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Which Are The Most Valuable Brands In South Africa?

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2018-11-02
Despite South Africa's economic woes, the finance sector continues to prove its grit, with banks and insurance companies making up almost half the value in SA's Top 30 most valuable brands.

This is an exercise in optimism. South Africa has experienced some intense change this year. It hasn’t been easy, but healing never is. You have to put the work in. We’ve exposed corruption, state capture, political shenanigans and identified key failings in our economy.

We’ve got the AARTO Bill breathing down our necks, the National Health Insurance is looming, VAT has been put up for the first time in twenty years, the promise of land expropriation without compensation has citizens preparing for civil war and the fuel price continues to burden our wallets. This is just riffing, off the top of my head, and the rot runs much, much deeper.

We’ve gotten rid of Zuma, and though Ramaphosa’s ‘New Dawn’ is off to a rocky start, things may not be as bad as they seem. Change, naturally, breeds uncertainty, so it’s quite understandable that many people would look upon the current situation with horror before hastening for the first plane to Australia.

But, there is a silver lining. Our country continues to attract tourists from all over the world, despite a problematic crime rate. Foreign investors still seem keen on supporting many opportunities. We’ve adopted innovation and technology, and certainly, we still have one of the strongest, if not most promising economies in the world.

Over the last ten years, South Africa has enjoyed consistent growth in its public markets. Even though August brought with it the first reported recession since 2009, consumer confidence remains relatively unshaken.

This is evidenced by the fact that a brand’s success is directly determined by the consumer, and the faith we put into those companies.

This year, BrandZ has published its maiden list of the most valuable brands in South Africa. The report shows that the Top 30 SA Brands show more potential for global growth than their European or Chinese counterparts, despite the fact that they’ve enjoyed far less exposure to global markets.

The report ranks local companies by analysing financial data from Bloomberg and Kantar World, adding in the opinions of 17 300 South African consumers on a total of 506 brands across 35 categories.

Let’s take a closer look at the findings.

First, Which Brands Emerged Victorious?

Standard Bank was crowned the most valuable brand in the country, with a total value of $4.8 billion. Fellow banking group, First National Bank, was ranked second with a value of $3.7 billion. 

In Telecoms, Vodacom came in at $3.3 billion, beating out fifth place competitor MTN at $2.9 billion. 

Castle beer took fourth place, with a brand value of $3.2 billion, with closest category competitor Hansa coming in at fifteenth place with $1.1 billion.

Here are the top fifteen most valuable brands in South Africa, according to BrandZ:

These were followed by Cell C, Mr Price, DStv, Pick N Pay, Capitec, Netcare, South African Airwaves, Checkers, Life Health Care, MediClinic, Edgars, Santam, Clicks, Dis-Chem, and OUTsurance – completing the Top 30.  

Meaningfully Different

In order to qualify for the list, brands had to be originally created here in South Africa, and had to be owned by publicly traded enterprise – or at least have its financials published in the public domain.

As you can see from the list above, the Top 30 Brands – with a combined value of $42.6 billion – are incredibly diverse. The list covers banks, retail, telecom providers, insurance, beer, fast food, hospitals, entertainment and more. Most of these form part of the South African consumer’s daily conscience.

“The region is fast becoming a rewarding place to do business and the ranking flags the potential for brands to grow locally and globally. However, brands will need to work hard to stand out from competitors in a digital landscape in which offerings are increasingly homogenised,” said BrandZ.

The report goes on to state that the number one driving force behind brand equity is Meaningful Difference – differentiating itself from competitors on a functional, societal and emotional level.

Meaningfully Different brands, says the report, not only sell more – but can sustain a price premium over time. In turn, strong, profitable brands become meaningful to their consumers. They are seen as different, better than the competition, and spring to mind a lot faster than others.

In order to achieve full potential, then, the brand requires proper amplification of its Meaningful Difference. This involves developing the brand’s purpose, innovation, communication and brand experience. If a brand always delivers on its promises, consumers will grow to love it.

The healthier the brand, the higher the brand value, and Meaningfully Different brands grow five times more than brands that are not.

In South Africa, the top most Meaningfully Different brands are, in order: Woolworths, Dis-Chem, Nando’s, and Clicks.

Key Findings

One of the most obvious findings is that banks have absolutely dominated the Top 30 list in value, taking six slots – Standard, FNB, ABSA, Nedbank, Investec and Capitec – making up 34% of the Top 30’s overall value.

Finance, overall, made up 43% of the Top 30’s value, if you add Insurance (Discovery, Old Mutual, Santam and OUTsurance) to the value of the banks.

Telecom providers are also strong, with both Vodacom and MTN earning spots in the Top 5.

In terms of the number of brands in the Top 30, the retail category led with eight strong brands – Woolworths, Shoprite, Mr Price, Pick N Pay, Checkers, Edgars, Clicks and Dis-Chem – making it the third most valuable category.

The report also offers insight into other factors which could determine a brand’s value, such as creativity, disruption and trust. Though many of the brands featured in these lists didn’t make the Top 30 list, this gives us a good idea of their worth and what their strengths are.

In the Top Ten Most Creative Brands in South Africa, Netflorist emerged on top – and only Nando’s also appeared in the Top 30.

In the Top Ten Most Disruptive Brands in South Africa, Capitec emerged on top – joined by fellow Top 30 brands such as Nando’s, FNB, Dis-Chem, NetCare and Woolworths.

In the Top Ten Most Trusted Brands in South Africa, KOO emerged on top – with only Dis-Chem, Clicks and Pick N Pay making the Top 30.