The gap between what Spain is and what it is perceived to be is a responsibility shared by the State, the government, Spanish business and Spaniards at large. Changing this should be regarded as a matter of State, over and above domestic party-political squabbles. It is an issue which affects all Spaniards, as much in their pockets as in their hearts. For this reason it is essential that closing that gap should be undertaken on a non-political basis, to ensure that Spaniards at all levels, from senior ministers to the man in the street, can contribute.
Report conclusionsOne of the conclusions of the report is that international awareness of Spanish trademarks is only half the battle. Another is that creating an image that fails to match the country itself is simply a waste of time. The situation calls for intelligent coherent messages that can be employed across all markets. This requires active participation at institutional level. There are plenty of Spanish companies operating abroad, but their progress is hampered by the absence of a unified composite country' brand.
To put matters right demands a coordinated strategy to put across an image of Spain that corresponds to what this country is today. That image should be faithful, and should try to blend tradition and innovation.
RecommendationsThe first move is to create, under the aegis of the appropriate government department, an institution to coordinate the project in the short, medium and long term. In the meantime, a Branding Spain Committee, comprising independent open-minded volunteers, should be formed. At this stage it matters little which of the existing institutional promoters assumes administrative responsibility for the committee.
Aside from the four institutions promoting the project, the committee should contain representatives of those public and private bodies most closely involved in projecting Spain's image abroad: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turespaña, the Cervantes Institute, the Carolina Foundation, the various government agencies for international exhibitions (SEEI), cultural events abroad (SEACE) and cultural commemorations (SECC), the state radio and television broadcasting company RNE-TVE, but also non-governmental organisations such as, the employers' federation CEOE, the chambers of commerce or the Society of Spanish Authors (SGAE). The Elcano Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies could assume administrative responsibilities for the committee.
The Branding Spain Committee would also lay down strategic communication guidelines in the form of practical advice for use by both private companies and government institutions.
Another essential step is to set up, under the aegis of the committee, a permanent observatory of Spain's image abroad, to conduct research and issue reports. The observatory would also produce from time to time a profile of perceptions of Spain both abroad and, at a later stage, in Spain itself.
It is also suggested as an immediate measure that Spain's diplomatic service put its shoulder to the wheel, too. A first step in this direction would be to run training courses for diplomats on matters of strategic image building and the role to be played in this by the diplomatic corps. Diplomats should be made much more aware that they are today of the mileage to be obtained from the anniversaries of great public events in Spain, such as the recent 25th anniversary of the referendum approving the Spanish Constitution. Such events should be accompanied by a broad-based diplomatic campaign centring on those countries, such as the US, regarded as vital to Spain's interests.
Another measure which should be implemented immediately is a public relations programme to finance trips to Spain by foreign leaders of opinion; a concerted campaign to obtain greater presence of Spaniards in international organisations; to garner support for Spain's efforts to join the G-9; and to give precedence in obtaining visas for those business or public-opinion leaders in countries regarded as strategic for Branding Spain.
The report also stresses the need to generate greater awareness of the value of Spanish culture and the Spanish language, two major assets currently undervalued. There is a real need to coordinate the promotion of cultural activities abroad, particularly among Spanish government bodies, and to provide support for private-sector education in Spanish and Spanish culture.
As a last recommendation, the report suggests instituting what it has dubbed Branding Spain Ambassadors', by means of competitions or other incentives for good practice in promoting the image of Spain abroad, as well as to keep as trademark "Branding Spain", which has presided over the efforts undertaken to date and which could well serve as a rallying point for private-sector resources in the future.
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