Guinness (brand value up 4% to just above €2.2 billion) has recaptured the number one place on the ranking of the most valuable Irish brands in the world, according to the new Brand Finance Ireland 25 2022 report by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. Guinness has retaken the top spot after the Primark/Penneys brand value fell 10% to just below €2.2 billion.
Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. Ireland’s top 25 most valuable and strongest brands are included in a dedicated national ranking – the Brand Finance Ireland 25 2022.
With restrictions on social gatherings falling away as people look towards a post-COVID-19 future, sales of Guinness are returning to growth across these Isles and globally. The iconic Irish beer brand has built a brand based upon looking and tasting unique in an incredibly crowded marketplace globally – which has contributed to its brand strength.
It is likely that significant entertainment and travel expenditure was lost during the pandemic – but given the strong household balance sheets in Ireland and across Europe, it is reasonable to assume that a significant amount of such expenditure has merely been deferred. Central Bank figures show that Irish households now have aggregate wealth approaching €1 trillion, boosted this year by rising stock market values and housing wealth. This wealth is differentiated by generational cohort, with younger people suffering the effects of inflation while older and wealthier households own significant investments in assets less vulnerable to inflation such as housing and equity boosted by significant quantitative easing.
Some Guinness customers see drinking Guinness as an important part of their lifestyle. This is a testament to the extraordinary brand strength that Guinness has built. Such strength reflects their skill in navigating the challenges of COVID-19, the challenges of serving a changing customer base, and doing all this while honouring the brand legacy that they have built since 1759. The Guinness brand is in an excellent position as people get back to gathering, celebrating, and drinking.Simon Haigh, Agent for Brand Finance Ireland
In addition to calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Certified by ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from over 100,000 respondents in more than 35 countries and across nearly 30 sectors.
In addition to being the most valuable Irish brand, Guinness is also the strongest brand in the ranking with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 85.3 out of 100. The brand has sought to leverage its iconic history with innovative new ideas – such as its new MicroDraught which seeks to enable smaller bars to sell the Guinness stout without ordering whole kegs. Guinness is famous for imposing very specific pour and temperature requirements upon bars and restaurants as part of its effort to maintain a very high brand strength across the world.
Penneys has fallen from first to second position as the second most valuable Irish brand with their brand value falling 10% to just below €2.2 billion, only marginally behind the value of the Guinness brand. The discount clothing chain of stores lost value for the second consecutive year, a reflection of the difficult operating conditions for a retailer which is reluctant to offer online purchases.
Primark/Penneys is well known to its customers as affording very affordable clothing, and consequently operates on narrow margins as it seeks to efficiently minimise costs. This inherently requires significant economies of scale which are difficult to meet with individually sorted and delivered packages to customers using an online sales channel.
A trio of three big Irish construction and engineering brands are booming as the world looks to adjust to a post-COVID-19 world. Ardagh Group (brand value up 36% to €0.9 billion) was the second-fastest growing brand amongst the Top 25 most valuable Irish brands, with Kingspan (brand value up 33% to €1.3 billion) and Smurfit Kappa (brand value up 18% to €1.8 billion) each achieving strong brand value growth.
While consumer demands for improved sustainability are growing across the world, the brand value of these three business-to-business brands are increasing in conjunction with significant efforts to improve sustainability. Both Ardagh Group and Kingspan in particular are making substantial efforts to adjust their brands to be more focused on sustainability and delivering for their business customers - With the growth of ESG investing globally, this is likely to be driven by all of business customers, end-user demand, and investor feedback.
Ryanair (brand value up 26% to €2.1 billion) has returned to brand value growth this year, with brand value now back marginally above where it stood prior to the pandemic. The conclusion of COVID-19 travel restrictions is obviously a key driver in this brand value growth, with Ryanair likely to be the future beneficiary of significant pent-up demand. This is the same delayed consumption discussed above in the context of Guinness and COVID-19 restrictions: some consumption and travel was prevented by restrictions, but some was delayed to the future. As a result, this is projected to lead to significant brand value for Ryanair now and into the future as more people travel in coming months and years.