Brand Finance report: Aramco named Middle East’s most valuable B2B brand

Brand Finance report: Aramco named Middle East’s most valuable B2B brand
Published: 22 January 2020 - 5 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Defending its position as the world’s most valuable brand for the third consecutive year, Amazon has broken the so far unattainable $200bn brand value mark, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Following 18% growth from $187.9bn last year, Amazon’s brand value has now reached $220.8bn, over $60bn more than Google’s and $80bn more than Apple’s.

The world’s largest online marketplace, Amazon has also branched out into cloud computing, artificial intelligence, consumer electronics, digital streaming, logistics, and is looking to enter other industries. With a diverse product and service portfolio, and thanks to continued investment in fast-growing sectors and innovative technologies, Amazon is not only the leader of today, but also seems primed for tomorrow.

Nevertheless, the majority of Amazon’s revenue still comes from retail, and challenges to the growth of the company’s core operations may result in brand value stagnation in the future. In November 2019, it was announced that Nike would no longer be selling its merchandise on the platform, to develop its own direct sales channels.

Amazon may have to contend with other big brands following Nike’s lead, which would undermine its reputation as the ‘Everything Store’. Another potential sticking point is the future of Amazon’s international business. From environmentalist opposition in Europe, to backlash from local retailers in India, to saturation of China’s e-commerce market by Alibaba and its subsidiaries – matching globally the status that Amazon enjoys in the US, may prove difficult.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented: “The disrupter of the entire retail ecosystem, the brand that boasts the highest brand value ever, Amazon continues to impress across imperishable consumer truths: value, convenience, and choice. Today, Amazon’s situation seems more than comfortable, but what will the roaring twenties hold in store?”

Saudi Aramco strikes oil
With a brand value of $46.8 billion, Saudi Aramco is the most valuable among the 44 new entrants in the ranking. The publication of the Saudi Arabian oil and gas company’s financials at the time of the IPO allowed for its brand to be included in Brand Finance’s annual study for the first time. Placing 24th globally, Saudi Aramco also claims the title of the most valuable brand in the Middle East and Africa.

The IPO has proven to be successful for the brand as Saudi Aramco raised $25.6bn, making it the largest ever to date. Even after navigating through recent attacks on two of its oil processing sites, it is now the world’s most valuable listed company, comfortably ahead of tech titans Apple and Microsoft.

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. The company must now focus on developing international perceptions of the brand in order to open it up further for partnerships and investment.

Etisalat most valuable B2C brand for 3rd year in a row
While Saudi Aramco is the most valuable B2B brand in the region, Emirati telecoms giant, Etisalat remains the most valuable B2C brand in the Middle East and Africa for the third consecutive year. 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.

As the premier digital and telecommunications partner of the upcoming Expo2020 in Dubai this October, all eyes will be on Etisalat as it prepares to excite the Expo’s expected 25 million visitors with a seamless 5G connectivity that brings the event’s themes to life. 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. Demonstrating a consistent performance over the years, Etisalat retains its titles as the most valuable as well as strongest telecoms brand in the region.

ADNOC smashes $10bn barrier
As the Middle East’s fastest growing brand, ADNOC is the first UAE brand to achieve a brand valuation of more than $10bn, 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, and continue to have a positive impact on the Abu Dhabi economy for generations to come.

Haigh added: “The Middle East, and in particular the Gulf region, is home to more and more world-class brands, as we have observed these powerhouses making their way up our rankings since Brand Finance undertook its first Global 500 study back in 2007.”

The leadership of these brands are to be commended, especially since both ADNOC and Saudi Aramco’s CEOs are new entrants to our Brand Guardianship Index study of the world’s top 100 CEOs. Etisalat’s role as the official Telecommunication and Digital Services Partner to the upcoming Expo2020 in the UAE is to be commended alongside its recent rollout of the fastest and most robust 5G network in the region.”

Ferrari in pole position again
For the second year in a row, Ferrari, the iconic Italian luxury sports car manufacturer, has retained its position as the world’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 94.1 out of 100. Brand Finance determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Ferrari is the strongest of only 12 brands in the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 ranking to have been awarded the highest AAA+ rating.

Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. As Ferrari’s brand strength maintained its rating, its brand value grew, improving 9% to $9.1bn. Ferrari announced five new models in 2019 and established a manufacturing agreement with the Giorgio Armani Group to help push Ferrari collections into a more premium space. For years, Ferrari has utilised merchandise to support brand awareness and diversify revenue streams, and are now taking steps to preserve the exclusivity of the brand.

“The embodiment of luxury, Ferrari continues to be admired and desired around the world, and its outstanding brand strength reflects this. It is no wonder that many consumers, who might never own a Ferrari car, want a bag, or a watch emblazoned with the Prancing Horse, but it is also crucial that the company management remain at the steering wheel of the brand’s future and maintain its exclusive positioning by monitoring the licensing output closely.”

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