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On the threshold, with a compass

Interbrand’s Best Spanish Brands 2017 is the only report of its kind in Europe this year. This is not because Spain is not represented among the Best Global Brands (which it is), nor because it is a peripheral European market that needs its own unique treatment. Nor is it my personal pride as a Spaniard.

It is because many of these brands are the global vanguard and on the verge of new important developments, and recognition and attention should be paid, both domestically and abroad. It is important to stop and take the time to examine how these brands listen to and define what is relevant, discovering and adapting in new dimensions and deepening relationships with their customers and larger communities. These 30 Best Spanish Brands, together with the Brands to Watch, reveal the rich diversity of Spain. They originate from all over the country and represent a full portfolio of sectors: financial services, telecommunications, fashion and retail, energy, sports, beverages, and health. These brands, in several cases, have created these industries, continue to redefine the majority, and are a reference for global best practice.

When we began this study in 2005, our conviction was that strong Spanish brands could uniquely strengthen Brand Spain (Marca España), and both propel and stabilize the growth engine of the Spanish economy. More than a decade has passed and just as Spanish brands have grown, so has our economy—substantially. Spain is one of the most important economies in the European Union, as well as globally. In 2017, tourism surged 8.9% to a record-breaking 82 million visitors, making Spain the world’s second most visited country.

This seventh edition of Best Spanish Brands marks 12 years of closely examining and learning from the brands that dynamize the Spanish economy and are part of the DNA of our society. While these brands were born and are carefully managed from global headquarters in Spain, their actions and aspirations do not know borders. Just like the Best Global Brands, their provenance is not what defines and limits them, but rather, it’s about what they offer the world. Those that are truly leading the way cross national, cultural, and sectorial borders. They understand that their brands, which are the conduit between people and technology, transcend any one product—they are facilitators of solutions, the means to lead and inspire communities, and the way to creatively answer tomorrow’s demands and enable us to thrive in the future.

To those Best Spanish Brands that have firmly remained in the top 30 and increased their value over these 12 years, we offer congratulations. It is both fascinating and fulfilling to study how you build on your promise and deliver to your customers, employees, and larger communities, thereby enabling meaningful and sustainable business growth. To the New Entrants, welcome and congratulations on what is no small feat. To the Brands to Watch, we are thrilled to see how you are exploring new dimensions yet to be fully known. May we all learn from one another.

Looking ahead to the next 12 years, there is still much work to be done. There are three deciding, driving factors for continued growth:

  1. More brands with an international mindset and put to the global test.
  2. More brands that resonate with their consumers and employees by listening to and anticipating their needs and desires. Now more than ever, this also means brands that are unafraid of dialogue, collaboration, and ‘coop-etition.’ To continue to compete internationally, the market must recognize that it is more than the sum of its individual brands, but that the critical opportunity lies in growing together.
  3. Vanguardismo español applied to all categories and challenges to see beyond them for the greater opportunities. Digital disruption is an invitation to apply passion and creativity, but also determination and flexibility; to look for new ways to engage, solve problems creatively and efficiently, and explore new frontiers.

With all this in mind, Spanish brands must also remember that together they are stronger and more competitive. A solid country brand is just as important as the great brands based within it. It signifies more trust from citizens, international organizations and governments, investors, and visitors.

Reflecting back on these last twelve years studying, and in many cases partnering with the Best Spanish Brands as they grow their businesses, it is clear that we need to continue trailblazing the path. This will enable not just our economy to thrive, but international communities as well. Our ability to overcome challenges and inspire new possibilities is not only impressive, it’s who we are.

Our compass is true.

This article appears in its original Spanish on the Best Spanish Brands website. Read here

Contributors

Global Chief Growth Officer