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Di Maio: “The strength of Italian know how and of the “Made in Italy” brand, as key resources for a new impetus to the Country’s economy” (Il Sole 24 Ore)

Dear Editor,

Innovation and creativity are at the heart of the Foreign Ministry’s work to promote and protect the image of Italy worldwide. Enhancing the value of Italian products is an essential part of this mission, the importance of which is well understood by those who bring our excellence to markets all over the world on a daily basis. We do this through teamwork at national and international level, with the aim of supporting the capital of creativity, originality and innovation on which the success and reputation of our country and our products is based.

Support for creativity, the promotion of Italian products and their relationship with spreading the Italian language are the focus of the “States-General of Italian Language and Creativity in the World” initiative, to be held on 29 November at the Foreign Ministry and which will be attended by the President of the Republic and numerous important players in Italian culture, creativity, innovation and economy.

The initiative was inspired by the awareness that the Italian language – which is currently studied by about two million people around the world – is a formidable ambassador for “Made in Italy” brand products, as well as a fundamental tool for spreading knowledge of our country, its culture, its products and its values abroad.

Four working tables, and open discussions between public and private players, have met in recent weeks to prepare the ground and begin a strategic reflection in the run up to this initiative. The goal will be to indicate concrete lines of action that the Foreign Ministry can take on board and which will be brought together in a vision paper.

The propensity to work together as a team and a system, in the interest of the country, are the hallmark of our commitment to promoting all things Italian in the world and one of the founding characteristics of our method, which is based on a concept of integrated promotion. It is an all-round approach, based on the conviction that, in order to effectively and globally promote Italy, we need to bring together all the aspects that help build up the excellence of Italian products: the economy, culture, science, and technology. This winning strategy will allow us to maximise the impact of our promotional activities, conveying an idea of Italy in which the country’s traditional strengths go hand in hand with innovation, efficiency and dynamism.

We can thus combine the promotion of those sectors in which Italy traditionally stands out – such as culture, food and wine, cinema, design and publishing, to name but a few – with the promotion of hi-tech cutting-edge sectors, such as the aerospace industry, advanced mechanics and the green economy. This effort, if accompanied by so-called vertical integration, will enable the joint promotion of naturally contiguous sectors that are also dependent on each other, as in the case of fashion and textiles, woodworking machinery and design, tourism, automotive and agri-food.

This integrated promotional approach – not accidentally – constitutes the second pillar of the Pact for Export, which I had the honour of spearheading in June 2020, together with many government colleagues and representatives of the business world, and which has since become instrumental in reviving Italian exports in the aftermath of the health emergency. Thanks to an unprecedented creative and economic effort, the Ministry I have the honour to lead has created more than 400 new promotional initiatives, featuring the involvement of over 700 artists, professionals and companies for an investment of over 5 million euros. From the web series Ideas – five portrait-cum-documentaries showcasing the stories, faces and experiences of an innovative, virtuous and polycentric Italy to international audiences – to the videogame for mobile devices called “Italy. The Land of Wonders”, which has already clocked up in excess of 200,000 downloads worldwide. From “Music for Uncertain Times” – a series of music videos with a high communication impact made by the top names in the Italian pop scene – to “We Love Art”, a project created in partnership with Fondazione Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which, combining creativity and enterprise, has involved the creation of works by 8 contemporary artists under the age of 35, presented in a travelling exhibition that is currently touring the world.

The Pact for Export has also been instrumental in launching an extraordinary communication campaign to support the “Made in Italy” brand, created by the Foreign Ministry with Ice-Agenzia and which will kick off very soon. This is the first nation-branding campaign ever created for Italy: a dynamic and innovative digital first built around the values that characterise the essence and know-how of Italy. Creativity, passion, tradition, style, innovation and diversity are the cornerstones of an initiative that aims to showcase, to an international audience, Italy, its talents, skills and extraordinary potential in an original and innovative way, as well as to support the internationalisation of our production system. Twenty-six priority countries will be the first recipients of the campaign, developed mainly through digital channels and involving the construction of a new visual and linguistic identity for the whole of Italy’s promotional activities around the world. Projects such as these and events such as the States-General, combined with the daily work of over 300 organisations around the world – including Embassies, Consulates, Italian Cultural Institutes and Ice Agency Offices – that enable the Foreign Ministry to convey a new vision of Italy abroad.

The theme chosen for this year’s edition of the States-General looks to the future: “The Italian of Tomorrow”, inspired by a well-known article of Umberto Eco. Building on our past, we look to the future to lay the foundations for and disseminate far and wide a new narrative about Italy, as a creative, innovative and open country.

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