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Etisalat Rings in as Middle East’s Most Valuable Brand

01 February 2018
This article is more than 3 years old.

· Etisalat takes over as region’s most valuable brand, following 40% growth

· 5 Middle Eastern brands feature in Brand Finance Global 500

· Valued at over US$150 billion, Amazon becomes the world’s most valuable brand

· Apple and Google left behind as they fail to follow Amazon’s growth model

· Facebook’s jump to 5th place sanctions the dawn of the digital era for brands

Etisalat has been named the Middle East’s most valuable brand for the first time, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report. The Abu Dhabi-based telecom operator, has turned the dial up with a 40% increase to its brand value, cementing its place as a strategic enabler in the UAE’s digital transformation.

The key growth drivers behind the US$7.7 billion brand value include the launch of Etisalat’s popular “Smiles” loyalty programme alongside the user friendly app. Additionally, Etisalat has amplified the rollout of its smart “Customer Experience Centres” and renewed support for its global football sponsorships with further focus on its partnership with Manchester City Football Club.

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

“The UAE’s focus on digital innovation has helped support Etisalat brand’s success and paved the way for future growth ahead of Expo 2020. With its stated strategy of ‘Driving the Digital Future’, Etisalat has adapted to a new competitive marketplace dominated by the rise of tech giants”.

Amazon – Prime Spot in the Brand Finance Global 500

Amazon is the world’s most valuable brand, ahead of Apple and Google, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report. The e-commerce giant’s brand value increased by 42% year on year to a whopping US$150.8 billion.

Since the brand’s humble beginnings as an online bookstore, Amazon has become the world’s largest internet business by both market capitalisation and revenue. It is no longer just an online retailer, but also a provider of cloud infrastructure and a producer of electronics. Now, it is moving beyond the digital space, as last year’s takeover of Whole Foods for US$13.7 billion gave the brand a foothold in the realm of bricks and mortar. Amazon is also present in shipping, music and video streaming, alongside industry speculation on an impending bank acquisition in 2018.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Jeff Bezos once said that ‘brands are more important online than they are in the physical world’. He has proved himself right by choosing the name Amazon, known as the largest, most powerful river in the world, as 23 years later the Amazon brand carries all before it as an unstoppable force. The strength and value of the Amazon brand gives it stakeholder permission to extend relentlessly into new sectors and geographies. All evidence suggests that the amazing Amazon brand is going to continue growing indefinitely and exponentially.”

Amazon’s expansive growth strategy leaves Apple and Google behind

Although Apple defended 2nd place in the ranking, with brand value rebounding to US$146.3 billion after the 27%-decline last year, its future looks bleak. Apple has failed to diversify and grown over-dependent on sales of its flagship iPhones, responsible for two thirds of revenue. Poor Q4 2017 sales of iPhone X at only 29 million handsets fell short of expectations, and the model is predicted to be discontinued later this year. With the advent of emerging world brands like Huawei, Apple’s increasing focus on what are effectively luxury products may cost the brand a fair share of the global mass market, limiting the potential for brand value growth.

Google has dropped from 1st to 3rd position, recording a relatively slow brand value growth of 10% to US$120.9 billion. Google’s online ads generated more traffic than expected as aggregated paid clicks rose by 47% in Q3 2017, boosting revenues. However, to compete with the world’s most valuable brands, presenting a solid performance is not always enough. Google is a champion in internet search, cloud and mobile OS technology but, similarly to Apple, its focus on particular sectors is holding it back from unleashing the full potential of its brand. Google’s investments in self-driving cars and handsets still lack the scale and audacity demonstrated by Amazon’s new ventures. Nevertheless, the acquisition of 2,000 HTC smartphone staffers for US$1.1 billion indicates a shift to a more expansive approach.

Digital era is now as technology brands make their way up the ranks

For the first time since the inception of the Brand Finance Global 500 study, technology brands claim all top 5 places in the league table. Samsung (4th, US$92.3 billion) and Facebook (5th, US$89.7 billion) both recorded impressive year-on-year brand value growth of 39% and 45% respectively, overtaking AT&T (6th, US$82.4 billion). Change at the top is reflective of a wider global trend as the technology sector accounts for more than twice as much brand value as telecoms.

The dominance of digital is set to grow even more in the coming years as other brands make their way up the Global 500. Google-owned YouTube more than doubled its brand value to US$25.9 billion, jumping 70 places to 42nd. Chinese technology brands, taking advantage of captive market conditions, can also boast high brand value growth, with Alibaba (12th), Tencent (21st), WeChat (49th), Baidu (57th), JD (65th), and NetEase (121st), going up by an average of 67% year on year.

ENDS

Note to Editors

For an infographic featuring the most valuable brands by region, including Etisalat (Middle East and Africa), Mercedes-Benz (Europe), Pemex (Latin America), Samsung (Asia), and Telstra (Australasia), please consult the Brand Finance Global 500 report.

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 500 most valuable brands in the world are included in the Brand Finance Global 500 league table.

Brand value is equal to a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.

More information about the methodology as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Global 500 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance Global 500 league table and report is provided for the benefit of the media and is not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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