My mother, who is 86, slammed the phone down yesterday on her well known UK bank after being transferred to some foreign call centre. Was it because my Mother doesn’t like foreigners? Well actually no not at all. She objected to her bank, which positions itself as English, not living up to what it promises. Being English. Doubtless the bank in question would say it has to do with lower costs, improved service blah blah blah. Rubbish. It’s just penny pinching and losing sight of what their brand is all about. Over the years I remember sitting in a few meetings, with heads of marketing, communication and even senior managers, where they proclaim – almost proudly – that ‘Where we are located doesn’t matter. We want to be seen as global‘. What a load of tosh. The fact is where you come from often makes you what you are. More importantly it can provide a real differentiator when it comes to positioning and actually saying something authentic about yourselves. Pity a few more senior execs in anonymous global conglomerates didn’t understand that. They often talk about being different, and then deny one of the most important elements that helps makes them so.

Made in Italy means money

I read in this mornings FT that Bottega Veneta, the maker of posh handbags, had seen revenues rise by a third and were making more money than ever. CEO Marco Bizzarri said ‘For us Made in Italy is so important.’ He continues ‘We’ve found that as long as our quality is maintained the customers are willing to pay a premium.’ Just a fluke? Take a look at the automobile sector, where having a premium brand with the German engineering stamp on it adds value and customer loyalty. Be proud of where you come from. Place matters.