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Swedbank cashes in as Sweden’s strongest brand amid turbulent times

11 September 2019
This article is more than 1 year old.
  • Swedbank crowned Sweden’s strongest brand, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 87.7 out of 100
  • Swedish banks dominate Brand Finance Sweden 50 ranking, 4 banks in top 10
  • Intrum named fastest-growing, brand value up impressive 71%
  • Alfa Laval highest new entrant, brand value SEK7.8 billion
  • Swedish tech brands suffering, Getinge plummets 51%, Ericsson down 37%

View the full Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 report here

Ikea dominates home and away
The podium has not changed in the Sweden 50 ranking with Ikea, H&M and Volvo claiming the top three positions, with significantly higher brand values than the rest of the ranking, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy. These brands also make up the top 3 most valuable across the whole Nordic region.

Ikea continues to be Sweden’s most valuable brand (brand value up 25% to SEK195.9 billion) despite recording significant profit losses, resulting in 7,500 job cuts worldwide. The brand has shifted its focus to its online proposition and to the expansion of its city centre stores in response to ever-changing consumer behaviours.

Fast-fashion retailer H&M (down 6% to SEK144.4 billion) has maintained its position as the second most valuable brand in the face of a difficult year. The brand has had difficulties with unsold inventory and repeated complaints from customers that clothes are smaller than expected.

Sitting in third, Volvo has closed the gap behind H&M with a 23% rise in brand value to SEK125.3 billion. Volvo celebrated record sales, selling over 600,000 cars across the year for the first time in history, this boost in sales can be largely attributed to the renewed product portfolio and solid sales performances in the US, China and Europe.

Swedbank is Sweden’s strongest
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, Swedbank (brand value up 20% to SEK32.0 billion) is Sweden’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 87.7 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand rating.

Swedbank has continued to record steady growth through strategic investments and acquisitions. Above and beyond recording profits, the brand has committed to its corporate social responsibility efforts, being named an industry leader in the banking sector for its sustainability.

Recently however, Swedbank has faced widespread scrutiny and controversary with its Baltic arm currently under investigation for money laundering activities, resulting in an instant drop in the brand’s shares and the appointment of a new CEO. As a country that prides itself on low levels of corruption, and with the brand at the heart of the Swedish financial sector, Swedbank is facing increased pressure. How Swedbank responds to this scandal over the coming year is crucial to the brand maintaining its top brand strength rating.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Banks are familiar with being scrutinised closely. As brands across the sector learnt following the financial crisis, repairing a damaged reputation is a long and arduous process, but vital to ensure customer retention and a strong brand value. Swedbank will face this challenge in the coming year, and how the brand responds to the recent accusations will be of paramount importance to the brand’s success.”

4 banks in top 10
Banks have maintained their prominence within the rankings, with Nordea (no change in brand value at SEK51.3 billion), Swedbank, Svenska Handelsbanken (up 19% to SEK30.6 billion) and SEB (up 6% to SEK24.1 billion) all remaining in the top 10. Although these four banking brands differ considerably, particularly in client type and distribution channel, they are all contending with the same shifts within the market, notably the move from traditional banking within branches, to digitalisation and technological transformation. Nordea has recently been awarded the Bronze Lion in Cannes for its pension commercial, demonstrating the brand’s successful use of marketing to rebound from reputational issues.

Smaller financial services providers, Intrum and Lansforsakringar Bank, have recorded impressive increases in their brand values, rising 71% to SEK4.0 billion and 61% to SEK3.7 billion respectively.

Intrum, Sweden’s fastest-growing brand, has continued to expand through a number of strategic partnerships and acquisitions that have helped the brand gain a stronger foothold in the European market, as well as enter into new markets, including Latin America.

Lansforsakringar Bank’s unique regional structure gives the brand an added benefit over its competitors through its strong local presence, promoting continued customer loyalty across the country.

Alfa Laval bucks trend
Engineering and construction brand, Alfa Laval, is the highest new entrant into the rankings in 26th position, with a brand value of SEK7.8 billion. The brand’s investment in R&D has led to increased product launches, with more announced in the pipeline. This innovation, partnered with a drive towards an upgraded service proposition, is supporting the brand’s organic growth.

The trend across the sector is not as positive, with several brands losing brand value: Skanska (down 3% to SEK20.8 billion); Atlas Copco (down 11% to SEK16.9 billion); SKF (down 1% to SEK12.3 billion) and NCC (down 2% to SEK9.8 billion).

Tech brands suffer
Established tech brands have suffered significantly over the last year with dramatic declines in brand value recorded for Getinge (brand value down 51% to SEK2.4 billion), Electrolux (brand value down 43% to SEK9.9 billion) and Ericsson (brand value down 37% to SEK23.1 billion).

Global medical technology brand, Getinge, which has suffered profit losses, spun off Arjo, its extended care business, in a bid to further develop the core Getinge offering and push profits up.

Brand Finance Nordic 50 2019: Sweden reigns supreme
Looking at the classification in the wider region, Swedish brands have claimed one in every two positions in the Brand Finance Nordic 50 ranking and six out of the top 10 spots.

Engineering and construction leads among sectors with 10 brands included in the ranking. Skanska is the highest ranked in 20th, followed closely by Vestas, in 21st position. Other notable sectors across the region are banking with 7 brands and retail with 5 brands.

Twenty-four brands from Sweden feature in the Brand Finance Nordic 50 rankings, more than from Denmark (16), Finland (6), or Norway (4).

View the full Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 report here


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable Swedish brands are included in the Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 ranking, and the 50 most valuable brands across the Nordic countries are included in the Brand Finance Nordic 50 2019 ranking.

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, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 report.

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.

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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