Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Amazon has become the first brand in the history of the Brand Finance Global 500 rankings to exceed $2bn in value, making it the most valuable brand in the world for the third year running. Not a single African brand featured in the rankings.

That said, there is much potential on the continent and Africa’s presence is apparent in the rankings, albeit indirectly. Tencent, which is part-owned by Naspers, was ranked the 27th most valuable brand in the world, while Richemont, owned by SA entrepreneur Johann Rupert, is featured in the guise of its watch and jewellery brand, Cartier, which is positioned at 123.

According to Jeremy Sampson, MD of Brand Finance Africa, Africa has become known as the most “unbranded” continent for a reason. He says the landscape can be likened to Europe a century ago, where the mentality of brand custodians is commodity- instead of brand-focused. Africa, with its growing population of both brands and consumers, offers huge potential.

Dangote, a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, is the brand that has the most potential when it comes to what Africa has to offer, says Sampson. It is the largest producer of construction materials on the continent. Other African markets to look out for, he says, are Ethiopia and Egypt.

Hot on the heels of Amazon in the global brand value rankings are Google in second position, Apple in third, Microsoft in fourth and Samsung in fifth.

The big take-out:

While Africa has no brands featuring in the Brand Finance Global 500 rankings, the continent has a great deal of potential for future brand growth.

Amazon, as the world’s largest online retailer, has perhaps earned its position as the world’s most valuable brand through its ability to look to the future and to prime the business in that direction. While the bulk of its revenue comes from retail, it continues to invest in a diverse array of dynamic industries and technologies, as its recent entries into cloud computing, artificial intelligence, electronics, digital streaming and logistics show.

However, the threat of the brand remaining stagnant in the future is looming – towards the end of 2019, Nike announced that its merchandise would no longer be available on the Amazon platform and Amazon may have to accept that other big brands may follow.

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