Since 1994 Patricia Martínez has been managing and is the co-founder, together with Arturo Álvarez, of the company that bears the name of the latter designer. A psychologist by training, Patricia has worked in the media, and specialised in marketing. Because of this, since 2008, she has been a firm advocate and champion of social media and new technologies in the company, as an essential tool for connecting with the brand’s target audience and opinion leaders.
- How important is brand image within the company’s overall strategy?
In a globalised, industrialised and high-tech world like the one we live in, and coming from a sector that is fiercely competitive, creating a brand image that is consistent, sound and easily recognisable by the target audience is a difficult but not impossible task. What is important is to work continuously on the brand image because it is a marathon that takes time and determination to build, and to be aware that it is an essential factor of the utmost importance.
- What sets the Arturo Álvarez brand apart from its competitors?
We have two unique selling points, which work as one because they are interdependent and nurture one another: “handmade and emotional”.
- What benefits does a commitment to design and innovation have in the lamp market?
Based in Galicia, we could not be competitive making industrial, mass-produced lamps. We are competitive because we are firmly committed to design and innovation and research our own materials so that we can produce a limited-edition product of the highest quality. Arturo Álvarez, one of the founders of the brand and the main designer, has just patented a material known as ‘simetech’ after two years of research. This material has unique properties for use in lighting and will undoubtedly help enhance recognition of the brand.
- Arturo Álvarez is becoming increasingly committed to internationalisation. How would you describe your International presence? Do you have your own stores or do you sell your products at multi-brand shops?
Internationalisation is proving crucial for the brand and for its development over time; we now export 80% of our products. We have developed a presence in European markets through a network of representatives; in other countries we work with distributors. Right now, we are betting heavily on the U.S. market, where we have just opened our own commercial office. Our clients are multi-brand points of sale specialising in design, furniture and lighting and our second channel is sales for commercial works.
- Do you think e-commerce is important for Arturo Álvarez’s international growth?
E-commerce is rising sharply and consolidating itself as an alternative to traditional retail channels. It is a type of business that is continuously evolving, progressing and changing and it is a channel that we cannot afford to overlook.
- What promotional strategy are you pursuing in international markets, and who is the brand targeted at?
The brand is targeted at an audience with a high socio-economic and cultural level, with a taste for art and design; who like to travel, want to have a home with personality and enjoy maximum comfort in concert with aesthetic and functional values. Our lamps have a strong hedonistic component.
Our promotional strategy is a combination of traditional media, such as advertisements in magazines and attendance at trade shows, and a strong presence in online media and social networks. Our company is a pioneer in the industry and social networks; we had our own blog and Twitter and Facebook accounts as early as 2008.
- What are the challenges facing the company over the next five years?
Environmental concerns have prompted us to undertake research into energy-saving lights, and energy efficiency is important to us. The second challenge is to strengthen our position in the U.S. market and to continue to “spoil” our traditional markets.