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Revealed – the Middle East’s Most Valuable Brands

26-Apr-2018 | Source : Brand Finance | Visits : 5374
LONDON - The UAE is home to 6 of the region’s top 10 brands and 42% of the total brand value in the Brand Finance Middle East 50 league table, more than any other country. According to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy, Etisalat (up 40% to US$7.7 billion) is now the Middle East’s most valuable brand, ahead of STC (up 7% to US$6.7 billion), and Emirates (down 12% to US$5.3 billion), according to Brand Finance.
Emaar Properties build on construction success
Emaar Properties have scaled new heights to enter the top 10 for the first time, recording a 39% increase in brand value to US$2.7 billion this year. This success comes after the announcement from Dubai’s ruler, stating that property developers Emaar and Aldar are partnering to launch local and international projects worth US$8.3 billion. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also Prime Minister and Vice-President of the UAE, announced on Twitter that the state-linked developers will co-develop the Emaar Beach Front in Dubai and Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.
Andrew Campbell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Middle East, commented:
“The strategic partnership between Aldar and Emaar strengthens prospects for the UAE’s real estate sector as well as delivering a real boost for the investment community as we inch closer towards Expo 2020. It is a real testament to the region’s economic growth that we are seeing more world class brands emerging from the UAE.”
Emirates NBD and FAB eye Saudi growth
Dubai’s Emirates NBD still sits firmly as the UAE’s most valuable banking brand, with brand value up 4% from last year to US$3.5 billion. Emirates NBD, the biggest bank in Dubai by assets, has expanded its influence through a strategic digital and regional expansion. With the recent opening of its first branch in Saudi Arabia’s commercial hub, Jeddah, the lender also has plans underway for further expansion in Saudi Arabia, making it Emirates NBD’s biggest branch network outside of the UAE and Egypt.
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) are new entrants to the rankings, at number 8, with a brand value of US$3.1 billion. FAB was created through the merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, and has just completed its first year of operations following a channel rebrand across all customer and digital touch-points. The bank is also eyeing up an expansion into Saudi Arabia, after recently receiving approvals from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and Capital Markets Authority.
Logistics giant DP World rising through ranks
Seeing a significant 31% increase to its brand value since last year, Dubai-based port operator DP World has risen from 31st rank in 2017 to occupy 26th spot in the Brand Finance Middle East 50 2018. The leading enabler of global trade, which is also one of the world’s largest terminal operators, saw its brand value grow to US$0.9 billion. DP World’s growth can be attributed to latest acquisitions in India and Peru, which significantly expand the brand’s footprint.
Rollercoaster year for Dubai Parks & Resorts
Having almost completed its first full year of operations, Dubai Parks and Resorts is a new entrant to the Brand Finance Middle East 50 ranking, with a brand value of US$0.3 billion. Featuring more than 100 indoor and outdoor rides and attractions across Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, Legoland Dubai, and Legoland Water Park, the brand has attracted record visitor numbers from GCC residents and tourists alike, whilst continuing its wide-scale marketing campaign across the region.
The brand's family-friendly concept has also helped boost higher occupancy rates at the Polynesian-themed Lapita Hotel resort situated in the heart of Dubai Parks and Resorts. Building on this success, the brand has announced that construction of its fifth theme park, Six Flags Dubai, and the region’s first Legoland Hotel are progressing according to plan and due to open in 2019. Dubai Parks and Resorts is the sole representative from the leisure and tourism industry to feature in the Brand Finance Middle East 50 2018.
Etisalat is most valuable Middle Eastern brand
Etisalat has been named the Middle East’s most valuable brand for the first time. The Abu Dhabi-based operator has turned the dial up with a 40% increase to its brand value, cementing its place as a Strategic Enabler in the UAE’s digital transformation. The key growth drivers behind Etisalat’s US$7.7 billion brand value include the brand’s innovative customer service-driven strategy, its leadership position on the 5G revolution, and successful launches of global brand-building initiatives. 
Emirates First in Middle East despite macro challenges
With direct flights undermining the hub-and-spoke model favored by Middle Eastern airlines, and due to broader geopolitical issues, the two largest airline brands in the region decreased in value. Emirates Airlines (down 12% to US$5.3 billion) is ranked 3rd in the Middle East, and Abu-Dhabi based Etihad Airways (down 11% to US$1.4 billion) is 20th. Despite the turbulence, Emirates have defended the title of the region’s strongest brand as they remain a firm favorite among their loyal passenger base.
The 25 most valuable Saudi brands have been announced today in the first ever Brand Finance Saudi Arabia 25 league table. Set against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals and the Saudi market’s growing interest in brands, Brand Finance has complemented its wider Middle East report with a Saudi-specific publication for the first time. Brand Finance Saudi Arabia 25 ranks petrochemicals giant SABIC as the fastest-growing brand in the country and STC as the most valuable.
In the wider Brand Finance Middle East 50 report, Saudi Arabian brands feature more prominently than in previous years, with 21 brands represented in 2018, up from 18 brands in 2017. The overall brand value represented by Saudi Arabian brands swelled by 3%, up from 31% in 2017 to 34% in 2018.
Andrew Campbell, Managing Director of Brand Finance Middle East, commented:
“All 25 of these top-ranking Saudi Arabian brands are playing crucial roles working towards realizing Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and National Transformation Plan. The rankings are also a testament to the Saudi government’s US$19.0 billion stimulus package aimed at empowering the private sector and bringing in more commercial global standards into government entities.”
STC charge towards Vision 2030
Top of the inaugural Brand Finance Saudi Arabia 25 report is STC, valued at US$6.7 billion. The Riyadh-based telecom operator has turned the dial up with a 7% increase to its brand value, cementing its place as a key contributor towards Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
Alongside its 5G rollout plans, STC’s new digital transformation strategy includes investment in digital media content and advertising services, creating opportunities outside of its core business. STC is firmly focused on introducing and investing in the latest digital technologies such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, Internet of Things, data analytics and digital identity; positioning itself as a regional leader in the technologies of the new economy.
STC’s results prove reassuring, particularly amidst speculation that Saudi Arabia’s telecom sector’s profitability will be hurt this year by reforms being undertaken across the Kingdom and changes in policies of the Communications and Information Technology Commission.
Petrochemicals giant SABIC is Saudi’s fastest growing brand
Saudi Arabia’s fastest growing brand, displaying a whopping 78% brand value growth since last year is petrochemicals manufacturer SABIC. Contributing to this notable increase in brand value to US$3.7 billion are SABIC’s renewed efforts to capitalize on the US shale boom by growing its business in America. Having recently announced plans for a new head office in Houston, Texas, SABIC is a major supplier of polyethylene and other commodity resins across the Western Hemisphere. SABIC has designated the United States as a focus of its future growth plans as fracking and horizontal drilling in shale formations have unearthed cheap US natural gas that made the country among the most profitable places to produce chemicals, even trumping the Middle East in attracting projects.
Saudi banks dominate rankings
Of the 25 Saudi Arabian brands valued in the ranking, 11 (44%) are banking brands, with Al Rajhi Bank taking the top rank (up 22% to US$2.6 billion). Al Rajhi Bank is the largest Islamic Bank in the world by total assets and one of the largest financial institutions in the region in terms of customer base, network, and number of transactions. Other banks in the top 10 showing robust performance include National Commercial Bank (up 16% to US$2.3 billion), Samba Financial Group (up 14% to US$1.0 billion), and Saudi British Bank (up 3% to US$0.8 billion). The dominant position of the banking sector can be attributed to consistent efforts by Saudi banks to manage operating costs effectively alongside a committed drive towards investing in digital strategies.
Saudia soars to new heights
Amongst otherwise turbulent times for Gulf carriers and the airline industry as whole, there are positive signs coming from Saudia which has grown its brand value 30% since last year to US$0.9 billion. The Kingdom’s national carrier currently flies to 89 destinations across four continents and operates a fleet of narrow-body and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The airline has just announced new seasonal services for the upcoming summer period with flights to Malaga, Spain starting 9 June and a daily service to Izmir, Turkey launching from 8 June.
Saudi Electricity Company powers up brand strength score
Of all 25 Saudi Arabian brands, Saudi Electricity Company holds the highest Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 82.4 out of 100. In a landmark move towards full digitalization at the beginning of the year, the utility brand introduced electronic bills instead of paper-based bills for all of its customers. Multiple efforts have also been made in the community awareness sphere as the brand rolled out a highly successful national campaign on electrical safety.
QNB is Middle East’s most valuable bank brand
QNB, the Middle East’s most valuable bank brand and Qatar’s most valuable brand, is up 11% from last year, with a brand value of US$4.2 billion. QNB, the largest bank by assets in the Middle East and Africa, is active in Egypt and Turkey, and is keen to expand into faster-growing Southeast Asian markets; having made forays into Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Indonesia and China. 

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