José Luis Bonet

President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, and Freixenet

“Brands are essential because the world has become globalized and overcommunicated. Brands that do not have an identity do not exist”

Is it about famous brands or the brand of Spain?

In my view it is brands that are fundamental, because the Spanish brand is made up of all kinds of different brands: commercial, institutional—even personal brands. In this sense, the grounds that make up the brand of Spain are the range of brands in different spheres. Specifically, in the sphere of companies, brands are essential because the world has become globalized and over-communicated. Brands that do not have an identity do not exist.

Do we sell ourselves well, at home and abroad?

We don’t sell ourselves that well, by no means as well as we should given our country’s situation. In this sense, the competitiveness of our products is not matched by sufficient commercial capital to ensure that their internationalization develops as it should. We have to work hard in this respect. And this should be a matter not just for companies but society as a whole.

How can this be achieved?

The crisis has shown this country’s SMEs that they must internationalize. They’ve got the determination. The problem is that they don’t know how to do it. Economic policy is particularly important in this respect. In my opinion, this is the fundamental objective of economic policy in the years to come. It is also the aim of all the institutions lined up to support this adaptation to a globalized world, as in the case of the Chamber of Commerce. This work goes hand-in-hand with other institutions and the relevant government authorities: since we have to move more quickly due to our initial delays, we have to do it together or not at all.

We have to increase the size of Spain’s enterprises. How can this be done?

Internationalization is one way of doing it. Freixenet would not be the lead brand in its segment worldwide if it had not embarked on an internationalization process. You have to go for it. At this moment in time, Spanish exports and presence are concentrated above all in Europe and, to a certain extent, Ibero-America. It is true that these are two entirely privileged contexts for Spain, thanks to its position. But that doesn’t mean that Spain should neglect its options in other countries.

Have we overcome the crisis?

We’re on the way. The recovery is happening. It’s being strengthened by the so-called tailwind—that is, decreases in the price of oil and in the value of the euro, which has fallen to a much more appropriate rate against the dollar compared to the rates we saw during the crisis. Meanwhile, Draghi’s plan and Juncker’s plan are helping the recovery happen more quickly than forecast.

And what are the three or four essential goals of this country?

First, political and social stability. Second, businesspeople must be aware of their role and duty. Third, society must recognize this role and duty of businesspeople as fundamental to their wellbeing. The fourth objective must be unity. We must move together in order to move faster and further.