· Shell remains unchallenged at the top, rising 12% to a brand value of €32.7 billion
· Improving revenues and diverse sponsorships see Heineken’s brand value grow 17%
· Ziggo is the fastest-growing brand, up 77% year on year
Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies. A brand’s strength is assessed (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, preference, sustainability and margins) to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand. This is projected into perpetuity and discounted to determine the brand’s value. The 50 most valuable Dutch brands are included in the Brand Finance Netherlands 50 league table.
Shell is the Netherlands’ most valuable brand with a value of €32.7 billion, following an increase of 12% year on year. It remains unchallenged among Dutch brands since the inception of the ranking in 2011.
Oil prices saw a fairly steady increase across 2016 as supply became slightly more constrained, helping to improve revenues. After a drop at the beginning of the year, Brent Crude nearly doubled in value from early January to the end of December. Shell’s asset disposal program following the completion of its merger with BG has helped to consolidate and strengthen the brand, which has been upgraded from AA+ to AAA- thanks to a Brand Strength Index score of 82. Shell’s longstanding partnership with Ferrari continues to deliver returns, with a demonstrable price premium attributable to the association with the world’s most powerful auto brand. Shell also invests heavily in campaigns that position it as an innovative provider of the clean energy solutions of the future. As part of its ‘Make the Future’ initiative, Shell enlisted the help of six popstars from around the world for its ‘Best Day of My Life’ video, which became one of the most viral ads of 2016.
Placing 6th, Heineken recorded the largest growth among the top ten, rising 17% to a brand value of €4.7 billion. Sponsorship continues to be a primary brand-building tool for Heineken, though its mix of partnerships is shifting slightly. Despite a longstanding relationship with the UEFA Champions League, it is slowly shifting its focus away from football which it sees as ‘totally overcrowded’ with competitors’ brands making differentiation difficult. Heineken is instead developing its involvement with F1 and has renewed its association with rugby by announcing that it will be the headline sponsor of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Heineken is also securing its brand’s standing by keeping up with recent market trends. It has just launched ‘Heineken 0.0’, an alcohol-free beer, in response to a reduction of alcohol consumption as increasing numbers of consumers go teetotal or lower their intake over concerns about health, fitness, and social impact. As well as being lower in calories and alcohol-free, Heineken claims that the new product closely replicates the taste of true lager. Few alcohol-free beers have been successful in the past, therefore, if consumers are convinced, it would be a major success for Heineken from both brand and financial point of view.
Unilever is 7th with a brand value of €3.8 billion, down 4% from 2016. It is a major employer, well-known for its business ethics and focus on sustainability. So when KraftHeinz launched a bid for the company, there was deep concern amongst a broad range of stakeholders both in Britain and the Netherlands. In the event, Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman rebuffed the US$143 billion deal, which was seen to significantly undervalue the company.
Marc Cloosterman, Managing Director, Brand Finance Netherlands, commented: “This situation illustrates one of the fundamental reasons to value brands. Since internally generated goodwill (which includes brands) is not listed in company accounts, it is often overlooked or underestimated. Unilever has one of the world’s most valuable brand portfolios, estimated by Brand Finance at €48.2 billion, more than double the value of KraftHeinz. Bringing this to the fore will be key to defending any future bids or ensuring that shareholders receive fair value.”
With a change of 77% in value year to year and rising to 17th place, Ziggo is the fastest growing Dutch brand. Its rapid growth has been the result both of the expansion of the application of the brand and improved service offerings. A number of own-branded sport channels have been introduced, adding more content, while last year’s merger between Ziggo and Vodafone’s operations in the Netherlands opens up further new opportunities. The joint venture, VodafoneZiggo, will continue to operate both brands and provides customers with a more integrated range of telecommunications services, combining Ziggo’s cable with Vodafone’s mobile network. Ziggo now has a quad-play service to challenge the dominance of KPN.
Note to Editors
For more definitions of key terms, methodology and more stories, please consult the Brand Finance Netherlands 50 report document.
Brand values are reported in USD. For conversions into EUR, please consult the hover over the ‘i’ button on the web version of the table and select.