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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — The world’s biggest companies are set to lose up to $1tn in brand value as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, with the aviation sector being the most affected, according to the latest analysis by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
Brand Finance has assessed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, as at March 18, 2020, compared to what it was on Jan. 1, 2020. Based on this impact on enterprise value, Brand Finance estimated the likely impact on brand value for each sector.
Each sector has been classified into 3 categories based on the severity of enterprise value loss observed for the sector in the period between Jan. 1 and March 18.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented: "The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on global markets is very real. Worldwide, brands across every sector are braced for the Coronavirus to massively affect their business activities, supply chain and revenues in a way that eclipses the 2003 SARS outbreak.”
“Now is the ideal moment for Saudi Arabia’s brands to remain ever present in their stakeholders’ minds, engage across digital channels and show resilience and adaptability in these unprecedented times,” he added.
Banking brands dominate KSA 50
Brand Finance released the KSA 50 report on Saudi Arabia’s top 50 most valuable and strongest brands. Among the top 50, there are 12 Saudi Arabian banks, symbolizing the strength of the country’s banking brand presence.
Al-Rajhi Bank (up 20% to $3.5 billion) leads the pack, with NCB (up 5% to $2.6 billion) and Riyad Bank (up 12% to $1.1 billion) as the Kingdom’s third most valuable banking brand.
Riyad Bank’s new CEO Tariq Al-Sadhan is overseeing the brand’s 2020 transformation strategy and taking the bank into a digital future ahead of Vision 2030.
The bank’s pioneering efforts in the digital banking space are to be commended, as it was the first bank in Saudi Arabia to launch contactless cards, activate an Apple Pay offering and roll out an innovative wristband payment system for wearable transactions.
Saudi Aramco top of table
Since its IPO last year, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco are a new entrant at the top of the table with a brand value of $46.8 billion, claiming the title of the Middle East’s most valuable brand.
Saudi Aramco is focused on leveraging its strength in upstream, while growing its downstream operations through acquisitions, both in Saudi Arabia and key global markets.
In order to clinch the title of the world’s most valuable oil and gas brand from rival Shell, Saudi Aramco must now focus on developing international perceptions of the brand in order to open it up further for partnerships and investment.
STC and SABIC retain leading titles
Telecoms brand STC (up 13% to $8.0 billion) is now Saudi Arabia’s second most valuable brand, with chemicals giant SABIC (up 9% to $4.3 billion) in third rank.
STC recently launched its new unified brand identity to boost its role as a leading digital enabler in the region. The brand is highly regarded for its My STC app, which provides users with access to all services including ordering devices and SIM cards.
Saudi Arabia’s third most valuable brand SABIC launched its first-ever global brand advertising campaign in a strategic effort to raise the company’s awareness, understanding, and engagement with global influencers as a part of its 2025 ambitions.
Its growth reflects the growing positive perception of SABIC and its purpose of delivering Chemistry That Matters for its customers and other stakeholders.
Mobily breaks into top 10
Telecoms brand Mobily (up 31% to $1.1 billion) has broken into the top 10 most valuable Saudi Arabian brands for the first time and is also the fastest growing brand among the top 10.
STC’s unification of the brand across Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia through STC Pay and its OTT platform, “Jawwy TV” has seen a great impact in positioning the brand as a regional player.
STC also recently became the region’s first to offer Instagram shopping to its customers. In a pioneering move, which allows users to purchase everything from mobile subscriptions to the latest devices and accessories via social feeds, the brand has seen its online followership grow to over 500k on Instagram.
Brand Finance CEO Haigh commented: “The harsh reality is that many Saudi Arabian brands may not make their 2020 targets due to the challenges presented by the Coronavirus outbreak. This is why having a strong brand is now more crucial than ever, as it is this resilience which will truly help to weather the storm and bounce back from this crisis.”
Al-Rajhi is strongest brand in KSA
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.
According to these criteria, Al-Rajhi Bank is Saudi Arabia’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 84.7 out of 100. The brand is the Kingdom’s biggest Islamic lender and has been boosting its mortgage lending as more affordable housing comes on the market, which has promoted a positive brand sentiment especially amongst first time buyers.
KSA brands to watch
In the KSA 50 report, there are a number of Saudi brands representing a variety of sectors which have been identified as “ones to watch”.
Among the fastest growing brands are food brands Alyoum (up 61% to $286m) and Afia (up 37% to $164m), leisure brand Fitness Time (up 58% to $172m) and logistics brand Aldrees (up 51% to $199m). — SG
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