Italy must expand national image

Italian industry should cash in on its positive image of design, emotion and style and extend it to include its little-known technology and manufacturing base, a report out this week claims.

Only by broadening its image will Italy be better able to compete on the world market, says Wolff Olins’ report Made In Italy.

The design group’s latest country survey, following last year’s Made In Germany and Made in UK, questioned around 100 leading companies from the 1995 Fortune 500 on their perception of Italian goods and services.

Unsurprisingly, 93 per cent of respondents identified Italian products as having excellent design and style as well as being emotional and progressive. And 62 per cent viewed products as being of high quality.

However, there is scope for some important rebranding of this narrow and outdated image. The report concludes: “Italy needs to communicate innovation and technology without losing its uniqueness, by giving Made In Italy a new image and positioning which highlights all the values of Italian industry and reflects the true identity of Italy today.”

Marcello Minale, Italian-born chairman of Minale Tattersfield, agrees that Italy is perceived as a country having design and artistic qualities. “But if you scratch the surface you find Italians are fantastically good at engineering and mechanics… it’s in the blood of the nation,” he says.

While the general image of Italy is positive, Minale says it needs to promote its success in neglected areas such as telecommunications.

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