Etisalat and Emirates named as most valuable brands in the Middle East

02 February 2018 3 min. read

The brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance has named multinational telecommunications operators Etisalat as the most valuable brand of the Middle East in its 2018 Global 500 index, beating out Emirates at a worth of $7.7 billion. 

In its annual Global 500 assessment of the most valuable brands across the globe, Brand Finance, which bills itself as the ‘world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy’, has ranked the Abu-Dhabi-based internet and communications providers Etisalat as the Middle East’s most valuable brand for the first time, moving up from 292nd to 217th place globally to usurp last year’s regional leader and fellow UAE entity Emirates, which fell 66 places to 329th overall.

The telco, which acts as an internet connectivity hub for other operators in the Middle East, has been previously named as the most powerful company in the UAE, and with a customer base of more than 167 million subscribers is considered the 14th largest mobile network operator globally. While the whole region is experiencing a rapid digital evolution, which is changing the way firms must approach business, the UAE itself, alongside Kuwait and Bahrain, already has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world at upwards of 90%.

Etisalat and Emirates named as most valuable brands in the Middle East

The Global 500 summary report describes Etisalat’s 40% increase in brand value as a result of the firm ‘cementing its place as a strategic enabler in the UAE’s digital transformation’, and further cites the company’s popular ‘Smiles’ loyalty scheme together with its user-friendly app and the rollout of its smart ‘Customer Experience Centres’ as the key drivers in its brand growth, as well as its renewed support for global football sponsorships and continued partnership with Manchester City FC. 

The managing director of Brand Finance Middle East, Andrew Campbell said in a statement that, “The UAE’s focus on digital innovation has helped support Etisalat brand’s success and paved the way for future growth ahead of Expo 2020. With its stated strategy of ‘Driving the Digital Future’, Etisalat has adapted to a new competitive marketplace dominated by the rise of tech giants.”

Elsewhere in the charts

While the ever-swelling tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and Facebook indeed dominate the pointy end of the global list of most valuable brands, taking the top five spots between them, in terms of brand strength, which feeds into brand value and is a measure of the ‘efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors’, the Big Four consulting powerhouse PwC was ranked the equal sixth strongest brand in the world – to place alongside Lego and just behind similar such crowd-pleasers as Ferrari and Disney at number one.

In respect to brand value, PwC, which has been present in the Middle East for over 40 years with 4,200 professionals currently operating in almost every local territory, achieved a global rank of 50, surpassing the likes of Honda, Intel, UPS, Siemens and Visa in its move up from 66th.

Fellow Big Four member Deloitte also put in a strong global showing, rising from 77th to 59th overall, while EY (84th) and Accenture (87th) also made the top 100 brands. The last of the Big Four quartet KPMG came in at 119, while the only other Middle Eastern firms outside of Etisalat and Emirates to feature on the Global 500 list were Saudi Telecom at 253rd, Qatar National Bank in 425th, and the Saudi chemical producer Sabic scraping in at 491st.