Why The Portuguese Culture Should Be Preserved By Carlos Coelho

Why The Portuguese Culture Should Be Preserved By Carlos Coelho – The renowned marketer is one of the most renowned personalities in Portugal thanks to his excellent skills of creating and managing some of the best brands in the country! During the inspiring Luxury Design and Craftsmanship Summit 2019, which took place in the beautiful city of Oporto, Coelho explained why it was so important to preserve the Portuguese cultural heritage and how it should be presented to other countries. Find out more about this incredible interview by CovetED Magazine, here!

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With more than 30 years of experience, Carlos Coelho is one of the most important references in the Portuguese Marketing area thanks to his amazing work in creating and managing some of the country’s top brands, like Galp Energia, RTP, TV Cabo, CTT Correios and TAP Portugal. During an interesting talk with the renowned Luxury Design Magazine, the inspiring personality explained why it is so important to preserve the Portuguese culture in the country’s interior design and how it should be introduced to the world!

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Why is it so important to leave a mark.

Carlos Coelho: I’d say that it’s almost a personal mission to leave our mark in the world, but it’s a mission which seems to have been left for the companies, despite it being a mission of everybody. Because there’s a lot of interconnection here between our happiness, our capacity as human beings of developing ourselves. By doing that while integrated into our society, through enterprises, arts, businesses, and other activities, but in the context that is our country. So the consciousness that we have to manage actively the collective, commercial and individual brands are very important for a collective result.

That’s what we’re living today, which consists of looking a lot to our internal brands which marginalize a lot of their own products.

Carlos Coelho: I tried to explain here a little bit of the history of our country. With the revolution, we rejected the past we didn’t want (and it was fine seen as it was a closed past). The dictatorship was passed in a time period in which there was a rebuilding of identity, during which the castles were rebuilt and a series of icons were created. Those were all rejected. Our entrance in Europe has opened us a door to modernity. And by rejecting our own brands we started to consume other countries’ brands as well as living their lifestyle.

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Only when we entered at the crisis did many people from outside came in and said: “Well, turns out Portugal is an amazing country” and with that, we began to win a little bit of self-esteem. Then, out of need, we went to the reliquary to say “Well, there’s this tradition, this recipe, this idea, let’s turn it into a business”. And with the world having its eyes set on Portugal, it began to work out economically. So the moment we’re in right now it’s a period of an identity reconciliation, but it’s not quite a strong one yet.

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However, we have to appreciate what is ours, right?

Carlos Coelho:  Yes, we do! If we consider this recent period of history we still have to break free of feelings which have closed us and are still haunting us, or that are still there deep within our DNA. We have to believe that our past is an enormous tool for our future. We don’t want to keep living in the past, it’s not about taking off profits from the past and keep on living without doing nothing by alluding to what we’ve done. We’re going to have to use that heritage, that legacy, that path we’ve walked through to here in order to project a new country.


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So you think that the solution for our craftsmanship is the “wedding” between unperceptive quality and perceptive quality, per say?

Carlos Coelho: Yes, I think that for our arts and crafts they need to be qualified in two aspects: economic valuing with certain fiscal discrimination (I know a series of countries in which craftsmanship is protected in that sense) and social qualification.

Being an activity that needs multiple factors these two aren’t enough: you need to add in innovation, contemporaneity, and you need to add the world in the mix, in other words, we need to make sure that what we’re doing is placed in the markets that will value these products and not being sold in the opposite direction like they are right now. Pretty much the artisan selling in the fair nearer to his own home and naturally the product will end up being more and more devalued.

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From that point of view, it’s actually a generalization which already exists in our country.

Carlos Coelho: Because usually, the craftsmanship activities produced functional artifacts which were used in daily life, selling at the closer markets of the craftsmen which were a usual thing to do. These days the crafts have to accomplish other functions beyond its basic features and so proximity is, in many cases (I’d say most cases) not certainly the best marketplace to sell these products

Do you believe that preserving cultural identity is important?

Carlos Coelho: I think so, the preservation of cultural identity is absolutely fundamental. I don’t want people interpreting my speech as me just saying “Oh this is all about communication and if we invest everything in the perceived quality, then the intrinsic quality doesn’t matter that much”, or rather “let’s invest in good glasses, the wine may be trash but it will be alright”.

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From that point of view, it’s actually a generalization which already exists in our country.

Carlos Coelho: Because usually, the craftsmanship activities produced functional artifacts which were used in daily life, selling at the closer markets of the craftsmen which were a usual thing to do. These days the crafts have to accomplish other functions beyond its basic features and so proximity is, in many cases (I’d say most cases) not certainly the best marketplace to sell these products

Do you believe that preserving cultural identity is important?

Carlos Coelho: I think so, the preservation of cultural identity is absolutely fundamental. I don’t want people interpreting my speech as me just saying “Oh this is all about communication and if we invest everything in the perceived quality, then the intrinsic quality doesn’t matter that much”, or rather “let’s invest in good glasses, the wine may be trash but it will be alright”.

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