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Spain looks to branding to overhaul its image

LONDON - Spain is aiming to shake off its image as an out-of-date nation associated with fascism and bullfighting, with an overhaul of the nation's brand identity.

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A number of figures from Spain's leading companies, including Luis Bassat, president of advertising agency Bassat Ogilvy, are set to meet in November to evaluate preliminary findings from research into Spain's brand image.

A set of preliminary conclusions from the research are set to be released to the Spanish public in the new year. In the mean time, it is not clear whether a brand consultancy will be appointed to work on the branding exercise.

The project, known as Marca Espana or Spain Brand, comes as Spain prepares itself to become integrated into the G8 group of nations, following its rapid growth since it formally joined the EU in 1986.

It is being overseen by the Spanish foreign ministry, along with a number of state and private trade organisations.

Spain is traditionally associated with fascism, despite the fact that the fascist dictator Francisco Franco died more than 25 years ago. Historical images of Spain also conjures up bullfights, which most countries believe to be cruel and barbaric.

Spain's efforts to update its image follow a similar effort by South Africa, which under the leadership South Africa's International Marketing Council, has created and promoted the country's image locally and internationally. It appointed local brand valuation consultancy BrandMetrics to evaluate the brand.

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