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Nigeria is Africa’s Most Valuable Nation Brand

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Nigerian Independence

Nigeria has held its position as Africa’s most valuable nation brand, with a brand value of US$236 billion, according to the latest Brand Finance Nation Brands 2021 report. Despite the turmoil of the pandemic, Nigeria has recorded a 9% increase in brand value – ahead of the 7% average of the overall ranking – and climbed two spots to 38th to reach its highest ever position.

Africa’s largest economy suffered its deepest recession in four decades during the pandemic but has begun its return to growth thanks to the recovery of oil prices as well as the government’s timely fiscal policies to protect the economy. In response to the pandemic, the government also launched an online portal and app aimed at upskilling its population as part of its Digital Nigeria programme and plans to install solar panel equipment on five million households – providing power those not connected to the national grid.

Babatunde Odumeru, Managing Director, Brand Finance Nigeria, commented: “It is thrilling that Nigeria continues to grow its brand value and maintain its position as Africa’s most valuable nation brand. While these results are mainly driven by GDP considerations, we need to start developing a framework that would enable us to get to a place where intangible assets such as innovation and strong brands are what is impacting our GDP.

Total brand value of top 100 up 7%

The top 100 most valuable nation brands in the world have recorded a 7% increase in brand value since 2020, signalling that recovery is underway from the COVID-19 pandemic according to the latest Brand Finance Nation Brands 2021 report.

Although this is a positive sign, uncertainty still lingers and the recovery has not reached pre-pandemic levels yet. At US$90.8 trillion, this year’s total brand value of the top 100 ranking is 7% lower compared to 2019.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented: “Unlike previous economic crashes, recovery is uneven and is pinned on the combination of initial COVID-19 response strategies and a successful vaccination rollout. We are starting to turn a corner, as the world’s most valuable nation brands begin to return to pre-pandemic brand values. But results are varied, and it may take years for some to recoup lost brand value, creating even greater disparity between the most and least valuable nation brands.”

US & China lead the pack

There has been no movement in the top 10 this year, with each nation retaining its rank from last year. All the top 10 have recorded a modest uplift in brand value, however, in line with the global trend across the ranking.

The United States and China remain in a league of their own, claiming the first and second spot in the ranking, respectively. The US has recorded a 5% brand value increase to US$24.8 trillion in a year that has been marked by great political and economic change with President Joe Biden taking the helm. Similarly, China saw a 6% uptick in nation brand value to US$19.9 trillion. Both nations have celebrated economic recovery since the outbreak of the pandemic, contributing to their uplift in brand value. China’s economy was the first to recover – doing so at a meteoric pace – as the only nation to register positive GDP growth at the end of 2020 and growing at record pace in the first quarter of this year.

Many thought that relations would improve between the two superpowers under Biden’s leadership, following the turbulent Trump years, but this has not been the case thus far.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented: “The superpowers from the West and the East unsurprisingly dominate the Brand Finance Nation Brands ranking, with China remaining hot on the heels of long-standing leader, the US. With China’s recovery and economic rise showing no signs of slowing down, as growth hit a record high at the beginning of the year, no doubt the gap will continue to close in the coming years.”

Digital Estonia is world’s fastest-growing nation brand

Recording a 38% brand value growth from last year and outpacing modest increases across the ranking, Estonia is the world’s fastest-growing nation brand of 2021. The Baltic state had invested in digital infrastructure long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. Anyone around the world can apply for e-residency in Estonia, which allows them to run an EU-based company online, and a staggering 99% of the country’s governmental services are offered online.

The advanced digitisation of the country put it on the front foot during the pandemic. On the same day the government announced a state of emergency, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications launched an online hackathon to identify solutions to pandemic-induced problems, resulting in a chatbot to answer the public’s queries and the re-purposing of online platforms to match volunteers with those in need.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“Estonia is this year’s fastest-growing nation brand largely thanks to its world-class digital infrastructure. With some of the leading economies having their digital shortcomings highlighted during the pandemic, Estonia’s digital-first model should be one for others to follow.”

Myanmar and Ethiopia are fastest fallers

In stark contrast, Myanmar and Ethiopia are among the fastest-falling nation brands in the ranking. The unrest across the two countries has caused significant damage to their nation brand values, which have dropped 26% and 22%, respectively.

Brazil has also suffered a steep decline in brand value as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on its society and economy. The continent’s largest economy, Brazil has lost 12% of its brand value this year and dropped out of the top 20 in the Brand Finance Nation Brands 2021. Famous for its vibrant culture, lifestyle, and sports, Brazil is the highest-ranked South American nation in the ranking, but the combination of high COVID-19 cases and damage to the agriculture sector from severe droughts have caused substantial damage to the economy.

Switzerland is the world’s strongest nation brand

In addition to measuring nation brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of nation brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating brand investment, brand equity, and brand performance. The nation brand strength methodology includes the results of the Global Soft Power Index – the world’s most comprehensive research study on nation brand perceptions, surveying opinions of over 75,000 people based in more than 100 countries. According to these criteria, Switzerland is the world’s strongest nation brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 83.3 out of 100.

Switzerland’s BSI score has remained stable, while the nations around it saw theirs take a hit, resulting in Switzerland moving to the top spot for brand strength. According to Brand Finance’s research, the Alpine nation saw external perceptions slightly rise following its strong response to COVID-19. It used a mix of compulsory and non-compulsory measures during the pandemic to control the spread of the virus. For example, non-essential businesses had to close, but the government’s order to stay at home was only ever advisory – entrusting the people to make the decision for themselves.

This is reflective of Switzerland’s model of government, with the public allowed to voice their opinions on laws through frequent referenda – last year the population rejected a motion to end its freedom of movement agreement with the EU and voted to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“Small size is no barrier to occupying a solid position for nation brand strength and Switzerland securing the top spot this year is the perfect example. Switzerland has held firm whilst other nations have faltered over the course of the pandemic. The nation has recently been thrust under the spotlight, however, with the leak of the Pandora Papers, which could taint its reputation as Swiss financial advisers are scrutinised on the global stage.”

Germany slips to 5th

Last year’s strongest nation, Germany, has dropped down to 5th position in the brand strength ranking, following a 2.3 point drop in BSI to 82.6 out of 100. Despite garnering praise on the global stage for her strong and stable leadership spanning 16 years, Angela Merkel sees mixed results on home soil. Domestic perceptions are consistently less favourable across the metrics to their overseas counterparts, particularly in regard to the Global Soft Power Index Business & Trade and Influence pillars.

Australia and New Zealand move into top 10

Australia, up five places in the ranking to 6th, and New Zealand, up seven places to 10th, have both entered the top 10 for brand strength, with BSI scores of 81.3 and 80.2 respectively. The Australasian countries were deemed to have handled the early days of the pandemic extremely well. Both were lauded for their severe lockdowns and quick reaction to subsequent outbreaks, which resulted in minimal cases and allowed them to open back up internally considerably earlier than others.

At the time of our research, both scored well across our data points with internal and external perceptions of their handling of the pandemic. However, the vaccine rollout in both countries has lagged behind their global counterparts, which could hamper their BSI scores moving forward.

Breaking the Western monopoly

Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have broken the Western monopoly in the brand strength ranking, claiming 4th and 11th position respectively. Scoring particularly high for Global Soft Power Index pillars of Business & Trade and Governance, Singapore continues to prosper both in the Southeast Asian region as well as globally. The city-state – renowned for its high-quality and economically efficient healthcare – has already fully vaccinated 82% of the total population. Singapore is on the right path to achieve the government’s aim of a “whole new normal”.

The UAE has climbed three spots in the brand strength ranking following a 2.5-point increase in its BSI score to 79.1 out of 100. Overseas perceptions of the nation’s prowess in the Education & Science pillar are high, and the successful Emirates Mars Mission is clearly a factor. The UAE also stands out for its COVID-19 response, and scores high for the Influence and Business & Trade pillars, both of which should see a further boost from Expo 2020 inaugurated in Dubai this month. The UAE’s continued increases in brand strength and value are testament to the nation’s strategy of diversifying its economy for long-term growth.

COVID-19 hurts perceptions of world’s largest economies

At the same time, the UK, US, Japan, and France have all fallen out of the top 10 strongest nation brands ranking due to the perception of how they handled COVID-19.

The UK, falling from 2nd to 14th with a BSI score of 77.4, and France, falling from 9th to 16th with a score of 75.4, recorded average Global Soft Power Index scores for overseas perceptions of their handling of the pandemic, but perceptions domestically were particularly low.

Japan, falling from 7th to 15th with a score of 76.7, saw a similar story with the perception at home that the pandemic was mishandled. However, this is polarised when compared to their perception abroad, where it achieved some of the highest scores in the Global Soft Power Index research.

The US, dropping from 4th to 17th with a score of 75.1, saw poor scores at home and abroad, and was also one of the lowest ranked nations by the specialists.

Despite their brand strength taking a hit, these nations all still feature in an unchanged top 10 when ranked by nation brand value.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented: “It will be important for the world’s largest economies to focus on making up the ground they have lost in brand strength, in order to protect their brand value. The UK, US, Japan, and France have all scored poorly domestically for their handling of COVID and they need to rebuild this trust with their respective populations.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Brands

Hollandia Lactose Free Milk Raises Awareness on Lactose Intolerance

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Hollandia Lactose Free Milk

Since its introduction into the Nigerian market, Hollandia Lactose Free Milk has been at the forefront of educating consumers on the challenges of lactose sensitivity, striking at the heart of the leading cause of dairy wariness – Lactose Intolerance.

With the aim of creating a community of consumers making conscious decisions on lactose sensitivity, Hollandia Lactose Free Milk is driving conversations across multiple engagement platforms in a creative, simple and relatable manner, delivering key messages of a wholesome healthy experience.

The brand is creating awareness with advertisement on Out of Home platforms, as well as activities in the digital space educating consumers on the challenges of lactose intolerance, the benefits of milk and proffering solutions.

Only recently, the issue of Lactose Intolerance was one of the focal points of discussion during the Hollandia Dairy Day Conference in May.

A nutrition consultant and Speaker at the conference, Mrs. Amaka Nwaora stated that lactose intolerance is an impaired ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

She noted that while lactose intolerance is not dangerous, its symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea can be distressing.

Nwaora encouraged lactose sensitive consumers not to avoid milk because of its numerous health benefits but to explore lactose free milk like Hollandia Lactose Free Milk to eliminate this discomfort.

CHI Limited Marketing Director, Mrs. Toyin Nnodi, stated that the brand will continue to explore platforms to create awareness on lactose sensitivity and engage consumers with interest to take action.

“With a high number of lactose sensitive consumers, it is unusual that there are so few lactose free milk products to choose from, further highlighting the importance of Hollandia’s offering.Hollandia Lactose Free Milk, the only Ready-to-Drink (RTD) lactose free milk in Nigeria, is a 100% lactose free easy-to-digest milk which contains Calcium and essential Vitamin D for strong bones and teeth development.

“It is also a rich source of Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, and Protein, which support a healthier immune system. Hollandia Lactose Free Milk is a great tasting milk that is ideal for direct consumption, or use with beverages and milk-complementary meals.Many people avoid dairy because of lactose intolerance concerns. Our message is simple, Hollandia Lactose Free Milk offers a wholesome healthy experience without discomfort. You can safely choose Hollandia Lactose Free Milk and still enjoy all the taste and nutritious goodness of milk to meet your body’s need, ”she stated.

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Top African Brands Lose US$5.5 Billion in Brand Value in 2021

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The total value of Africa’s top 150 most valuable brands has declined by US$5.5 billion (12%) from US$45.5 billion in 2020 to US$40.0 billion in 2021, according to the latest Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 report

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a key role in the downturn in the brand value of Africa’s top brands. Lockdown measures and travel bans were implemented throughout the year and across the continent, creating uncertainty and impacting brands’ ability to do business as usual.

Jeremy Sampson, Managing Director, Brand Finance Africa, commented:

“In a year that saw most African countries go into lockdown and significant unrest across the continent, a decline in total brand value for the top African brands is unsurprising. Following the pandemic, African brands will need to search for opportunities to make up lost ground. By embracing new technologies and collaboration, the continent can propel its recovery and bounce back from the extraordinary situation the world has found itself in.”

Babatunde Odumeru, Managing Director, Brand Finance Nigeria, commented:

“Just 17 Nigerian brands feature in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 ranking and contribute 6% of the total brand value. As is the case with many brands across the continent, Nigeria’s top brands are not yet truly Pan-African, so although their performance may be solid on home soil, they are failing to translate this internationally. We are witnessing some brands make strides towards expanding their footprints, should they do so successfully we could see a greater uplift in brand value, as well as more Nigerian brands featuring in the ranking.”

17 Nigerian brands feature in ranking

Behind South Africa, Nigeria is the second most represented nation in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 ranking with 17 brands featuring and accounting for 6% of the total brand value. 33 Export (down 8% to US$292 million) is Nigeria’s most valuable brand, sitting in 43rd in the overall ranking. This brand value decrease is in line with the trend seen for alcohol brands across the continent and the rest of the world with people going out and drinking less because of the pandemic.

South African brands dominate once again, with the entire top ten hailing from the nation. In total, 81 South African brands feature with a cumulative brand value of US$29.0 billion, equating to 73% of the total brand value in the ranking – a 15% decrease from last year.

MTN and Vodacom lead the way, with First National Bank (brand value US$1.3 billion), Old Mutual (brand value US$1.3 billion) and Standard Bank (US$1.3 billion) completing the top five. In total, there are only 19 of the continent’s 54 countries with brand representation in the ranking.

Morocco is the third most represented nation in the ranking, with 10 brands featuring, which account for 6% of the total brand value. Claiming 13th spot is Maroc Telecom – the highest ranked brand from outside South Africa – jumping five spots following a modest 1% rise in brand value to US$761 million. The telecoms brand was able to capitalize on the increased reliability on its services over the previous year and a half, with both work and social lives forced to turn online, managing to increase its customer base, seeing an uptick of 10% in broadband users.

Access Bank is nation’s fastest growing

Access Bank is Nigeria’s fastest growing brand, following an 8% increase in brand value to US$262 million – growth that has bucked the global trend for the banking sector this year.

Access Bank has celebrated strong revenue growth over the previous year and has made some strides towards its expansion plans, through completing acquisitions across Zambia and Kenya. The bank shows no signs of slowing down with plans underway to enter the South African market through its investment in Grobank – a key part of the bank’s wider mission to become ‘Africa’s Gateway to the World’.

MTN peaks again

South Africa’s MTN has retained the title of Africa’s most valuable brand, despite recording a 19% drop in brand value to US$2.7 billion. The telecoms giant dominates on home soil too, this year holding onto its decade-long reign as South Africa’s most valuable brand, according to the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2021 report.

It has been a turbulent year for MTN, however, with the brand facing several scandals from its money mobile services been hacked in Uganda, to being accused of price discrimination practices alongside telecoms rival and second-ranked Vodacom (brand value down 16% to US$1.7 billion). MTN has also begun to scale down its operations, announcing its exit from the Middle East, in order to focus and build further across Africa.

Despite this, according to the Brand Finance Global Brand Equity Monitor, MTN is ranked 3rd among consumers for “Popularity with friends and family”, 4th for “Cool” and 4th for “Accessible anywhere and anytime”.

With the recent appointment of Ralph Mupita to the helm as CEO, as well as the successful launch of its 5G network across major South African cities, MTN will hope to use these developments as a springboard to capture some of its lost brand value moving forward.

Capitec Bank crowned Africa’s strongest brand

In addition to measuring 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. According to these criteria, Capitec Bank has overtaken Vodacom to be crowned Africa’s strongest brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.2 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.

According to the Brand Finance Global Brand Equity Monitor, Capitec is one of the five most reputable banking brands in the world. Reputation (and the main drivers of reputation) is highly correlated with brand consideration. Banks that outperform in reputation – by excelling in meeting customer needs – also outperform in brand consideration. Capitec scores extremely highly for both.

Surpassing the 15 million client mark in December 2020, Capitec has more customers than any other South African bank, all of whom benefit from its excellent customer service and personalised banking experience. The pandemic increased the number of online shoppers to more than ever before – the banking brand responded by launching a virtual banking card, making online transactions easier and safer for its customers.

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Microsoft Overtakes Apple to Become World’s Most Intangible Company

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Every year, the Brand Finance Global Intangible Finance Tracker (GIFT™) report ranks the world’s largest companies by intangible asset value.

This year’s number one company in terms of total estimated intangible value is Microsoft (US$1.90 trillion), which has jumped from 4th position in 2020 to overtake Apple (US$1.87 trillion), Saudi Aramco (US$1.64 trillion), and Amazon (US$1.47 trillion).

Microsoft Teams has become embedded into business life for global organisations, once again proving the value of Microsoft’s ability to innovate and roll-out at scale. Microsoft is investing heavily in its business suite solutions. Although Apple is the more valuable company by approximately $200 billion, Microsoft is estimated to have more intangible value with its portfolio of brands and business operations.

Intangible assets are identifiable, non-monetary assets without physical substance. Intangible assets can be grouped into three broad categories – rights (including leases, agreements, contracts), relationships (including a trained workforce), and intellectual property (including brands, patents, copyrights).

Intangible assets boom during COVID-19 pandemic

Over the past year in particular, global intangible asset value has grown faster than usual, and at $74 trillion it exceeds pre-pandemic levels by nearly a quarter, having increased 23% compared to $61 trillion in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated even further the importance of people, innovation, reputation, and brand for businesses all around the world. Intangible assets are now unequivocally a boardroom priority.

Increases through the pandemic were primarily fuelled by the growth of the world’s largest organisations which were resilient to investor uncertainty due to their scale and their focus on technologies which we continued to rely on through lockdowns. This year, growth has been driven by China and the USA, with several industries recovering from the downturn in 2020.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance Plc, commented: “In times of crisis, brands – especially those most valuable and strongest in their categories and markets – become a safe haven for capital. Like gold or fine art during past economic downturns, nowadays well-managed, innovative, and reputable brands are what the global economy turns to in the hour of need. There can be no better evidence for why brands matter than the role they have already played and will continue to play in the post-COVID recovery.”

Global intangible value grows by over 1000% in 25 years

25 years ago – when Brand Finance was established – global intangible assets were worth only an estimated $6 trillion, less than a tenth of the same value today. As of September 2021, global intangible assets are worth over $74 trillion. This is a 1145% growth over 25 years – approximately 11% per annum.

Annie Brown, Associate at Brand Finance, and author of the GIFT™ report, commented: “It is a pivotal moment in financial reporting for intangibles. Total estimated intangible value has grown by over 1000% in the past 25 years. At the same rate, total global intangible value could stand at over $1 quadrillion by 2050 (that is $1,000,000,000,000,000). As investors grapple with balancing various issues such as Climate Change and ESG over the coming years, it is essential that the data they need to understand these vast sums is readily available.”

Internally generated intangibles should be recognised in financial reports

The majority of intangible assets are not recognised, due to the limitations set by the financial reporting rules, which state that internally generated intangible assets such as brands cannot be disclosed in a company balance sheet.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance Plc, commented:

“Investors should not be deprived of this critical information. Intangible assets such as strong, valuable brands and innovative technology can be the differentiators that drive a $2 billion company to $2 trillion in 25 years – as witnessed with Apple. This information vacuum for investors is part of the reason why Brand Finance endeavours to estimate the extent of “undisclosed intangible value” in our GIFT™ study each year.”

To truly aid investors and provide them with useful information, we believe management should be allowed and required to:

  1. Identify the key intangibles of the entire business – both internally generated and acquired.
  2. Provide an opinion on the value of those intangibles in the notes to the financial statements.
  3. Provide an opinion of the overall business value at the reporting date, to help investors to understand whether or not their capital is allocated efficiently.

Kevin Prall, Technical Director, International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), commented: “Despite the importance of intangible assets to the capital markets, only a small percentage are recognised on balance sheets, typically via acquisition from a third-party transaction. The pandemic has further exacerbated the disparity between market values and book values for those industries most reliant on brands, technology, and human capital for value creation. The IVSC supports Brand Finance, and all others, that look to make progress on this most critical issue.”

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