Oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco has once again been crowned Middle East’s most valuable brand by a new report published today by the leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.
With a brand value of $43.6 billion – a 16% year-on-year increase – Saudi Arabia’s national oil company claims 31st rank among the world’s top 500 most valuable brands. It is leading a contingent of seven brands from the region in the latest Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.
Globally, new entrant TikTok has been named world’s fastest-growing brand, up 215%, leading a global revolution in media consumption.
Apple holds on to world’s most valuable brand title with record valuation at more than $355 billion, followed by Amazon and Google.
The highest-ranked CEO outside of the US and China dominance is the Adnoc brand guardian Dr Sultan Al Jaber. 15th in the ranking, he is also the top-scoring leader in the oil and gas sector. Aside from his role at Adnoc, Dr Sultan holds senior positions within the UAE government, and is a key figure in promoting the diversification and growth of the UAE economy.
Overall, the UAE punches well above its weight in the Brand Guardianship Index 2022. The CEOs of the three UAE brands from the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking all feature and record higher scores than last year, with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Emirates (34th) and Etisalat’s Hatem Dowidar (79th) joining Dr Sultan in the top 100.
Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 500 most valuable and strongest brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Global 500 ranking – now in its 16th year.
Following a difficult period for the sector at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, oil prices rebounded in 2021, buoyed by the natural gas crisis that saw businesses turn to crude products. The increase in demand saw Aramco’s third-quarter profits more than triple year-on-year, helping push its market valuation to $2 trillion.
In a sign of confidence and ambition for continued growth, Aramco announced plans to increase its production capacity from 12 million barrels a day to 13 million by 2027. The company has continued to invest heavily in its brand to support growth in both core and growth businesses through a global campaign as well as investments in sports – from Formula 1 to golf.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) achieved an impressive 19% brand value growth to $12.8 billion, the fastest amongst the top 10 oil and gas brands globally, which sees it hold on to its position as the 2nd most valuable brand in the region. Adnoc is one of a handful of brands in the sector to see its BSI score rise by +2.0 points, evidenced by its stellar reputation and trust amongst international investors and stakeholders.
Last year, Adnoc announced an increase in its national reserves of 4 billion stock tank barrels of oil and 16 trillion standard cubic feet of natural gas, as well as capital expenditure of $127 billion to enable plans to boost its upstream production capacity and downstream portfolio. With an eye on the future, and in line with the UAE leadership’s 2050 net zero strategy, Adnoc is also embracing the energy transition through several strategic initiatives including its global clean energy joint venture with Taqa and Mubadala on renewable energy and green hydrogen.
Apart from calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.
Certified by ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from around 100,000 respondents in over 35 countries and across nearly 30 sectors.
According to these criteria, Etisalat is the Middle East and Africa’s strongest brand for the second consecutive year with a score of 89.2 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA rating. Expo 2020 has offered Etisalat the platform to demonstrate itself as a strategic enabler of the UAE's digital transformation.
Etisalat’s focus on enhancing customer experience and living the ethos of “Together Matters” has helped the brand in increasing its BSI score by +1.8 points, breaking into the top 20 strongest brands globally, claiming 18th place, as well as making it the #1 strongest telecoms brand globally.
In addition to the strong BSI performance, Etisalat saw its brand value increase from $8.5 billion to $10.1 billion, pushing it into the top 200 of the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking this year. Etisalat Group also boasts the most valuable telecoms brand portfolio in the Middle East.
David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance, commented: “Guided by the vision to ‘drive the digital future to empower societies’, Etisalat is the world’s strongest telecoms brand of 2022, as well as retaining its status as the strongest brand in the Middle East and Africa for the second consecutive year. Etisalat’s brand focuses on togetherness and plays its part by providing a first-class telecoms infrastructure across its footprint. Exceptional rollout of 5G technology has also meant that the Etisalat Group’s portfolio of brands is the most valuable amongst telecoms organisations in the Middle East.”
A fellow telecoms brand, Saudi Arabia’s stc continued to see good growth this year, with its brand value increasing by 16% to $10.6 billion.
Over the course of the pandemic, stc has been the fastest-growing brand in the region in the Brand Finance Global 500, with a brand value increase of 32% over the last two years – with its successful rebrand playing a key role.
The strong results come off the back of the brand continuing to invest and diversify. This year it announced it would be investing $400 million to build the region’s largest cloud-enabled data centre, and saw its subsidiary stc pay awarded one of the first digital banking licenses in Saudi Arabia.
The remaining three brands from the region are QNB ($7.1 billion), Emirates ($5.0 billion), and Sabic ($4.7 billion).
TIKTOK NAMED WORLD’S FASTEST-GROWING BRAND
Looking beyond the region, tripling in brand value over the past year, TikTok has been named the world’s fastest-growing brand by a new report published today.
With an astounding 215% growth, the entertainment app’s brand value has increased from $18.7 billion in 2021 to $59.0 billion this year. Claiming 18th spot among the world’s top 500 most valuable brands, it is the highest new entrant to the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.
With Covid-19 restrictions still in effect across the globe throughout 2021, digital entertainment, social media, and streaming services saw continued growth, and TikTok’s rise is testament to how media consumption is changing. With its offering of easily digestible and entertaining content, the app’s popularity spread across the globe, however, it also acted as a creative outlet and provided a way for people to connect during lockdown.
At the same time, strategic partnerships, such as its sponsorship of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, exposed TikTok to demographics outside of its original Gen Z base. It crossed the one billion user mark in 2021 and became the most downloaded app across Android’s Google Play store and Apple’s App Store.
Haigh said: “Media consumption has increased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but – what is more – the way we consume it has irrevocably changed. In order to compete in this evolving marketplace, media organisations have invested heavily in their brands – from content acquisition through to user experience. TikTok’s meteoric growth is the proof in the pudding – the brand has gone from relative obscurity to internationally renowned in just a few years and shows no signs of slowing down.”
Overall, media brands account for the top 3 fastest-growing brands in the ranking – with another social media app Snapchat (brand value up 184% to $6.6 billion) and South Korean internet brand Kakao (up 161% to $4.7 billion) following closely behind TikTok.
APPLE HOLDS ON TO TOP SPOT
Apple has retained the title of the world’s most valuable brand following a 35% increase to $355.1 billion – the highest brand value ever recorded in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking.
Apple had a stellar 2021, highlighted by its achievement at the start of 2022 – being the first company to reach a $3 trillion market valuation. The tech giant’s success historically lied in honing its core brand positioning, but its more recent growth can be attributed to the company’s recognition that its brand can be applied effectively to a much broader range of services.
The iPhone still accounts for around half of the brand’s sales. However, this year saw Apple give more attention to its other suite of products with a new generation of iPads, an overhaul to the iMac, and introduction of AirTags. Its range of services, from Apple Pay to Apple TV, has also gone from strength to strength and become of increasing importance to the brand’s success.
Haigh commented: “Apple commands an amazing level of brand loyalty, largely thanks to its reputation for quality and innovation. Decades of hard work put into perfecting the brand have seen Apple become a cultural phenomenon, which allows it to not only compete, but thrive in a huge number of markets. With rumours abounding of its foray into electric vehicles and virtual reality, it seems it is ready for a new leap.”
Amazon and Google also saw good levels of growth, both keeping their spots in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking behind Apple in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Amazon joined Apple in crossing the $300 billion brand value mark with a 38% increase to $350.3 billion, navigating global supply chain issues and a labour shortage in the process. Google saw a similar brand value growth of 38% to $263.4 billion.
TECH REMAINS MOST VALUABLE INDUSTRY
The tech sector is once again the most valuable in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, with a cumulative brand value of close to $1.3 trillion. Technology and tech brands have become of ever-increasing importance in the modern world, a trend that has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In total, 50 tech brands feature in the ranking, however, the brand value is largely attributable to three big players, with Apple, Microsoft (brand value $184.2 billion), and Samsung Group (brand value $107.3 billion) together accounting for more than 50% of the total brand value in the sector.
RETAIL CONTINUES TO THRIVE
The retail sector has cemented its position as the second most valuable in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, crossing the $1 trillion mark for the first time.
Prior to the pandemic, retail was the third most valuable sector behind banking, but a boom in e-commerce has seen it pull away whilst banking has remained stagnant. Over the course of the pandemic, retail has been the fastest-growing large industry in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, with a brand value increase of 46% – outpacing the tech and media sectors which grew by 42% and 33% respectively.
Haigh noted: “The initial impression of lockdown may have been that retail would suffer, but those that have shown the agility to adapt and utilise technology have impressed with solid gains. The transformation of the industry to meet its customers’ evolving needs has sown the seeds for both short- and long-term prosperity.”
PHARMA BRANDS SEE HEALTHY GROWTH
Pharma brands have been in the limelight since the start of the pandemic as the world turned to the sector for Covid-19 tests and vaccines. As a result, unsurprisingly, the sector has seen faster growth in the Brand Finance Global 500 over the last two years than any other sector. The number of pharma brands in the ranking has doubled from four to eight, with brand value increasing by 94% to $54.0 billion.
All eight brands featured are more valuable than they were in 2020, with those that produced Covid-19 vaccinations seeing the biggest increases. Johnson & Johnson remains the most valuable, with a 24% brand value increase to $13.4 billion. New entrant to the ranking AstraZeneca secured the title of the sector’s fastest-growing, with a remarkable 77% rise in brand value to $5.6 billion, followed by Pfizer as the second fastest-growing at 58%, pushing its brand value to $6.3 billion.
Haigh said: “The production of effective vaccines has been integral to getting the global economy back on its feet. This has resulted in not only an increase in revenues, but also improved global awareness and reputation for brands in the pharmaceutical industry, which raises interesting questions about their potential applicability in adjacent sectors.”
TOURISM BRANDS SHOW SIGNS OF RECOVERY
The brand value of the tourism industry overall is still down when compared to pre-pandemic valuations, hampered by the number of brands featured in the Brand Finance Global 500 falling from 15 to 9. However, in a promising sign of recovery, all of the brands from the industry that do appear in this year’s ranking have seen positive brand value growth.
The hotel sector recorded the fastest level of growth, with the two brands in the ranking, Hilton (up 58% to $12.0 billion) and Hyatt (up 26% to $5.9 billion), now being more valuable than they were pre-pandemic. Airline brands, including Emirates (brand value $5.0 billion), all saw an uptick in brand value as international and domestic travel increased, though none recovered to their pre-pandemic level yet. The story is similar for online booking platform booking.com ($8.7 billion) and car rental firm Enterprise ($7.1 billion).
Haigh remarked: “It is a promising sign to see recovery in the tourism sector despite intermittent restrictions still in place across the world. The bounce-back was no doubt hindered by variant outbreaks, however, as the world adjusts to living with Covid-19, there is no reason the tourism industry cannot take flight once again.”
WECHAT RETAINS WORLD’S STRONGEST BRAND TITLE
China’s WeChat remains the world’s strongest brand, retaining the title for the second consecutive year, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 93.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ rating.
WeChat plays an integral part in day-to-day life in China, with its all-encompassing set of services allowing customers to message, video call, order food, and shop. It also played an integral part in the country’s fight against Covid-19, with more than 700 million people using its services to book vaccinations and tests. The app’s entrenchment in people’s lives helps it achieve strong scores in reputation and consideration among Chinese consumers, according to Brand Finance’s research.
BRAND GUARDIANSHIP INDEX
The Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index has been expanded and now ranks the world’s top 250 CEOs. This year’s top brand guardian is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Mr Nadella, who also became Chairman this year, has been credited with overhauling Microsoft’s fortunes by changing its culture towards one of teamwork, innovation, and inclusivity, and instilling a growth mindset throughout the business.
The top 10 of the ranking is dominated by brand guardians from the tech and media sectors. Tim Cook sits in a well-earned 2nd place, having overseen Apple’s record-breaking year, which saw it become the first company to achieve a $3 trillion market valuation. Cook is joined by the brand guardians of a number of household brand names, with Tencent’s Huateng Ma (4th), Google’s Sundar Pichai (5th), and Netflix’s Reed Hastings (7th) all featuring at the top of the ranking.
Haigh said: “Ultimately, the role of a brand guardian is to build brand and business value. Our ranking recognises those who are building business value in a sustainable manner, by balancing the needs of all stakeholders – employees, investors, and the wider society. More and more, the CEOs ranked in the Brand Guardianship Index must work in partnership to build a sustainable future, redefining the role of a CEO from ultra-competitive entrepreneur to collaborative diplomat.”
At a country level, the Brand Guardianship Index 2022 mirrors the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking, with the US and China leading the way. There are 101 CEOs from the US, which represents 40% of the index, and 47 from China, which represents 19%.-- TradeArabia News Service