Though it might sound rhetorical, and many people could legitimately interpret it as such, I really don’t think so.
In these times of economic downturn, the industrial sectors that have traditionally sustained the economy in Valencia are particularly vulnerable, given their corporate, financial and social structure. And this is true because, despite their well-proven solvency in the past, they complacently settled for an outdated market profile. Up until now, enterprises from Valencia designed their strategies based on an enviable relationship with the market that no longer exists: all they had to do was wait for buyers to come to them to discover, appreciate and acquire a product suitably tailored to their needs and their niche, and then wait for the profits to start rolling in. On the other hand, the structure of the labour market in the region, the wages policy and an excellent relationship with suppliers, reinforced over years of excellent service, based on a strict compliance with buying and selling conditions of raw materials, machinery, technology, etc., gave the system a critical mass of wealth that enabled a highly satisfactory situation for all parties involved. This remained the case in the years of economic boom until the first big financial crisis in post-Franco Spain during the early 1990s.
Nowadays, things have changed beyond recognition and the current global situation has hit the traditional sectors of the Valencian economy particularly hard. And the fact that the world economy in our information and communication society is so tightly networked means that the so-called ‘butterfly effect’ has an exponentially accelerated effect.
In these circumstances, executive officers at public bodies have an evident responsibility to sustain, support and promote the productive activity of these cornerstone industrial sectors. Any economic strategy or plan that does not bear this in mind is bound to fail, especially because of the high political cost that reneging on this responsibility would have on an extremely large portion of the local population which depends on these sectors either directly or indirectly.
While far from new, the political design for an official structure backing the financial, industrial and corporate development of the Valencian Community, has incorporated the necessary tools needed to implement this support.
Of course, a selective approach focused on reinforcing sectors with the greatest market potential should be applied. This would clear a path towards the future but should also limit negative side-effects as much as possible, especially in the social realm, given the complex short to mid term situation.
In these circumstances, the support lent by institutions and organisations like IVEX, IMPIVA and the various chambers of commerce, is absolutely crucial in maintaining industrial activity in our region.
Unfortunately, with the passing of time resources are harder to come by and the downturn has an increasingly tighter grip on us. That said, the political impetus, based on a conviction in the benefits of the promotional programmes devised and implemented by those bodies, continues in place, at least for the moment.
On the other hand, the corporate fabric in Valencia, across the various productive sectors, has been gradually putting in place a pretty solid and dynamic relational and associational structure that enables it to function as a lobby group, defending the interests of its associated enterprises and effectively administering the admittedly scant funding it manages to get from public sources.
CONTEXTO has well-proven experience in communication for institutional activities. Our close bonds with the long-standing industrial sectors in Valencia, based on a reciprocal emotional engagement, has been put to work in areas including textiles, wood and furniture, fashion and toys among others.
Thanks to the confidence placed in us by loyal repeat clients from those sectors, CONTEXTO has been part of the evolution of institutional policies to support the real economy in the Valencian Community.
Working hand-in-hand, and with a philosophy based more on partnership than on a purely contractual service relationship, CONTEXTO has created and developed campaigns for the promotion and communication of those policies, aiming particularly at international projection and at positioning those sectors within global markets, in most cases with excellent results and recognised success.
In these campaigns, the emotional component is critical – and this is particularly true in these difficult times – because it stimulates a feeling of pride in belonging, because it provides a sense of cohesion, because it emits positive and hopeful signals. And very especially, because it transmits to the market the message that, no matter the circumstances, the sector has still things to say and things to offer: design, quality, productivity, service… and that we have a key role to play.
The international projection of our long-established productive sectors is based above all on the existence of large nodes or hubs distributing information and knowledge (and, naturally, business) as well as on commercial fairs worldwide, from Japan to the Americas, with a special focus on the key events for each particular sector. In these cases, the joint visibility of companies exhibiting at trade fair events, obviously endorsed by the quality of the products the companies already commercialise in those markets, provides an added bonus to the brand that makes it easier to identify and strategically locate our businesses within these markets. We also lend special attention to the emerging BRIC countries in order to consolidate a foothold we all hope will reap fruitful results in the near future.
Therein the paramount importance of effectively communicating a political action supporting these productive sectors from Valencia. Furthermore, CONTEXTO designs and prepares initiatives to update communication channels, tools and philosophies, adding modernity, research, development and innovation to the communication mix in order to convey a dynamic, technological image. In the current situation these aspects are, more than important, absolutely key to improving the competitiveness of our corporate sector in a global market that is increasingly more demanding and sophisticated by the day.
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