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With a combined brand worth of over R460 billion, South Africa’s top 50 brands demonstrate resolution and durability

During the pandemic, the top 50 most valuable South African brands were expected to lose about R65 billion in cumulative brand value.

However, the top 50 saws only a 2% reduction in total brand value from R471.3 billion in 2020 to R462.4 billion in 2021, owing to the resolve and perseverance that undoubtedly define South African society.

The extraordinary rebound has seen on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which returned to January 2020 levels after only 15 months, exemplifies this tenacity.

“While there may be a global lack of respect for South African brands, South African businesses should be lauded.

As a young, growing country with immense potential but a tumultuous and complex past, it is becoming increasingly crucial that major brands are acknowledged as the country’s ambassadors for their long-term contributions to the African economy,” said Brand Finance Africa, Managing Director, Jeremy Sampson.

Johannesburg, according to Brand Finance, is the country’s powerhouse.

With two of the top three sectors in the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2021 rating grouped around Gauteng, it’s difficult to disagree that Gauteng is leading the pack when it comes to defining the African economy’s strength.

Banking is the most valued industry in South Africa, accounting for 23% of the entire brand value.

First National Bank, Standard Bank, Absa, Nedbank, Investec, Capitec, and Rand Merchant Bank are the seven banking brands featured in the ranking.

While FNB is the most valuable banking brand in South Africa for the fourth year in a row, Capitec is one of the five most respected banking brands in the world, according to the Brand Finance Banking 500 survey, and is ranked 24th among the top 25 most valuable South African brands this year.

Brand Finance uses a balanced scorecard of measures to evaluate marketing spend, stakeholder equity, and business success in addition to estimating brand value. Capitec is the strongest banking brand in the country, according to these criteria, with a Brand Strength Index of 89.2 out of 100 and a matching AAA brand strength grade.

Absa also had favourable results after observing an improvement in brand strength and is projected to continue on an upward trend as it secures its footprint throughout the continent, pointing to an effective branding of their African businesses after Barclays exited.

MTN maintains its ten-year dominance

With five brands in the ranking, telecommunications contribute for 18 per cent of the overall brand value, including the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2021 ranking leader MTN, which continues its decade-long reign as the most valuable South African brand, backed by its presence in Africa and the Middle East.

While Vodacom remains in second place after MTN, the brand continues to lead in the South African market while progressively growing throughout Africa.

“Lockdown has increased our dependency on electronic gadgets to stay connected for the majority of us, and this trend will only continue with the arrival of 5G. MTN and Vodacom are well-positioned to benefit from these changes, but smaller competitors will struggle and eventually be pushed out. While there are few signs that digital transformation is faltering, South Africa’s challenge now is to bridge the socioeconomic divide and provide equitable access to all,” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.

The Western Cape is dominated by retail

Even though banking and telecommunications are South Africa’s two most valued sectors, both saw an 11 per cent drop in brand value year over year. In contrast, total brand value in retail – the country’s third most valuable industry – climbed by 36% to R61.4 billion in 2021, accounting for 13% of the entire brand value in the list, with eight brands featured.

Five of the eight are headquartered in the Western Cape, including Shoprite, the most valuable retail brand this year, making retail the province’s main sector. Other Western Cape-based brands include Pick n Pay in 23rd place, Checkers in 26th place, and Clicks.

Other Western Cape-based brands include Pick n Pay in 23rd place, Checkers in 26th place, Clicks in 29th place, and Pep Stores in 36th place.

The battle of the outfits

While the impact of COVID-19 on financial markets and the larger retail industry will be recalled, the year will also be recognized for stimulating extraordinary development in online sales, with both pure-play e-commerce firms and established merchants quickly extending their online operations.

Markham, which was previously ranked 84th in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 report, enters the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2021 rating for the first time, following a 44 per cent increase in brand value to R2.4 billion, making it the fastest-growing brand this year’s top 50 list.

Country Road, on the other hand, is the year’s fastest-falling brand, having dropped 39 per cent in value from R3.4 billion to R2.1 billion.

Popular names are making a comeback.

This year’s top 50 includes five new entries, two re-entering brands, and Sibanye Stillwater, the mining company and the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, making its Brand Finance debut.

Spar SA, situated in KwaZulu-Natal, is the highest-ranking re-entering top 50 brands, taking 16th place after a two-year hiatus. Media24 Group is also back in the top 50 after a two-year absence.

Dis-Chem Pharmacies has risen to 50th place in the rankings. Given their roles in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, both Clicks and Dis-Chem could see a boost in trade.

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