The Leading Brands of Spain Forum was founded in 1999 with only 17 companies, but today it has more than 100 members. What can you tell us about the forum's evolution and achievements over the years?
The private association's fundamental objective is to improve the competitiveness of Spanish companies by strengthening their brand image, which constitutes a fundamental added value. Our main goal is to develop strong and competitive brands, not only in Spain, but around the world. Then, there is the public-private board, which we have established with the current administration, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including entities attached to those ministries such as ICEX, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, and Turespaña. If Spain's reputation is based on the reputation of its largest brands, then smaller Spanish brands can also benefit from it. This has been the core of our mission for over 20 years.
How did the idea for the “Spain for Sure" campaign come about, and what are its main objectives?
The idea came from the Secretary of State of Global Spain, specifically from Manuel Muñiz, on the occasion of the eighth promotion of Honorary Ambassadors of Spain Brand. To further promote this initiative, a virtual meeting was organized with some of our Spain Brand ambassador from different fields such as sports (Pau Gasol, Rafael Nadal, and Fernando Alonso), science (Valentín Fuster, María Blasco, and Pedro L. Alonso), culture (Antonio Banderas, Edurne Pasabán, and Isabel Coixet), and the King and the Queen of Spain. This meeting was organized during the hardest times of the lockdown to analyze the effect of the crisis in the international reputation of Spain. “Spain for Sure" has two meanings. On the one hand, you have the term “sure," which is related to the concept of safety. On the other hand, there is the phrase “for sure," which reinforces the message that Spain is a safe country and open for tourism. We must send a message that we will do everything in our power to guarantee safety and ensure that tourists have a good time in Spain.
What is the strategy of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum in terms of strengthening public-private collaboration?
It is easy for us because we have been doing it for 20 years. Our board of trustees constitutes an example of public-private collaboration and a wonderful relationship with all ministries. As the government representatives in the board used to say, “It is nice to come to a place where the private sector gives more than it asks for." This is one of the principles of the forum. Criticizing politicians for no reason is Spain's national sport, and we are brilliant at it. But you have to do a professional job backed with data from all sectors, regions, customers, and markets. Backed by data, you must explain to the government the best environment for companies to increase their competitiveness and gain international market share, which in turn will benefit Spain.
What are the main priorities of the Forum for the rest of the year?
The priority of the forum is to strengthen the functions it has always had. We have many important companies in the forum, and SMES can lean on them to export their products and on the forum to establish relations with other companies. Such collaborations will enable us to enhance the competitiveness of Spanish companies in the coming years and improve the image of Spain abroad. The economic conditions in the next few years will not be optimal because it will take some time for purchasing power and consumption to recover. Furthermore, the tourism sector, which is an important source of income for Spain, will not recover quickly either. Due to these reasons, the internationalization of Spanish companies is essential for the country, and in order to achieve this, we must continue to support each other.