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MTN Remains South Africa’s Most Valuable Brand as Telecoms and Banks Lead

21 May 2018
This article is more than 6 years old.

· First National Bank jumps up rankings as Sasol drops

· Capitec Bank is South Africa’s strongest brand

· OUTsurance and Cell C achieve fastest growing brand values

MTN’s brand value has grown by 8% over the last year to R44.2 billion, maintaining its leadership as South Africa’s most valuable brand, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. MTN’s brand value was boosted by a solid overall performance for the year, despite challenging economic conditions and regulatory challenges in some markets.

MTN’s brand value grew primarily because of customers spending more on data services, consistent with a global trend of mobile phones being used to transmit more data at the expense of traditional voice traffic. This additional revenue growth is a strong return on the investment that MTN has made in improving data quality and capacity in its network, although this growth in revenue from data was tempered by the Cameroon government introducing a temporary data network shutdown in some regions of that country early last year. As a result, MTN’s overall revenue grew by 7.2% last year, with data revenue growing by 34.2%.

In recognition of MTN’s increasingly strong leadership position in telecommunication services throughout Africa and the other countries it operates, and because of their increasingly resilient network investments, MTN’s brand strength rating has been upgraded from AA+ to AAA-. While their existing network infrastructure will be challenged by a transition from 4G to 5G mobile phone services over the long-term, their current brand strength will put them in a strong position to compete in the future.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“MTN is South Africa’s most valuable brand because of their industry leadership, both domestically and further afield. They are increasingly recognised throughout Africa by their customers as providing a high-quality service, because their brand image is deeply rooted on more than just marketing campaigns.”

Jeremy Sampson, Executive Director of Brand Finance Africa commented:

“Last year we noted the value of the South African 50 top brands was R395 bn, showing a growth of 3% on 2016, so outpacing the growth of the country’s economy. This year the value has jumped by 8% to R426 bn as the economy shows signs of recovery from the Zuma years. The potential for South Africa going forward is huge, especially as new brands such as Capitec emerge.”

First National Bank jumps up rankings as Sasol drops

First National Bank was the big winner over the last year with its brand value rising 22% to R19.4 billion. This earned First National a jump from being South Africa’s 7th biggest brand to now becoming the 3rd most valuable brand in the country.

In addition, it has now become South Africa’s most valuable bank brand, just ahead of ABSA (up 3% to R18.9 billion) and Standard Bank (down 11% to R18.5 billion). Despite facing the same broader challenging macroeconomic environment, First National Bank has particularly focused on cross-selling other financial services to its customers, allowing its brand value growth to outpace its closest competitors.

Sasol lost significant brand value, dropping 17% to R15.7 billion. Sasol’s exports are particularly vulnerable to exchange rate changes, and the value of the strong Rand relative to the US dollar reduced Sasol’s operating profit by 11%. On the other hand, strong global oil and chemical prices helped offset some of these challenges. In addition, Sasol’s Canadian shale oil opportunities have been devalued due to a forecast decrease in US gas prices over the long-term. The current US Government has spoken publicly about a focus on increasing domestic energy production, which reduces opportunities for Sasol to export into the USA.

Capitec Bank is South Africa’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, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria, Capitec Bank (brand value up 35% to R6.8 billion) became South Africa’s strongest brand, taking over from First National Bank. Capitec’s brand strength has benefited from positive perceptions amongst its core customer base, which is consistent with their introduction of more unsecured credit offerings with interest rates as low as 12.9% in some circumstances. A focus on reducing legal and administration costs are particularly attractive to their client base, which grew by 1.2 million clients over the last year.

OUTsurance and Cell C achieve fastest growing brand values
Insurance brand OUTsurance (brand value up 48% to R2.4 billion) and telecoms brand Cell C (up 47% to R3.7 billion) recorded the fastest growing brand values over the last year amongst South Africa’s most valuable brands. While OUTsurance has faced significant challenges in South Africa’s domestic market, it has achieved notable success in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Cell C, however, is bouncing back from a tough trading conditions which led to the recapitalisation of the business in 2016. Cell C’s focus on the prepaid market has benefited, like MTN, from increased data usage by mobile users.

The local partnership

Brand Finance Africa is delighted to be once again partnered by Brand South Africa.


Note to Editors

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable brands in South Africa are included in the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2018 league table.

Brand value is equal to a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.

More information about the methodology as well as definitions of key terms is available in the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2018 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables 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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