Comparto el artículo de Tobias Buck para el Financial Times, publicado el jueves 11 de abril de 2013. El artículo, además de describir la evidente perdida de prestigio de la Marca España, reflejada en los distintos rankings, da a entender que la iniciativa del gobierno en este punto no termina de arrancar, a pesar de las buenas intenciones. Ya hace un tiempo alertamos del peligro que la Marca España se convirtiera en la “Alianza de civilizaciones” de la política exterior de Rajoy, y artículos como este parecen incidir en este riesgo:
Spain’s economic crisis has destroyed millions of jobs, ravaged the public finances and forced thousands of companies out of business. But government officials warn that the crisis has also caused lasting damage to that most intangible of economic assets: Spain’s national brand.
For the government of Mariano Rajoy, restoring the ‘Marca España’ to its former glory has become an important policy goal and constant pre-occupation. The term is mentioned frequently in official speeches and statements – most recently last week, when a judge decided to formally declare the King of Spain’s youngest daughter a suspect in an embezzlement case, José Manuel García-Margallo, the foreign minister, was quick to highlight that the news was “bad for the Marca España”.
Annual rankings of national brands confirm that the outside world sees Spain in a less favourable light than it used to. The country ranked only 19th in a list of the most admired national brands published by Future Brands, a consultancy, last year. In 2009, at the start of the economic crisis, Spain occupied 10th place. Another country brand study by GfK-Anholt noted that Spain, along with Japan, suffered the sharpest drop of all countries surveyed last year.
In a bid to reverse the slide, the Spanish government has created a special office to promote the national brand, and a new High Representative for the Marca España to oversee the campaign. Appointed at the height of the crisis in July last year, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros says he is convinced that the recent damage to Spain’s reputation is having an effect on business.
“Most Spanish executives who work for multinationals or banks have noticed that they now they are a bit under suspicion,” he says. “They find that lenders don’t have the same degree of confidence that they used to have. And if they want to expand their activities in Spain, they find opposition.”
Mr Espinosa de los Monteros admits that Spain has real economic problems, but argues that the foreign media and some analysts have “over-dramatised” the situation.
“People think this country is in flames . . . How many times have we had to read that Spain is going to collapse? We committed mistakes, we over-invested, and we over-built. But this is not a country that is going to become the poor brother of Europe.”
A former businessman who held senior posts at Daimler-Benz, Iberia and Inditex, the Spanish fashion retailer, Mr Espinosa de los Monteros says he is worried that some of the old clichés about his country are starting to return: “People here work a lot of hours but the cliché is that here everything is done tomorrow and that people sleep siestas.”
The government’s new focus on branding has attracted criticism – and a fair amount of ridicule. The main charge levelled against the campaign is that it fails to recognise the principal reasons for the slide in Spain’s international standing – the deepening economic crisis, the series of political affairs and corruption scandals, and the poor performance of Spain’s institutions in recent years.
“The Marca España, that thing that was created in a night of passion between a political adviser and a marketing consultant, has been tainted for a long time,” wrote Elvira Lindo in the El País daily on Sunday. “As they say in marketing: one cannot sell what one does not believe in.”
To Mr Espinosa de los Monteros, such criticism misses the point. “Of course the more we change our reality the easier it is to change perceptions. [But] today, we see that there is a reality that is not being perceived.”
For all the importance that Madrid attaches to the brand campaign, the office of Mr Espinosa de los Monteros suffers from a quintessential Spanish problem: lack of funding.
“[The office] was born in July last year in the deepest moment of crisis and when the scissors were cutting everything,” he says. For this year, the Marca España has no budget, forcing Mr Espinosa de los Monteros to rely on support from industry and the work of other branches of government.
Still, he says he hopes to have enough funding in place to start an international branding campaign at the end of this year. The message, he believes, will be a simple one: “Spain is back.”
El diagnóstico es claro, la solución pasa por entender que el problema no es ni de los medios de comunicación internacionales, ni de la falta de una campaña publicitaria. El problema es de estrategia y comunicación y eso sólo puede afrontarse con profesionalidad y constancia