Business Maverick


MTN rated South Africa’s most valuable brand — yet again

MTN rated South Africa’s most valuable brand — yet again
A logo at the MTN Group headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 30 Match 2023. (Photo: Guillem Sartorio / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

That makes it the 12th time in 13 years, but the telecoms giant might want to start looking over its shoulder — its rival Vodacom is right behind it, according to Brand Finance South Africa’s top 100 ranking for 2023.

MTN might be South Africa’s most valuable brand — valued at R74.3-billion — but competition is hotting up in this space, as its runner-up is also a network provider and it’s beating MTN in a number of key metrics, according to the latest Brand Finance South Africa 100 report for 2023. 

Every year, the independent brand evaluation and strategy company puts 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands to the test, and then publishes more than 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 100 most valuable and strongest South African brands are included in the annual Brand Finance SA ranking.

In this latest report, Vodacom, worth R39.8-billion, is shown to have gained 33% in brand value, and while it is not as valuable as MTN (which gained 24% in brand value), it is outperforming it in a number of key metrics that reflect its customers are more satisfied, judging by brand consideration, usage, reputation, quality and customer service. 

A large part of that is likely thanks to Vodacom’s ambitious roll-out of 5G sites in the country. In the 2022/23 financial year, Vodacom had earmarked a R10.5-billion investment to boost its network, which included modernising its radio network modernisation, expanding 4G and 5G capacity and coverage, and greatly improving the broadband connectivity experience thanks to better coverage with faster download speeds. 

MTN has the highest sustainability perceptions value, while Woolworths SA tops the ranking for sustainability perceptions score. 

Banking, the most valuable sector, is up 28% in aggregate brand value.

Spar SA is the fastest-growing South African brand, up 48%.

MTN has been ranked as South Africa’s most valuable brand for the 12th time in the past 13 years. The mobile giant’s brand value, up 50% from its pre-pandemic levels, has continued to grow in 2023, despite tough operating conditions and the complex geopolitical environment, the report notes. 

Brand Finance’s Jeremy Sampson, MD for Africa, noted that it was invariably the case that when economic conditions are particularly challenging, “strong brands show off their pedigree”. 

“As the world economy and South Africa recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic the brands that have continued to invest in their future are prospering.”

The report showed that a strong post-pandemic recovery set SA’s banking brands up for impressive brand value growth last year. The sector now accounts for five brands in the top 10 of the ranking and is also the most valuable sector in the SA 100 2023 ranking, making up 24% of the total brand value. The 11 banking brands included in the ranking had a combined value of R146.5-billion — R25-billion more than the next most valuable sector, telecoms (six brands included in the ranking had a combined brand value of R121.5-billion). 

Standard Bank (brand value up 27% to R29.7-billion) is the third-most valuable SA brand, making it the country’s most valuable banking brand for the second consecutive year. 

The bank’s 27% year-on-year growth has further widened the gap with FNB (brand value up 12% to R26.1-billion) and Absa (up 19% to R25.3-billion), which sit in fourth and fifth in the ranking. Investec (up 15% to R16.8-billion) has risen three places and is now in the ranking’s top 10. 

Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands by scoring marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance. 

Pick n Pay is the strongest brand (brand value up 30% to R13.5-billion) with a Brand Strength Index score of 93.9 out of 100 and an AAA+ rating. PnP is one of seven SA brands to achieve the AAA+ rating, five of which come from the retail sector. 

Spar SA – the fastest-growing SA brand with a brand value growth of 48% to R21.4-billion – opened 41 new stores in 2022 and recorded 6% growth in revenue and increased forecast revenues. TOPS at Spar saw a particularly strong turnover, with liquor sales up 42.6%.

Brand Finance also assesses how sustainable specific brands are perceived to be: MTN also has the highest Sustainability Perceptions Value of any brand included in the SA 100 2023 ranking — R8.6-billion, revealing how much brand value MTN has tied up in sustainability perceptions (11.6%). The brand’s Sustainability Perception Score was 5.23 out of 10, the 10th-highest in the ranking. 

Woolworths SA (brand value up 25% to R21.7-billion), which has long been seen as a pioneer in sustainability, has the highest Sustainability Perceptions Score, 6.02 out of 10. Stakeholders gave it the highest Sustainability Perceptions Score, which equates to R2-billion in value contribution to the brand. 

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in more than 20 countries, offering services on all continents. BM/DM


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