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Swedbank cashes in as Sweden’s strongest brand amid turbulent times

11 September 2019
This article is more than 4 years old.
  • Swedbank crowned Sweden’s strongest brand, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 87.7 out of 100
  • Swedish banks dominate Brand Finance Sweden 50 ranking, 4 banks in top 10
  • Intrum named fastest-growing, brand value up impressive 71%
  • Alfa Laval highest new entrant, brand value SEK7.8 billion
  • Swedish tech brands suffering, Getinge plummets 51%, Ericsson down 37%

View the full Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 report here

Ikea dominates home and away
The podium has not changed in the Sweden 50 ranking with Ikea, H&M and Volvo claiming the top three positions, with significantly higher brand values than the rest of the ranking, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy. These brands also make up the top 3 most valuable across the whole Nordic region.

Ikea continues to be Sweden’s most valuable brand (brand value up 25% to SEK195.9 billion) despite recording significant profit losses, resulting in 7,500 job cuts worldwide. The brand has shifted its focus to its online proposition and to the expansion of its city centre stores in response to ever-changing consumer behaviours.

Fast-fashion retailer H&M (down 6% to SEK144.4 billion) has maintained its position as the second most valuable brand in the face of a difficult year. The brand has had difficulties with unsold inventory and repeated complaints from customers that clothes are smaller than expected.

Sitting in third, Volvo has closed the gap behind H&M with a 23% rise in brand value to SEK125.3 billion. Volvo celebrated record sales, selling over 600,000 cars across the year for the first time in history, this boost in sales can be largely attributed to the renewed product portfolio and solid sales performances in the US, China and Europe.

Swedbank is Sweden’s strongest
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. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria, Swedbank (brand value up 20% to SEK32.0 billion) is Sweden’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 87.7 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand rating.

Swedbank has continued to record steady growth through strategic investments and acquisitions. Above and beyond recording profits, the brand has committed to its corporate social responsibility efforts, being named an industry leader in the banking sector for its sustainability.

Recently however, Swedbank has faced widespread scrutiny and controversary with its Baltic arm currently under investigation for money laundering activities, resulting in an instant drop in the brand’s shares and the appointment of a new CEO. As a country that prides itself on low levels of corruption, and with the brand at the heart of the Swedish financial sector, Swedbank is facing increased pressure. How Swedbank responds to this scandal over the coming year is crucial to the brand maintaining its top brand strength rating.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Banks are familiar with being scrutinised closely. As brands across the sector learnt following the financial crisis, repairing a damaged reputation is a long and arduous process, but vital to ensure customer retention and a strong brand value. Swedbank will face this challenge in the coming year, and how the brand responds to the recent accusations will be of paramount importance to the brand’s success.”

4 banks in top 10
Banks have maintained their prominence within the rankings, with Nordea (no change in brand value at SEK51.3 billion), Swedbank, Svenska Handelsbanken (up 19% to SEK30.6 billion) and SEB (up 6% to SEK24.1 billion) all remaining in the top 10. Although these four banking brands differ considerably, particularly in client type and distribution channel, they are all contending with the same shifts within the market, notably the move from traditional banking within branches, to digitalisation and technological transformation. Nordea has recently been awarded the Bronze Lion in Cannes for its pension commercial, demonstrating the brand’s successful use of marketing to rebound from reputational issues.

Smaller financial services providers, Intrum and Lansforsakringar Bank, have recorded impressive increases in their brand values, rising 71% to SEK4.0 billion and 61% to SEK3.7 billion respectively.

Intrum, Sweden’s fastest-growing brand, has continued to expand through a number of strategic partnerships and acquisitions that have helped the brand gain a stronger foothold in the European market, as well as enter into new markets, including Latin America.

Lansforsakringar Bank’s unique regional structure gives the brand an added benefit over its competitors through its strong local presence, promoting continued customer loyalty across the country.

Alfa Laval bucks trend
Engineering and construction brand, Alfa Laval, is the highest new entrant into the rankings in 26th position, with a brand value of SEK7.8 billion. The brand’s investment in R&D has led to increased product launches, with more announced in the pipeline. This innovation, partnered with a drive towards an upgraded service proposition, is supporting the brand’s organic growth.

The trend across the sector is not as positive, with several brands losing brand value: Skanska (down 3% to SEK20.8 billion); Atlas Copco (down 11% to SEK16.9 billion); SKF (down 1% to SEK12.3 billion) and NCC (down 2% to SEK9.8 billion).

Tech brands suffer
Established tech brands have suffered significantly over the last year with dramatic declines in brand value recorded for Getinge (brand value down 51% to SEK2.4 billion), Electrolux (brand value down 43% to SEK9.9 billion) and Ericsson (brand value down 37% to SEK23.1 billion).

Global medical technology brand, Getinge, which has suffered profit losses, spun off Arjo, its extended care business, in a bid to further develop the core Getinge offering and push profits up.

Brand Finance Nordic 50 2019: Sweden reigns supreme
Looking at the classification in the wider region, Swedish brands have claimed one in every two positions in the Brand Finance Nordic 50 ranking and six out of the top 10 spots.

Engineering and construction leads among sectors with 10 brands included in the ranking. Skanska is the highest ranked in 20th, followed closely by Vestas, in 21st position. Other notable sectors across the region are banking with 7 brands and retail with 5 brands.

Twenty-four brands from Sweden feature in the Brand Finance Nordic 50 rankings, more than from Denmark (16), Finland (6), or Norway (4).

View the full Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 report here


Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable Swedish brands are included in the Brand Finance Sweden 50 2019 ranking, and the 50 most valuable brands across the Nordic countries are included in the Brand Finance Nordic 50 2019 ranking.

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 Sweden 50 2019 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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