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African firms fail to make world’s most valuable brands list

By , ITWeb's news editor.
Africa , 27 Jan 2022

MTN, Africa’s most valuable brand, still cannot make it into the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, which puts 5 000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries.

The world’s top 500 most valuable and strongest brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Global 500 ranking – now in its 16th year.

According to brand valuation consultancy firm Brand Finance, brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. It notes that brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

The consultancy firm yesterday published its Brand Finance Global 500 2022 report, which shows that African brands are still outside of the ranking.

Says the report: “There are still no African brands in the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking, as global brands continue to dominate on the continent.”

It notes that MTN is Africa’s most valuable brand at $4 billion – just over $600 million below the threshold of the top 500 ranking this year.

The Johannesburg-headquartered MTN is Africa’s biggest mobile operator. As of December 2020, MTN recorded 280 million subscribers, making it the eighth largest mobile network operator in the world, and the largest in Africa.

Active in over 20 countries, one-third of the company's revenue comes from Nigeria, where it holds about 35% market share.

“It is estimated that Africa will soon house a quarter of the world’s population, making it a lucrative location for global multinational brands,” comments Jeremy Sampson, MD of Brand Finance Africa.

“Within this context, no African brands feature in the ranking of the world’s 500 most valuable, as many local brands have been discontinued by global giants. However, South African telecoms giant MTN is currently performing very strongly and is well positioned for the future, so could be expected to move closer to being included in the ranking next year.”

Soaring media brands

Meanwhile, tripling in brand value over the past year, TikTok has been named the world’s fastest-growing brand.

Brand Finance notes that with an astounding 215% growth, the entertainment app’s brand value increased from $18.7 billion in 2021 to $59 billion this year. Claiming 18th spot among the world’s top 500 most valuable brands, TikTok is the highest new entrant to the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.

Says David Haigh, chairman and CEO of Brand Finance: “Media consumption has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but – what is more – the way we consume it has irrevocably changed.

“In order to compete in this evolving marketplace, media organisations have invested heavily in their brands – from content acquisition through to user experience. TikTok’s meteoric growth is the proof in the pudding – the brand has gone from relative obscurity to internationally renowned in just a few years and shows no signs of slowing down.”

Overall, Brand Finance says media brands account for the top three fastest-growing brands in the ranking – with another social media app Snapchat (brand value up 184% to $6.6 billion) and South Korean internet brand Kakao (up 161% to $4.7 billion) following closely behind TikTok.

Other notable performers from the media sector include those that offer streaming services, with Disney (up 11% to $57 billion), Netflix (up 18% $29.4 billion), YouTube (up 38% to $23.9 billion), and Spotify (up 13% to $6.3 billion) all seeing increases.

The consultancy firm points out that Apple holds on to top spot with a record valuation at $355.1 billion – the highest brand value ever recorded in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking.

According to the firm, Apple had a stellar 2021, highlighted by its achievement at the start of 2022 – being the first company to reach a $3 trillion market valuation.

It explains the tech giant’s success historically hinged on honing its core brand positioning, but its more recent growth can be attributed to its recognition that its brand can be applied effectively to a much broader range of services.

“Apple commands an amazing level of brand loyalty, largely thanks to its reputation for quality and innovation,” says Haigh.

“Decades of hard work put into perfecting the brand have seen Apple become a cultural phenomenon, which allows it to not only compete, but thrive in a huge number of markets. With rumours abounding of its foray into electric vehicles and virtual reality, it seems it is ready for a new leap.”

Giant tech winners

Brand Finance points out Amazon and Google also saw good levels of growth, both keeping their spots in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking behind Apple in second and third, respectively.

It adds that Amazon joined Apple in crossing the $300 billion brand value mark with a 38% increase to $350.3 billion, navigating global supply chain issues and a labour shortage in the process.

Google saw similar brand value growth of 38% to $263.4 billion, says the firm, noting the brand relies on advertising for the vast majority of its revenue, and was hurt at the start of the pandemic as advertising spend dropped due to uncertainty.

However, it explains, as the world adjusted to the new normal, and with people spending more and more time online, advertising budgets returned and Google’s business rebounded, resulting in a healthy uplift in brand value.

The tech sector is once again the most valuable in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, with a cumulative brand value of close to $1.3 trillion.

Technology and tech brands have become of ever-increasing importance in the modern world, a trend that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, says Brand Finance.

In total, 50 tech brands feature in the ranking; however, the brand value is largely attributable to three big players, with Apple, Microsoft (brand value $184.2 billion) and Samsung Group (brand value $107.3 billion) together accounting for more than 50% of the total brand value in the sector.

Closely behind them, Huawei managed to reclaim its place among the top 10 most valuable brands in the world, following 29% growth to $71.2 billion.

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