The world’s biggest companies are set to lose up to US$1tn in brand value as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, with the aviation sector being the most affected, according to the latest analysis by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
Brand Finance has assessed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, as at 18 March 2020, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. Based on this impact on enterprise value, Brand Finance estimated the likely impact on brand value for each sector. Each sector has been classified into 3 categories based on the severity of enterprise value loss observed for the sector in the period between 1st January 2020 and 18th March 2020.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:
"The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on global markets is very real. Worldwide, brands across every sector are braced for the Coronavirus to massively affect their business activities, supply chain and revenues in a way that eclipses the 2003 SARS outbreak.
Now is the ideal moment for Middle Eastern brands to remain ever present in their stakeholders’ minds, engage across digital channels, show resilience and adaptability in these unprecedented times.”
Middle East’s top 50 brands
Brand Finance today released the Middle East 50 report on the region’s top 50 most valuable and strongest brands, of which 20 are Saudi Arabian brands, 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. Saudi Aramco is focused on leveraging its strength in upstream, while growing its downstream operations through acquisitions, both in Saudi Arabia and key global markets. 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.
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.”
ADNOC breaks US$11 billion barrier
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. Since 1971, ADNOC has created thousands of jobs, driven the growth of a diverse knowledge-based economy, and played a key role in Abu Dhabi’s global emergence. ADNOC continues to look for new and innovative ways to maximise the value of its resources, pioneering those approaches and technologies that will ensure it is able to meet the demands of an ever-changing energy market, especially now amidst the steep slide in oil prices.
Etisalat Middle East and Africa’s most valuable consumer brand AAA rating
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.
The brand’s growing role in fulfilling the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy and its dominant influence in shaping the region’s digital future are behind its continued success.
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.
Banking brands dominate
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 the charge 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.
Aviation worst impacted by Coronavirus
Assessed by Brand Finance as the hardest hit sector under COVID-19 are airlines, leisure and tourism, aviation, aerospace and defence. The global airline industry has said most carriers will run out of money within two months as a result of the closure of borders for arrivals as governments order shutdowns to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 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.
Note to Editors
Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. 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.
Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings 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.
Brand Finance has assessed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak based on the effect of the outbreak on Enterprise Value, as at 18/03/2020 compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. Based on this impact on Business Value, Brand Finance estimated the likely impact on Brand Value for each sector. Each sector has been classified into 3 categories based on the severity of Business Value loss observed for the sector in the period between 1st Jan 2020 and 18th March 2020.