Emirates has been the most valuable brand in the Middle East ever since Brand Finance initiated its ranking in 2010 and the Dubai-based airline has been top of its industry at a global level for the last five years. However 2017 sees a dramatic shift.
According to Brand Finance’s Middle East 50, (The annual report on the world’s most valuable Middle Eastern brands), Emirates’ brand value is down 21 per cent to $6.1 billion. This sees it lose its place at the top of its industry; three US brands (American, United and Delta) have overtaken it. Even more dramatically however, Emirates has lost its place as the Middle East’s most valuable brand to STC.
STC grew 11 per cent in value this year to US$6.2 billion. Brand Finance Middle East Managing Director Andrew Campbell comments, “The Riyadh-based giant demonstrates a departure from its once traditional approach; it is embarking down a path of ‘humanisation’, re-engaging its many stakeholders with a fresh, personable outlook. A clear indication of its success is the 5-point increase in its brand strength index score, proving that putting some heart into it pays off.”
Like STC, Ooredoo has generally tried to employ a mono-brand structure. Since rebranding in its home market of Qatar in 2014, Ooredoo has pursued a successful rebrand strategy across seven other markets, establishing a signi cant regional brand spanning Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. This has provided a platform for launching a new network in Myanmar, as well as fully dual branding with large, well-established operator, Indosat in Indonesia. Ooredoo’s brand value has grown from below $1bn to more than $3bn in four years, propelling it into the top 10. Ooreedoo is now 6th, up from 11th last year, according to Brand Finance.
Though STC is top and four of the Middle East’s top ten brands are telecoms companies, telecoms is only the second most valuable sector by brand value, accounting for 28 per cent of the total. Banking makes up the biggest share of total brand value of the Brand Finance Middle East’s 50, comprising 43% of the $75 billion total. Banking is also the source of the region’s fastest growing brand, Dubai Islamic Bank, whose brand value is up 136 per cent on 2016.
This growth has been aided by its strength in the Islamic banking sector. Dubai Islamic Bank has the largest brand value contribution from Islamic banking of any bank brand; $580 million of its $1.9 billion total brand value. The Middle East’s most valuable bank brands cannot quite match DIB’s rate of growth, but have nonetheless put in a strong performance.
Qatar National Bank, the Middle East’s most valuable bank brand is up 56 per cent. QNB completed the acquisition of Turkey’s Finansbank this year and continues to strengthen its position not just in the Middle East but in Africa and Asia too, Brand Finance report says.
The Middle East’s second most valuable bank brand is Emirates NBD, which like QNB has grown 56 per cent in the last year. National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank are up 62 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.
Airlines is the third most significant sector by brand value and has seen its share of the total fall to 14 per cent.