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Belgian Brands Stand to Lose 15% of Brand Value Following COVID-19 Pandemic

16 April 2020
This article is more than 4 years old.
  • Top 10 most valuable Belgian brands from Brand Finance Belgium 10 2020 ranking stand to lose up to 15% of brand value following devasting COVID-19 pandemic
  • KBC retains title of Belgium’s most valuable brand for 5th consecutive year, brand value €3.9 billion
  • BDO is nation’s fastest growing, closing gap behind KBC, brand value up an impressive 30%
  • In contrast, Stella Artois is fastest falling, down 11% to €1.4 billion
  • Telenet claims title of Belgium’s strongest brand, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 80.4 out of 100

View the Full Brand Finance Belgium 10 2020 report here

Up to €1 trillion estimated brand value loss from COVID-19 globally

The brand value of the world’s 500 biggest companies, ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 league table, could fall by an estimated €936 billion as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Brand Finance has assessed the impact of COVID-19 based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. Based on this impact on enterprise value, Brand Finance estimated the likely impact on brand value for each sector. The industries have been classified into three categories – limited impact (0% brand value loss), moderate impact (up to 10% brand value loss), and heavy impact (up to 20% brand value loss) – based on the severity of enterprise value loss observed for the sector in the period between January and March 2020.

The analysis shows that the top 10 most valuable Belgian brands from the Brand Finance Belgium 10 2020 ranking could lose up to 15% of brand value cumulatively, a drop of €3 billion compared to the original valuation date of 1st January 2020.

KBC claims top spot for 5th consecutive year

KBC has defended its title of Belgium’s most valuable brand for the fifth consecutive year, but only recorded a slight increase in brand value, up 2% to €3.9 billion. 2019 marked a turbulent year for the bank as it navigated alleged involvement in a money laundering scandal. The bank has however adapted to the uncertainty in the sector by conducting efficiency measures to improve customer service by streamlining its workforce over the next 3 years.

The only other bank in the ranking, Belfius, has recorded a similarly modest uplift in brand value, up 1% to €1.4 billion, staying in 6th place.

Belgian banks, like many other banks across the world, have been suffering as a result of the fragile global economic and political landscape. With the banking sector in the heavy impacted bracket in our COVID-19 analysis, equating to a potential 20% brand value loss, the road ahead looks similarly rocky.

Richard Haigh, Managing Director, Brand Finance commented:

“The banking sector is certainly familiar with being scrutinised closely. KBC no doubt has a significant challenge ahead of it to repair its reputation after recent accusations. This, paired with the unprecedented level of uncertainty surrounding the global economy as COVID-19 enthrals the world, puts both banks globally and at home in Belgium in a challenging position.”

BDO inches closer to top spot

In second place, and closing the gap behind longstanding leader KBC, BDO is the fastest growing brand in the ranking, recording an impressive 30% brand value increase over the course of 2019 to €3.7 billion. The global accounting and consultancy network firm celebrated double digit growth last year, a testament to the brand’s commitment to both organic expansion and its solid M&A activity, with the brand closing 20 mergers and acquisitions within the first three quarters of 2019.

Focusing on growth, the brand now operates in 167 countries and territories and has increased its headcount by 10% over the last year. Furthermore, with over US$300 million invested in technology and innovation worldwide, and through the continued partnership with Microsoft, BDO Global is ensuring its position as a truly global and innovative brand.

Brand Finance has calculated that commercial services brands are in the moderately impacted bracket and could therefore face up to a potential 10% loss in brand value as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stella falls flat

In contrast, global beer brand Stella Artois is the fastest falling brand in the ranking, dropping 11% to €1.4 billion. Along with its parent company – brewing giant AB InBev (Belgium’s third most valuable brand behind KBC and BDO, at €2.2 billion) – the brand has been negotiating a sharp decline in demand in China, a key market, as the nation faces a slowing economy and tighter alcohol regulations that prohibit sales after 2 AM. Stella Artois, which targets the premium category in China, has suffered further as consumers seek cheaper alternatives.

AB InBev undertook one of 2019’s largest IPOs in an attempt to reduce its mountainous debt pile, following its record acquisition of SABMiller in 2016.

Brand Finance has calculated that beer brands could potentially lose up to 20% of their brand value following the coronavirus pandemic, therefore falling into the heavily impacted bracket. AB InBev have already warned of a significant global sales hit, which started to plummet as Chinese New Year celebrations were cancelled. In March 2020, AB InBev withdrew its 2020 profit forecast due to the unprecedented levels of global uncertainty.

Telenet rings in as nation’s strongest brand

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. According to these criteria, Telenet (down 2% to €972 million) is Belgium’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 80.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating.

The brand has been successfully implementing its three-year plan which seeks to win a greater share of the Belgian market through offering superior connectivity and through leveraging its best in class customer service. With 61% of homes across its Flemish and Brussels footprint using Telenet’s network, the brand is certainly moving in the right direction.

Telenet has also celebrated higher CSR scores and has reconfirmed its position as a leader in sustainability, winning multiple awards for its economic, environmental and social performances.

Richard Haigh, Managing Director, Brand Finance commented:

“The telecoms industry is one of the few sectors of the economy that should see limited impact as a result of COVID-19. In fact, telecoms brands have the opportunity to embrace the working from home revolution, which has led to extraordinary demand for remote working resources and connectivity.”

View the Full Brand Finance Belgium 10 2020 report here


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 10 most valuable Belgian brands are included in the Brand Finance Belgium 10 2020 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Belgium 10 2020 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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