Saudi Aramco and ADNOC top Middle East’s leading 50 brands in latest Brand Finance report
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Saudi Aramco and ADNOC top Middle East’s leading 50 brands in latest Brand Finance report

Etisalat maintains most valuable consumer brand in the Middle East for third year in a row

Brand Finance has released its Middle East report on the region’s top 50 most valuable and strongest brands of which 20 are Saudi Arabian, 17 from the UAE, 9 from Qatar and 4 from Kuwait.

Since its IPO last year, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco are a new entrant at the top of the table with a brand value of US$46.8 billion, claiming the title of the Middle East’s most valuable brand. In order to clinch the title of the world’s most valuable oil and gas brand from rival Shell, Saudi Aramco must now focus on developing international perceptions of the brand in order to open it up further for partnerships and investment.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is the Middle East’s second most valuable brand, up 29% to US$11.4 billion. The brand is also the first UAE brand to achieve a brand valuation of more than US$11 billion, a testament to the success of the Group’s ongoing transformation strategy.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance said, “The harsh reality is that many Middle Eastern brands are not going to make their 2020 targets due to the unprecedented challenges of the Coronavirus outbreak. Having a strong brand is more crucial now than ever, as this might which will truly help to weather the storm and bounce back from this crisis.”

Of the Middle East’s top 50 brands, 21 are from the banking sector, with Qatar’s QNB (up 20% to US$6 billion) leading as the region’s biggest lender. QNB’s brand value has grown solidly since 2019 – despite a regional embargo on Qatar – as the bank has been pursuing expansion across new markets, with a notable strategic focus on Southeast Asia.

Following last year’s three-way merger between Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank, ADCB is the region’s fastest growing brand, up 41% since last year to US$2.7 billion. Up five places to be named the Middle East’s 13th most valuable brand, ADCB is to be commended for a successful roll out its new brand across physical and digital channels only five months after completion of the merger.

Emirati telecoms giant Etisalat is the most valuable consumer brand in the Middle East 50 2020 ranking for the third year in a row. With a brand value of US$8.5 billion, Etisalat has demonstrated a consistent performance over the years. The brand is also the strongest telecoms brand in the Middle East and Africa – making it the sole brand in the region to maintain the prestigious AAA Brand Rating. Etisalat’s footprint in 16 countries across Asia, Middle East, and Africa makes it home to an impressive portfolio of brands including Mobily, Ufone, Maroc Telecom, PTCL, and Etisalat Misr with a combined portfolio brand value of US$11.0 billion.

Assessed by Brand Finance as the hardest hit sector under COVID-19 are airlines, leisure and tourism, aviation, aerospace and defence. A large number of major airlines, including Emirates (up 9% to US$6.8 billion) and Etihad (down 38% to US$0.8 billion) have grounded most of their fleets as they now confront a crisis unlike anything ever seen before in the airline industry.

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria, Emirates is the Middle East’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 86.2 out of 100 and it is this brand strength and positive sentiment amongst its passengers worldwide which will help support the airline, as it significantly reduces passenger flights across the network in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.