UAE 25 2021

The annual report on the most valuable and strongest UAE brands

Brand Finance UAE 25 2021

ADNOC is UAE’s Most Valuable Brand Etisalat is UAE’s Strongest Brand Overtaking Emirates for First Time

  • ADNOC is UAE’s most valuable brand in Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 ranking, brand value US$10.8 billion
  • Etisalat overtakes Emirates to become UAE’s strongest brand for first time, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 87.4 out of 100
  • DP world is nation’s fastest growing brand, brand value up impressive 17% brand value growth to US$1.1 billion
  • Emirati banking brands record brand value losses as sector suffers amid pandemic turmoil

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) claims the title of the UAE’s most valuable brand, according to the latest report by Brand Finance – the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. ADNOC has managed to successfully shelter its brand value during an incredibly challenging year for its industry, with only a 6% brand value loss to US$10.8 billion, making it the most resilient of all National Oil Companies (NOC) globally. 

ADNOC’s transformation since 2016 has taken the brand from strength to strength. Under the astute leadership of Managing Director and Group CEO H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, ADNOC has evolved into a trusted global player with one brand and one strategic vision at its core. It has attracted some of the world’s leading institutional investors as partners across its business and has raised more than US$64 billion through such transactions since the start of its transformation. Due to ADNOC’s competitive advantage in cost and carbon efficiency per barrel of oil produced, it is a likely contender to be “the last barrel standing” in the ongoing transition to a low carbon economy.

ADNOC is actively investing in diversifying its portfolio beyond raw commodity exports with recently announced efforts in hydrogen, ammonia and other value-add Downstream products – part of the brand’s longstanding commitment to future proofing its economic contributions to the UAE and maintaining a legacy of environmental stewardship. To date, the Group has invested in a number of measures to reduce its carbon footprint, notably through a significant expansion of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technology across its business. ADNOC once again is set to raise the profile of Abu Dhabi and the GCC through the launch of the highly anticipated futures exchange for Murban crude.

Andrew Campbell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Middle East, commented:

“ADNOC has been the principal enabler of the UAE and Abu Dhabi success story since its inception just under 50 years ago. Since taking the helm, Managing Director and Group CEO H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has successfully transformed the company into a leaner, more efficient and internationally competitive energy producer. Today, ADNOC plays a critical role driving local industry growth, supporting Abu Dhabi’s soft power position globally and advancing the UAE’s sustainable economic development goals. ADNOC’s enduring brand strength reflects the strength of its reputation as an industry leader in both cost and carbon efficient oil production, a critical driver of innovation and technology in the UAE and a partner of choice for local and international investors.”

Etisalat overtakes Emirates as UAE’s strongest brand 

Apart from 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 50,000 respondents in nearly 30 countries and across more than 20 sectors. According to these criteria, Etisalat has been crowned the UAE’s strongest brand for the first time, overtaking Emirates, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 87.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating – the only brand in the MENA region to achieve this rating. This increase puts Etisalat among the top 25 brands globally for BSI.

Thanks to its strategy over the last few years and its recent achievement of becoming the fastest network on the planet, the brand was in a position to respond immediately to the 'new normal' of the pandemic, providing solutions and flexibility in a way that connected emotionally with consumers. Etisalat Group, the most valuable telecoms portfolio of brands in the region which has recently broken the US$11 billion mark, is turning its sights on transforming into a truly global player.

According to the Global Brand Equity Monitor research Etisalat has very strong brand equity in the UAE, ranking first on all of the key measures such as Consideration, Reputation and Quality.  Reinforcing its strong performance on functional attributes, Etisalat also connects with UAE residents emotionally far better than any direct competitor, with a significant lead on the ‘Closeness’ dimension.

David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“When COVID struck in 2020, Etisalat led from the front ensuring business continuity, robust e-governance, enablement of smart cities and remote learning, to help drive the digital future of the UAE. Staying relevant and enabling the nation with the fastest network on the planet, Etisalat has earned its place as the region’s Strongest Brand, ready to deliver on its ethos of Together Matters as the UAE welcomes the world at Expo 2021.”

Despite relinquishing the top spot, Emirates is still one of the UAE’s strongest brands (BSI score 80.5 out of 100), with genuinely global appeal. It is no surprise that its Reputation score (7.9/10) is the highest for airlines in its home market, but it’s all the more impressive that it holds this ranking in a number of other markets - including, Germany, Canada, India, UK - in a sector where local brands are often favoured.

DP World delivers 17% growth

DP World is the fastest growing brand in the Brand Finance UAE 25 2021 ranking,, up 17% to US$1.1 billion. The logistics giant recorded solid growth last year, as the brand celebrated strong performances in key markets including, India, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Egypt. Already operating an interconnected global network of 128 business units in 60 countries across six continents, DP World continues to set its sights on extending its global reach, with expansion plans underway at several of its terminals to increase capacity.

The container industry in general has showcased itself to be resilient to the pandemic turmoil, with the meteoric rise in e-commerce maintaining demand.

Banking brands take a hit

As with all banking brands globally, Emirati banks have struggled to maintain brand value as profits and interest rates take a hit. All the banks that feature in the ranking – aside from NBF (brand value up 2% to US$259 million) – have declined in brand value this year.

Leading the pack in the sector is Emirates NBD which sits in 4th position in the ranking. Following the sector trend, Emirates NBD has suffered a 10% brand value loss this year to US$3.7 billion. Unsurprisingly, the bank’s profits have taken a hit in 2020 driven by higher provisions. As the official banking partner of the Expo2020 – now rescheduled to commence in October – this will be the perfect opportunity to boost the brand’s profile globally as it helps to demonstrate the nation’s innovative culture.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (brand value down 10% to US$3.6 billion) and ADCB (down 19% to US$2.1 billion) are the UAE’s second and third most valuable banking brands, respectively. FAB is remaining focused on its long-term growth strategy, namely through accelerating its digital transformation journey and leveraging its leadership position in the UAE to grow its international presence.