Why invest in Italy? The value of human capital and the great ability to reinterpret tradition with a view to innovation make Italy an international excellence. BBRAND, a marketing and communications agency, has chosen to take up the challenge of enhancing the value of Italy’s tangible and intangible resources in order to support its strategic international positioning in a more systematic manner.
BBRAND has reached this conclusion thanks to an accurate study and rigorous analysis of the Global Attractiveness Index (GAI), the initiative launched in 2016 by The European House – Ambrosetti and aimed at making an innovative country index available to international decision makers. It is, to all intents and purposes, a sort of “thermometer” of a country’s attractiveness, able to offer a representative snapshot of the attractiveness and sustainability of countries. Objective: to provide reliable indications to support system choices for growth and optimisation of the pro-business environment.
In 2017, which is now drawing to a close, the project has continued with the ambition of embarking on a path whose ultimate goal is not the “demolition” of country rankings for their own sake, but rather the construction and transfer, in the assessment of the attractiveness of country-systems, of a more objective and reliable approach and methodologies. In this regard, The European House-Ambrosetti has activated a collaboration with the Joint Research Centre (JRC), with the aim of obtaining statistical validation and rigorous scientific control.
Measuring country attractiveness
In today’s world, the quality of a territory, understood as the efficiency and effectiveness of its organisation and operation, is a fundamental element in determining the location choices of companies and people and, consequently, the overall level of talent, capital and productive assets available.
For this reason, the capacity for strategic management of the pro-business country-image and its positioning in international competitiveness rankings have a significant weight in directing strategic decisions. It is no coincidence that in the headquarters of multinationals, country rankings are used as an information tool to guide investment choices. In addition, international rankings are considered increasingly important in providing areas for action and positioning a country in the eyes of the business community and international public opinion. Today, there is a proliferation of rankings, whose methodological characteristics, however, lead to significant distortions with respect to the actual reality. Just as statistics – and even more so opinion polls – are only reliable photographs, but never perfect and constantly changing.
But how is a country’s positioning index created? It is made possible through surveys on the dynamism (openness, innovation, efficiency, endowments) and sustainability of the system (resilience, vulnerability). This is not all. One of the merits of GAI is the in-depth analysis of the elements of competitiveness of the various sectors, obtained thanks to the examination of multiple KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), i.e. sub-indices that cover all the factors – economic, environmental, cultural, legal – relevant to the activity of a company and the planning of an investment.
WHAT ABOUT ITALY?
At this point, a question arises spontaneously: what is the positioning of our country? Compared to the first edition of the Global Attractiveness Index, Italy has taken two steps backwards, but only apparently. It is in 16th place. In reality, it gains one because the update of the previous year’s ranking sees it at number 17. However, the JHA is trying to free the country from the implicit cost of the prejudices it suffers.
For this reason, we at BBRAND believe that, in order to enhance Italy’s potential, it is essential to start with awareness, which can only come from an inclusive analysis of all the different forms of value we have: economic and natural, human and social. Without starting from here, it is unlikely that the country’s attractiveness in the eyes of foreign investors will be unlocked and that a virtuous circle will be set in motion that can contribute to the growth of our system.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that Italy is characterised by a strong natural entrepreneurship and an unparalleled wealth and territorial diversity. Perhaps it would be enough to consider these factors as real capital to convince us that it is not necessary to go abroad to invest. However, there is still a problem, certainly due to various factors, related to the trust and reputation of the country itself. For example, a fruitful collaboration between private companies and public entities, institutional bodies and associations, academia and civil society, could help redeem Italy’s image in the world.