Brands and Country Image

Generating a country image

  • 1
  • Leading Brands
    Brands with prestige and international recognition, which are efficient, competitive and innovative, that act as driving forces in their sector or category.

  • 2
  • Sector / Category
    Leading brands create stronger and more competitive sectors that encourage expansion and the creation of new companies.

  • 3
  • Brands from other sectors
    A chain effect of success is created that positions all Spanish brands synonymous with quality and prestige.

  • 4
  • Institutional Force
    Positive perception abroad improves the positioning of the Spain brand and the emergence of new brands on the international market.

  • 5
  • Country image
    Using brand image to build a country image is a guarantee of economic sustainability of great value.

Thinking about a country produces a series of images, ideas, people, objects and experiences that, consciously or unconsciously, are associated with that country.

These ideas or emotions that are stirred by a country may be based on personal experience or real information; they may be the fruit of stereotypes and prejudices or the products of popular belief. When it comes to evaluating a specific product or service, a direct consequence of this perception is the tendency to attribute certain qualities to it that are associated to its country of origin, with the result being that the evaluation of that product of service tends not to be completely objective. The national image effect could therefore be defined as any influence, prejudice, bias or predilection held by industrial or individual buyers that is produced by the image of the country of origin associated with the particular company, product or brand. Therefore, the perception that society as a whole has of a country is what we know as nation branding. It affects very different fields, ranging from political, social and cultural areas to economics and trade.

It is in this economic and trade-related area that the Leading Brands of Spain Forum focuses its efforts; in other words, the sector that influences the sale of products and services, the attraction of talent, and investment, and the promotion of tourism. The image of a country is an element that should facilitate the competitiveness of companies as they embark on a process of international expansion. Countries that have succeeded in creating positive perceptions have competitive advantages that add value to their products or services. On the contrary, when there is no perception or when these are negative, the penetration and permanence of their offers and services need to overcome an obstacle that can be greater than any technical barrier. Where Spain is concerned, it has no national image in certain geographically or culturally removed markets, while the country’s image that predominates in other markets is stereotyped and does not correspond to its present-day reality as a modern and developed country. In fact, the image of Spain’s products and services does not always correspond to the business reality of the country. Leading brands generate positive effects on the image of a country, by linking this image to the reliability, efficiency and innovation of its brands. As benchmarks of international success, brands can act as ambassadors of Spain’s commercial image. Indeed, Spanish brands are increasingly reaching positions of world leadership in their respective sectors, making them an asset of enormous value for the Spanish economy.

fmre-esfuerzo-conjunto

Joint effort
of several agents

  1. Companies and Leading Brands
  2. State institutions
  3. Key players in civil society

Competitiveness and country image

Brands, on the whole, are also a factor of extraordinary importance in measuring the health and competitiveness of an economy. Having a significant number of leading brands in different sectors is a guarantee of economic sustainability, of quality job creation and the generation of wealth. It is necessary to create closer ties between the country’s image and its brands, with the capacity of producing an image of quality and prestige and of acting as driving forces for the productive fabric as a whole. Spanish celebrities and figures with international prestige can also contribute to a better perception of the country’s image. This major part played by the private sector and civil society is coordinated and supported by the important work carried out by public institutions and government administrations, which, through their actions of public diplomacy, promotion of international trade, humanitarian, aid presence in the main international bodies, participation in peace missions and the organisation of International Exhibitions, among others, enable a solid, consistent and positive Spain Brand to grow into a benchmark of quality for the world. In order to strengthen and promote a positive image of Spain that is more in line with its reality, it is essential to unify the efforts of those agents who help create the country’s image: competent public institutions and authorities, companies and brands, and key players from civil society (Spain Brand Honorary Ambassadors). The joint and coordinated efforts of these three agents will ensure that the Spain Brand is synonymous with quality and prestige, and contribute positively to the growth of Spain and its economy.

The Forum works to promote the image of Spain out of its conviction that the Spain Brand will become a key competitive tool for the economy and for Spanish companies. In 2008, the Forum approved the Ambassador and Spain Image Brand Plan, which seeks to reposition the image of Spain through the collaboration of these three agents. This Plan proposes to establish a strategy of co-branding between the image of the country and that of its leading brands, and for the introduction of tax incentives that will encourage these companies to become involved in the promotion of Spain’s image. Joint actions have already been carried out in the US, China and Russia within the framework of this plan, with the support of Spain Brand Honorary Ambassadors, as well as recognition from the Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish Brands. The improvement of the national image will undoubtedly provide a stimulus for the internationalisation of the Spanish business fabric, as it improves the perception of its goods and services. This will contribute to reduce the endemic problem of Spain’s trade deficit, allowing one of the greatest impediments to our economy to be overcome. It is a slow process, but the international perception of Spain will only improve when it is tied to the reality of its most prestigious companies, the quality of its tourism and cultural offerings and to the positive image of its most highly recognised figures. “Together we can go faster and further.”