The value of the “Felipe VI brand”

Published on 04/06/2014

The Prince of Asturias, who will be crowned King of Spain on June 18th, will devote all his strength to the “fascinating task of continuing to serve the Spaniards” and “the beloved Spain.” This was the first communication message in his first public speech after the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I, on the 2nd of June.

As part of the Prince of Viana award ceremony, which went to the historian Tarcisio de Azcona, Prince Felipe expressed his “commitment and conviction” with Spain, “a Nation, a united and diverse, social and political community, rooted in ancient history”.

In recent years, Spain has suffered a loss of reputation and positioning as country brand in the world. This is mainly the result of the economic crisis that has hit the country, choking companies in the domestic market. It is also due to the high unemployment rate, the impoverishment of the Spaniards, the loss of political credibility and even to nationalism, which have all undermined the image of social and economic progress that the country had achieved in early 2000.

Within this environment, the monarchy has not been immune to decay. Although King Juan Carlos had repeated “Kings die, not abdicate” his entire life, the Spanish Crown had to overcome the consequences of the Nóos case and the sentimental adventures of King Juan Carlos. Other negative issues were his health problems and the criticism towards Letizia, who has also been the subject of innumerable social news due to her absences and her lack of empathy within the royal family. In the end, King Juan Carlos has not abdicated just to revitalize the monarchy. “The King abdicates to boost the reforms that the country is asking for” was newspaper El País‘ startling headline and powerful communication message in favour of a transforming Spain.

When understanding the role of the Crown as a family business, communication, image and reputation are significant factors for its positioning. The progression of a family business, with the transmission of its values, milestones and future challenges. Even its geographic projection.

One of the most important challenges that family businesses face are generational changes and, according to the heartfelt words of King Juan Carlos, he abdicated foremost to make way for the new generation and also to refresh the Spain brand.

Felipe VI embodies commitment, experience and an excellent relational and communication capacity to demonstrate desire to work for the positioning of the country brand. He will have to be head of state, which is what his training has been aimed at. He will also need enough humility to surpass the example of his father, who, in an unprecedented gesture of communication, knew how to ask for public forgiveness after his controversial trip to Botswana “I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again.

The new king must ensure the principle “justice is equal for all” set by his father and face his global leading role with tenacity as King Juan Carlos did when he told Hugo Chávez to shut up. He will have to follow the conciliatory footprint of his predecessor, always concerned – for example – about uniting the bonds of Latin American countries. Prince Felipe, who already stamps his personal brand, is a connoisseur of the progresses and challenges of the region, participating actively in the democratic life of its countries.

In his first performance after the abdication of the King, Prince Felipe said, “In times of difficulty like these, past experiences teach us that only by joining our efforts, giving preference to the common good and not to individual interests and encouraging every person’s initiative, research and creativity will we achieve progress toward better scenarios.” Spain is not in the mood to party yet, we are already in a recovery scenario and we need it to be better, simple and optimistic.

The reign of Felipe VI will begin with political support in Parliament and a vote with similar figures to those obtained in the Constitution of 1978. Let us hope that translates into popular support and the strengthening of the Spain Brand. Unlike in the past, the next king has the power of information technology, which will also bring him closer to his people.

A recent analysis of the Expansión newspaper remembered Balmer, Greyser and Urde, renowned monarchy scholars. They concluded that in today’s society, “the value of a Crown is as useful as its people consider it. Hence, in their daily work, Crowns have to conduct a public-relation function and Kings must interact and establish long-term relationships with their audiences, so that they consider them necessary in their lives.” The power that Prince Felipe has acquired in the past few years has placed him – with the Queen – as a highly admired profile, even more than the King himself.

Cristina Murgas, Accounts Manager. Corporate & PPAA Communication Division