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ADNOC is UAE’s Most Valuable Brand

08 March 2021

Etisalat is UAE’s Strongest Brand Overtaking Emirates for First Time

  • ADNOC is UAE’s most valuable brand in Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 ranking, brand value US$10.8 billion
  • Etisalat overtakes Emirates to become UAE’s strongest brand for first time, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 87.4 out of 100
  • DP world is nation’s fastest growing brand, brand value up impressive  17% brand value growth to US$1.1 billion
  • Emirati banking brands record brand value losses as sector suffers amid pandemic turmoil

View the full Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 report here

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) claims the title of the UAE’s most valuable brand, according to the latest report by Brand Finance – the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. ADNOC has managed to successfully shelter its brand value during an incredibly challenging year for its industry, with only a 6% brand value loss to US$10.8 billion, making it the most resilient of all National Oil Companies (NOC) globally. 

ADNOC’s transformation since 2016 has taken the brand from strength to strength. Under the astute leadership of Managing Director and Group CEO H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, ADNOC has evolved into a trusted global player with one brand and one strategic vision at its core. It has attracted some of the world’s leading institutional investors as partners across its business and has raised more than US$64 billion through such transactions since the start of its transformation. Due to ADNOC’s competitive advantage in cost and carbon efficiency per barrel of oil produced, it is a likely contender to be “the last barrel standing” in the ongoing transition to a low carbon economy.

ADNOC is actively investing in diversifying its portfolio beyond raw commodity exports with recently announced efforts in hydrogen, ammonia and other value-add Downstream products – part of the brand’s longstanding commitment to future proofing its economic contributions to the UAE and maintaining a legacy of environmental stewardship. To date, the Group has invested in a number of measures to reduce its carbon footprint, notably through a significant expansion of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technology across its business. ADNOC once again is set to raise the profile of Abu Dhabi and the GCC through the launch of the highly anticipated futures exchange for Murban crude.

Andrew Campbell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Middle East, commented:

“ADNOC has been the principal enabler of the UAE and Abu Dhabi success story since its inception just under 50 years ago. Since taking the helm, Managing Director and Group CEO H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has successfully transformed the company into a leaner, more efficient and internationally competitive energy producer. Today, ADNOC plays a critical role driving local industry growth, supporting Abu Dhabi’s soft power position globally and advancing the UAE’s sustainable economic development goals. ADNOC’s enduring brand strength reflects the strength of its reputation as an industry leader in both cost and carbon efficient oil production, a critical driver of innovation and technology in the UAE and a partner of choice for local and international investors.”

Etisalat overtakes Emirates as UAE’s strongest brand 

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 over 50,000 respondents in nearly 30 countries and across more than 20 sectors. According to these criteria, Etisalat has been crowned the UAE’s strongest brand for the first time, overtaking Emirates, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 87.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating – the only brand in the MENA region to achieve this rating. This increase puts Etisalat among the top 25 brands globally for BSI.

Thanks to its strategy over the last few years and its recent achievement of becoming the fastest network on the planet, the brand was in a position to respond immediately to the 'new normal' of the pandemic, providing solutions and flexibility in a way that connected emotionally with consumers. Etisalat Group, the most valuable telecoms portfolio of brands in the region which has recently broken the US$11 billion mark, is turning its sights on transforming into a truly global player.

According to the Global Brand Equity Monitor research Etisalat has very strong brand equity in the UAE, ranking first on all of the key measures such as Consideration, Reputation and Quality.  Reinforcing its strong performance on functional attributes, Etisalat also connects with UAE residents emotionally far better than any direct competitor, with a significant lead on the ‘Closeness’ dimension.

David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“When COVID struck in 2020, Etisalat led from the front ensuring business continuity, robust e-governance, enablement of smart cities and remote learning, to help drive the digital future of the UAE. Staying relevant and enabling the nation with the fastest network on the planet, Etisalat has earned its place as the region’s Strongest Brand, ready to deliver on its ethos of Together Matters as the UAE welcomes the world at Expo 2021.”

Despite relinquishing the top spot, Emirates is still one of the UAE’s strongest brands (BSI score 80.5 out of 100), with genuinely global appeal. It is no surprise that its Reputation score (7.9/10) is the highest for airlines in its home market, but it’s all the more impressive that it holds this ranking in a number of other markets - including, Germany, Canada, India, UK - in a sector where local brands are often favoured.

DP World delivers 17% growth

DP World is the fastest growing brand in the Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 ranking,, up 17% to US$1.1 billion. The logistics giant recorded solid growth last year, as the brand celebrated strong performances in key markets including, India, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Egypt. Already operating an interconnected global network of 128 business units in 60 countries across six continents, DP World continues to set its sights on extending its global reach, with expansion plans underway at several of its terminals to increase capacity.

The container industry in general has showcased itself to be resilient to the pandemic turmoil, with the meteoric rise in e-commerce maintaining demand.

Banking brands take a hit

As with all banking brands globally, Emirati banks have struggled to maintain brand value as profits and interest rates take a hit. All the banks that feature in the ranking – aside from NBF (brand value up 2% to US$259 million) – have declined in brand value this year.

Leading the pack in the sector is Emirates NBD which sits in 4th position in the ranking. Following the sector trend, Emirates NBD has suffered a 10% brand value loss this year to US$3.7 billion. Unsurprisingly, the bank’s profits have taken a hit in 2020 driven by higher provisions. As the official banking partner of the Expo2020 – now rescheduled to commence in October – this will be the perfect opportunity to boost the brand’s profile globally as it helps to demonstrate the nation’s innovative culture.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (brand value down 10% to US$3.6 billion) and ADCB (down 19% to US$2.1 billion) are the UAE’s second and third most valuable banking brands, respectively. FAB is remaining focused on its long-term growth strategy, namely through accelerating its digital transformation journey and leveraging its leadership position in the UAE to grow its international presence. 

View the full Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 report here


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, evaluating their strength and quantifying their value, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The UAE’s 25 most valuable brands are included in the Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 report.

The full Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 rankings, additional insights, charts, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Please see below for a full explanation of our methodology.

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About Brand Finance          

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organisations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardisation of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671, and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

About The Banker

The Banker provides economic and financial intelligence for the world's financial sector and has built a reputation for objective and incisive reporting. It leads the debate on all the issues surrounding the global banking industry, providing in-depth news and analysis, exclusive interviews with senior industry figures and definitive regional bank listings, including the internationally acclaimed Top 1000 World Banks ranking.


Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Value

Brand value refers to the present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation. Organisations own and control these earnings by owning trademark rights.

All brand valuation methodologies are essentially trying to identify this, although the approach and assumptions differ. As a result, published brand values can be different.

These differences are similar to the way equity analysts provide business valuations that are different to one another. The only way you find out the “real” value is by looking at what people really pay.

As a result, Brand Finance always incorporates a review of what users of brands actually pay for the use of brands in the form of brand royalty agreements, which are found in more or less every sector in the world.

This is known as the “Royalty Relief” methodology and is by far the most widely used approach for brand valuations since it is grounded in reality.

It is the basis for our public rankings but we always augment it with a real understanding of people’s perceptions and their effects on demand – from our database of market research on over 3000 brands in over 30 markets.

Brand Valuation Methodology

For our rankings, Brand Finance uses the simplest method possible to help readers understand, gain trust in, and actively use brand valuations.

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668.

Our Brand Strength Index assessment, a balanced scorecard of brand-related measures, is also compliant with international standards (ISO 20671) and operates as a predictive tool of future brand value changes and a control panel to help business improving marketing.

We do this in the following four steps:

1. Brand Impact

We review what brands already pay in royalty agreements. This is augmented by an analysis of how brands impact profitability in the sector versus generic brands.

This results in a range of possible royalties that could be charged in the sector for brands (for example a range of 0% to 2% of revenue).

2. Brand Strength

We adjust the rate higher or lower for brands by analysing Brand Strength. We analyse brand strength by looking at three core pillars: “Investment” which are activities supporting the future strength of the brand; “Equity” which are real perceptions sourced from our original market research and other data partners; “Performance” which are brand-related measures of business results, such as market share.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+, in a format similar to a credit rating.

3. Brand Impact x Brand Strength

The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4. Brand Value Calculation

We determine brand-specific revenues as a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to the brand in question and forecast those revenues by analysing historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

We then apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues and apply the relevant valuation assumptions to arrive at a discounted, post-tax present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Konrad Jagodzinski
Konrad Jagodzinski
Communications Director
Brand Finance
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Florina Cormack-Loyd
Senior Communications Manager
Brand Finance

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