MOBILE cellphone network MTN was on Thursday (today) named South Africa’s most valuable brand with a value of R37 billion, ahead of its cellular rival Vodacom and Sasol.
The brands are evaluated every year against thousands of the world’s top brands by Brand Finance, an international brand valuation and strategy consultancy, to determine which are the most powerful and the most valuable by country, by industry and against all other brands.
Announcing the Top 50 most valuable brands, Brand South Africa (Brand SA) said MTN remained the most valuable brand despite losing 32 percent of its brand value due to reputational damage suffered when it fell foul of the authorities in Nigeria last year and copping a US $1.7 billion fine.
MTN was initially fined $5.2 billion for failing to register 5.2 million subscribers’ SIM cards. After much wrangling, MTN agreed to pay a reduced fine of $1.67 billion to the Nigerian authorities.
Woolworths had an increase of 21 percent in brand value and stood at number five on the list.
Meanwhile, Telkom saw the greatest increase in brand value and improved performance on the retail side with good ratings on Value for Money and Customer Satisfaction, according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index.
Brand SA said the improved performance on the retail side combined with good marks on “Value for Money” and “Customer Satisfaction” ratings helped Telkom move from 23rd position last year to 17th this year.
“The top 10 brands are: MTN, Vodacom, Sasol, Standard Bank, Woolworths, FNB, Absa, Nedbank, Investec and Mediclinic,” Brand SA said.
Other brands that saw a significant increase in value included Investec and WesBank, at 27 percent respectively.
Two new brands entered the Top 50. Country Road, a clothing label now owned by Woolworths, entered at 31st place with a value of R4.64 billion. Growthpoint, a property management company, entered at number 50 with a value of R1.47 billion.
SABMiller held the most valuable portfolio, amounting to R29.67 billion with four of its brands standing amongst the country-s top 50 – Castle, Carling Black Label, Hansa Pilsner and SABMiller.
The total value of the Top 50 brands increased three percent from R373 billion to R384 billion.
Newly-appointed director of Brand Finance Africa, Jeremy Sampson, said the more competitive the market got, the more important it was to have a strong brand.
“Brands are increasingly the major assets of companies, yet does anyone have an idea of their true value? Marketing is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it can be the difference between success and failure,” Sampson said.
Brand SA chief executive, Kingsley Makhubela, said South African commercial brands were a key component of a strong nation brand.
Makhubela said commercial brands were key messengers in positioning the country competitively.
“At the same time, we express our appreciation to all other corporate brands in the country for your contribution to the growth and development of South Africa,” Makhubela said.
“We thank you for playing your part and look forward to honouring you amongst the Top 50 in years to come.”
Chairman of Brand Finance Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said the story of the Top 50 corporate brands was a good story for the South Africa Nation Brand as well as the continental story.
“Many of these brands have footprints on the continent and this bodes well for perceptions about business on the continent, their ethics, governance and commitment to social upliftment,” Ikalafeng said.
“Brand Finance salutes the Top 50 corporate brands for their excellence in flying the South Africa and African flags.”