SPAIN slipped from 12th to 16th position in the Reputation Institute’s rankings for 2012.
The institute, one of the world’s largest management consultancies which operates in 30 countries, collated votes from other G8 countries for the rankings.
Spain obtained negative marks for investment in Investigation and Development, outside production and ability to attract qualified foreign staff.
Inclusion in the PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain – is “enormously damaging,” said Fernando Prado, the Reputation Institute’s director in Spain.
It should be remembered, he said, that Spain obtained pass marks for culture, its appeal as a tourist destination, its way of life and the warmth and friendliness of the Spanish.
The country’s current economic situation is bad, Prado admitted, but there is also a communication problem.
“We do not know how to sell Spanish brands and assets,” Prado said.
There was “some distortion” of the true situation, agreed Javier Noya, who belongs to Spain’s Real Instituto Elcano, a think-tank with special emphasis on Spain’s international relations.
Spain’s economic situation is irremediably bad but although the country’s image abroad is “correct” there is some exaggeration, Noya said.
“Just as Spain’s virtues were overstated before, now we are attacked and the production model remains the same: construction-based.”
Some attacks on Spain in the foreign media were self-interested, Noya claimed.
Spain could not be compared with Greece because the country is in a far better position, he said, thanks to the government’s overall majority which provides stability and allows it to carry out radical reforms.
“We cannot allow systematic attacks on Spain. But in 30 years we have not developed British or French-style diplomacy,” Noya pointed out.
There was praise for Foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo’s efforts to boost “Brand Spain” from Fernando Prado.
“Active policies are vital if Spanish products and brand names are to be regarded in a positive light,” he said.
“Although we have so many successful businesses, Germany is still seen as leader in the car industry, America in technology and Italy in fashion design,” Prado pointed out.
Levels of trust and renown were directly linked to an economic upturn, he said. “If we improve our Reputation mark, investment and tourism will increase and more countries will buy our products.”