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Cheers to Guinness Defending Title as Ireland’s Most Valuable Brand

15 March 2019
This article is more than 2 years old.

· Guinness maintains position as Ireland’s most valuable brand, brand value €2.5 billion

· Mixed fortunes for Irish banks: AIB brand value up 21% to €2.3 billion; Ulster Bank drops 20% to €243 million

· Bank of Ireland fastest growing Irish brand, brand value up 56% to €1.4 billion

· Budget brands Ryanair and Primark on rise, brand value up 20% and 34% respectively

· Baileys is strongest brand in Ireland, BSI score 83.7 out of 100

View the full Brand Finance Ireland 25 2019 report here

Guinness raises the bar

Guinness defends its position as Ireland’s most valuable brand, with a brand value of €2.5 billion, an increase of 16% from the previous year, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Guinness is leading the way for Irish brands, with the top 10 brands celebrating an increase in brand value, a reflection of the upturn in the Irish economy, which has been undergoing a recovery for the past few years.

Guinness, considered by many to encapsulate the very essence of Irishness, has launched successful digital marketing campaigns in a bid to create an ageless brand that appeals to all demographics. Guinness has continued to innovate, through its launches of new beers: Open Gate Citra IPA and Open Gate Pilsner. The brand has also worked on pop up experiences and ‘experimental brewing’ hubs which have been well received both in Ireland and at the popular Truman Brewery in London. Alongside this, Guinness’ renewed sponsorship of the Six Nations Rugby competition has tapped into the drink’s traditional markets, further boosting its international recognition and thus its brand value.

Simon Haigh, MD Brand Finance, Ireland, commented:

“Ireland’s home-grown brands continue to be very strong ambassadors for the nation’s economy, which increased by 7.5% in 2018 – the highest growth rate among EU members. This momentum has been pivotal in Brand Finance expanding its Irish brand valuation ranking from 10 brands to 25 in 2019”.

Mixed fortunes for Irish banks

The Irish banking sector, which has been on a long road to re-establish its credibility, is still experiencing mixed fortunes. Allied Irish Banks (AIB) is ranked second behind Guinness with a brand value of €2.3 billion, up 21%. AIB has been working to rebuild its brand over the past decade following the global financial crisis, focusing specifically on improving the interaction between the bank and its clients, from branch modernisation and exploiting the use of digital, to a more personal approach with customers.

Bank of Ireland is the fastest growing Irish brand, its brand value rising an impressive 56% to €1.4 billion, and climbing from 7th to 6th place in the rankings. Group CEO Francesca McDonagh has overseen the bank’s sweeping technological upgrades amidst evolving regulatory requirements, especially as Brexit looms, and has made a firm commitment towards transforming the culture in Irish banking.

Conversely, Ulster Bank, part of the RBS group, lost more value than any other brand, decreasing by 20% to €243 million. This dramatic decline can be attributed to issues the brand has been experiencing over the last year, feeling the effects of the tracker mortgage scandal where it was discovered the bank had been charging its customers on the wrong mortgage rates for a number of years.

Budget brands advance

Budget brands Primark/Penneys (up 20% to €2.2 billion) and Ryanair (up 34% to €2.1 billion), are in third and fourth position respectively and have seen a positive shift in brand value, after recording sluggish brand growth in 2017-2018.

Dublin-headquartered budget clothing retailer, Primark/Penneys has refused to adapt its business model and branch out towards ecommerce but is still ahead of its competitors in terms of volume of clothing sold per store. Instead, the brand continues to rely on in-store purchases and boosting sales through the assumption that low prices will entice customers into spending more. This winning formula has been a success as typical Primark shoppers buy in large quantities.

Ryanair flies ahead

Interestingly, despite the negative publicity surrounding the budget airline, Ryanair’s brand value has not suffered but improved significantly over the last year. Despite controversies around flight delays and staff grievances on employment terms, the brand has recognised the need to lower the profile of its outspoken CEO, Michael O’Leary, and concentrate on its core offering of delivering passengers to and from favoured destinations in the most budget friendly manner.

Rising stars

The Irish food sector shows promise with food brands featuring prominently in the ranking as rising contenders: Kerry Group (brand value €545 million); Optimum Nutrition (brand value €426 million); thinkThin (brand value €347 million); BSN (brand value €212 million); and Denny (brand value €151 million). As the food industry gears up for Brexit and the possibility of upcoming UK tariffs, the next year will be crucial in determining whether these rising star brands continue to grow.

Another notable arrival in the Brand Finance Ireland 25 ranking is popular betting brand Paddy Power, with a brand value of €522 million. Its portfolio includes Sportsbet, also a new entrant to the table, with a brand value of €292 million.

Baileys is Ireland’s strongest

Aside from calculating overall 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. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

Baileys is Ireland’s strongest brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 83.7 out of 100 and a corresponding brand strength rating of AAA-. Guinness is the only other brand in the ranking to achieve an AAA- rating. Baileys has been able to create a unique identity for itself in the market and has committed to changing trends, for example the launch of Baileys Almande, to meet the growing demand of ‘free-from’ health conscious consumers.


Note to Editors
Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values Ireland’s biggest brands. Ireland’s most valuable brands are included in the Brand Finance Ireland 25 2019 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.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Ireland 25 2019 report.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognized standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used 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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