Oil and gas giant Aramco has once again been crowned the Middle East’s, and therefore also Saudi Arabia’s, most valuable brand, according to the latest report by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.
Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across many sectors and countries. The Middle East’s 150 most valuable and strongest brands are included in a dedicated regional ranking – the Brand Finance Middle East 150 2022.
This year, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company saw its brand value increase by 16% to US$43.6 billion, which sees the brand account for almost as much value as the next five most valuable brands combined in the Brand Finance Middle East 150 2022 ranking. Following a difficult period for the oil and gas sector at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, oil prices rebounded in 2021, buoyed by the natural gas crisis that saw businesses turn to crude products.
The increase in demand saw Aramco’s third-quarter profits more than triple year-on-year, helping push its market valuation to US$2 trillion. In a sign of confidence and ambition for continued growth, Aramco announced plans to increase its production capacity from 12 million barrels a day to 13 million by 2027. The company has continued to invest heavily in its brand to support growth in both core and growth businesses through a global campaign as well as investments in sports – from Formula 1 to golf.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has retained its position as UAE’s most valuable brand and second most valuable brand in the Middle East region with its brand value increasing 19% to US$12.8 billion. ADNOC’s impressive performance was also reflected in being ranked 159th in the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.
With an eye on the future, and in line with the UAE leadership’s 2050 net zero strategy, ADNOC is also embracing the energy transition through several strategic initiatives including its global clean energy joint venture with TAQA and Mubadala on renewable energy and green hydrogen.
QNB has retained the title of Qatar’s most valuable and strongest brand, with a healthy brand value growth of 16% to reach US$7.1 billion, QNB’s impressive performance was also reflected in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, where it moved up to 45th. The brand’s growth outpaced the top 50 banking brands in the world, as it consolidated its position as the most valuable banking brand across the Middle East.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, QNB continued to provide high level service to its customers alongside investing heavily into the development of the brand’s digital offering. This focus has allowed QNB to continue delivering successful campaigns, products, and services and build a strong portfolio which will prime the brand for future growth opportunities and international exposure.
QNB’s growth reflects the hard work put behind the brand and business over the last few years. The brand has acted as a unifying force across its operations, which have benefitted from the significant investment in digital services for retail and corporate clients and has helped consolidate QNB’s position as the most valuable brand in the Middle East.Andrew Campbell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Middle East
Ma’aden has retained the position of the most valuable mining, metals & minerals brand in both Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, and with a 69% brand value increase to US$503 million, it is the fastest-growing brand in the Middle East of 2022. This year’s growth was driven by a record year for sales in 2021 for Ma’aden, which saw a 44% year-on-year increase. The brand has become the third pillar of Saudi industry, behind oil and petrochemicals, and its growth has seen it named among the top 20 largest global mining companies by market capitalisation.
KPC, the Kuwait Petroleum Company, is the most valuable Kuwaiti brand of 2022, and ninth in the Middle East, with its brand valued for the first time at US$4.0 billion. KPC maintained a valuable brand through the pandemic, despite the significant reduction in oil demand during the second half of 2020 and much of 2021. Prior to the pandemic, KPC had long-term plans to increase production from around 2.5 million barrels per day to 4.75 million barrels per day by 2040. Revised targets of 4 million barrels per day by 2040 will ensure that the company continues to operate a very strong brand in the global oil market.
KPC’s brand architecture is hybrid in nature while its peers in the region and internationally have moved to a branded house approach to build a strong global brand to appeal to their unique set of stakeholders as key enablers of the global transition to renewable energy in the medium to long term while delivering optimal value to their shareholders.
The other KPC owned brands that feature in the analysis are KOC (20th), KNPC (38th), KUFPEC (88th), Q8, KGOC, KPPC, Kafco, PIC, KOTC, and KARO. As part of KPC’s long standing strategy to exploit the most value for its hydrocarbon resources it is building the largest refinery in the Middle East (Al Zour refinery) to be managed by KIPIC and has built a leading European petroleum refining and marketing brand in Europe, Q8.
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.
According to these criteria, Etisalat (brand value up 18% to US$10.1 billion) is the Middle East’s strongest brand, and the strongest brand in the Telecommunications sector globally with a brand strength score of 89.2 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA rating. Expo 2020 offered Etisalat the platform to demonstrate itself as a strategic enabler of the UAE's digital transformation. Etisalat’s focus on enhancing customer experience and living the ethos of “Together Matters” helped the brand to increase its BSI score by 1.8 points, breaking into the top 20 strongest brands globally, claiming 18th place.
Etisalat has subsequently released a new brand strategy related to the launch of broader group identity under the name e&. The group now faces the challenge of transferring equity to the new brand over the course of 2022.
Etisalat’s brand strength is driven by product innovation and delivering on customer needs. Delivering the fastest mobile network in the world is a massive achievement by Etisalat, and their core stakeholders recognize the brand’s ability to deliver impressive performance.David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance