It isn’t as bad as many thought it might be. The total value of SA’s top 50 brands has fallen by just 2% in the past 12 months instead of the 15% previously forecast.

As the country grappled with the expected impact of the first hard lockdown in early 2020, brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance expected a cumulative loss of R65bn during the pandemic. But, says the company, resolve and resilience — attributes that arguably define SA culture — have meant the top 50 have recorded only an R8.8bn decrease from R471.3bn in 2020 to R462.4bn in 2021.

Brand Finance Africa MD Jeremy Sampson says: "While there may be a lack of appreciation for SA brands globally, SA companies should be celebrated. As a young, developing nation with enormously strong potential, but a troubled and complex past, it is increasingly important that leading brands are recognised as the nation’s ambassadors for their enduring contributions to the wider African economy."

Banking is SA’s most valuable sector, claiming 23% (R104.4bn) of the ranking’s overall brand value. Seven banks feature: FNB (R22.1bn); Standard Bank (R20.8bn); Absa (R20.5bn); Nedbank (R15bn); Investec (R14.9bn); Capitec (R7.3bn); and Rand Merchant Bank (R3.8bn).

In addition to brand value, the firm determines the relative strength of brands using a scorecard that includes marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance. On these criteria, Capitec is the strongest banking brand, with 89.2 out of 100.

The telecoms sector accounts for 18% (R81.3bn) of the ranking’s overall brand value, with five brands featured. MTN is the most valuable SA brand at just under R45bn, while Vodacom (down 6% to R28.4bn) continues to trail MTN, in second spot. Says Sampson: "For most, lockdown has increased our reliance on electronic devices to remain connected, and this will only accelerate with the introduction of 5G. MTN and Vodacom are perfectly placed for these developments. Smaller contenders will struggle and ultimately be squeezed out."

In the retail sector, total brand value rose 36% to R61.4bn, accounting for 13% of the ranking’s overall brand value, with eight brands featuring. Shoprite (up 11% to R12.9bn) is the most valuable retail brand this year and in 12th spot overall. Pick n Pay (up 5% to R8.2bn) is 23rd, Checkers (up 33% to R6.5bn) is 26th and Clicks (up 12% to R6bn) is ranked 29th.

The highest-ranked re-entering top 50 brand is KwaZulu-Natal-based Spar SA (brand value R11.3bn), claiming 16th position after an absence of two years.

Also re-entering the ranking after a two-year gap is Media24 Group (brand value R2.2bn), in 45th position.

Dis-Chem Pharmacies (brand value R1.6bn) has entered the ranking in 50th position. The company plans to roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab across 11 mass vaccination sites in five provinces. This, says the consultancy, could result in SA’s second-largest pharmacy retail chain expanding operations to 32 sites if there is strong demand — and might boost its brand value in the coming years.


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