JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco has maintained its position as the Middle East’s most valuable brand, with the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 report valuing the Kingdom’s oil giant at $37.5 billion.
“Aramco is the hidden giant of the oil industry whose brand has finally emerged into the light of public attention. It has always been known as a b2b (business to business) brand but has aspirations to become a well-known consumer brand,” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) was the second-most valuable brand in the region, confirming the dominance of the oil sector, despite governments’ ambitions to diversify GCC economies away from a reliance on hydrocarbons.
While Aramco retained its number one spot — despite a 20 percent drop in brand value — according to the study, ADNOC has managed to successfully maintain its brand value during a challenging year, with only a 6 percent decline to $10.8 billion, making it the most resilient of all national oil companies in the rankings.
Haigh said: “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.”
Other Middle Eastern brands in the top 500 include Saudi telecom provider STC (189th and valued at $9.15 billion), the UAE’s Etisalat (208th and valued at $8.533 billion), Qatar National Bank (321st and valued at $6.107 billion), Dubai’s Emirates airline (421st and valued at $4.669 billion) and petrochemical firms SABIC (495th and valued at $4.017 billion).
Brand Finance analyzed around 5,000 of the biggest brands around the world. Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.
Globally, the most valuable brand in the world was deemed to be Apple, overtaking Amazon and Google to reclaim the title for the first time since 2016.
For the past five years under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple showed its growth strategies beyond the iPhone. Last year, the iconic smartphone accounted for half of sales, versus two-thirds in 2015. The diversification policy has seen the brand expand into digital and subscription services, such as the App Store, iCloud, Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Arcade.
Haigh commented: “Steve Jobs’ legacy continues to flow through Apple, with innovation built into the brand’s DNA. As Apple reclaims the title of the world’s most valuable brand from Amazon five years since it last held the top spot, we are witnessing it Think Different once again. From Mac to iPod, to iPhone, to iPad, to Apple Watch, to subscription services, to infinity and beyond.”
Apple’s successes saw its brand value soar an impressive 87 percent to $263.4 billion. The other brands in the global top five, after Apple, were Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.