A SHOW OF RESILIENCE AS TOP KENYAN BRANDS NAMED

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Kenya is leading Africa’s technology landscape as brands are using digital transformation to meet consumer demands. Kenyan brands are disrupting the brick-and-mortar model and equipping businesses with technological means to actively connect with end users.  These brands have achieved remarkable brand value growth of 72% year-on-year. As the economy reopens, the telecommunications, banking and insurance brands among others in the Kenya 20 ranking are benefiting from higher private consumption and demand among Kenyans.

It is an interesting year for Kenyans given that they are due to hold their general elections, which usually come with socio-economic disruptions especially to business and investment.  There has been a tradition where corporates tend to hold and postpone their investment decisions in anticipation to policy change. That said, the resilient Kenyan spirit is   quite high given a more mature political landscape and the FIFA World cup round the bend in Qatar come November.

Brand valuation

Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands to the test, and publishes around 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. Kenya’s top twenty most valuable and strongest brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Kenya 20 ranking.

Telecommunications brand Safaricom (brand value up 38% to US$689 million) retained its top position as the most valuable brand in Kenya. The brand is spearheading the telecoms industry in Kenya with its wide variety of service offerings. A boost in mobile data usage is enabling Safaricom to achieve growth in the Kenyan market, by democratising access to mobile data with its relatively low price point for high data usage offers. The brand is leveraging this mobile data provision to build strategic partnerships with fintech and third-party brands including M-Pesa and Makao. An innovation in the region, M-Pesa is a  popular mobile application used primarily for online money transfer.  M-Pesa  has driven up the brand value and strength of Safaricom. These partnerships create a one-stop destination for customers to access travel and online payment methods using Safaricom’s mobile data offerings.

In addition to brand value, Brand Finance determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity  and business performance. Compliant with ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from over 100,000 respondents in more than 35 countries and across nearly 30 sectors. Equity Bank (brand value up 92% to US$388 million) emerged   the strongest brand in Kenya with Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 90.8 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ brand rating.

Equity Bank facilitates online banking with its mobile application EazzyNet which allows customers to use their bank account for online shopping, making transactions overseas, accessing loan options and paying bills via a smartphone. The bank’s versatile service offerings make it a popular choice and a household name across Kenya.

Kenyan beer brand Tusker achieved an impressive 132% brand value growth this year, growing to US$50 million in brand value. This brand value growth was all the more impressive given the extremely difficult trading conditions, including global supply chain disruptions  and the widespread closure of many restaurants and bars due to Covid-19 restrictions. In effect, the brand overcame the challenge of restricted suppliers and customers to deliver impressive growth in value.

The brand primarily used social media marketing and influencer marketing through the lockdown. By partnering with sportspersons and social media influencers, Tusker created engaging online content to increase demand and sales. Further, the brand partnered with Jumia, an e-commerce brand to meet customer demands and ship directly to homes in the lockdown.

Kenyan Airways (brand value up 21% to US$42 million) adapted its core operations amid the pandemic as demand for travel dropped. The airline brand converted its existing aircraft into cargo carriers to tackle limited supplies of food, essentials and medical equipment. The Kenyan flag carrier has partnered with several international airlines including:  British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Oman Air and Air France to enhance its travel network. Under the new management of Group Managing Director and CEO Allan Kilavuka and Chairman Michael Joseph, the airline is making great strides in being the Pride of Africa.

Walter Serem, Regional Manager, East Africa, Brand Finance Africa, commented: “Every Kenyan brand has faced enormous disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic, but the successful brands have been the ones that have used new technology to adapt to the new conditions. Shifting to different sales and communication channels has allowed brands like Tusker to connect directly with customers and provide services in an innovative manner.”

New entrants

Utilities brand Kenya Electricity Generating (brand value US$37 million) and Nairobi Securities Exchange (brand value US$1 million) are new entrants in the Kenyan top 20 ranking. KenGen has transformed their data management using cloud technology, allowing increased efficiency  and achieving cost saving benefits to end users. The brand developed an expansion strategy to increase its presence across Africa and deploy renewable geothermal energy. Similarly, Nairobi Securities Exchange leverages the popularity of mobile phone applications among Kenyans to enable investors to access, buy and sell shares on the stock market.

Reports

Every year, Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. Kenya’s top 20 most valuable and strongest brands are included in the Brand Finance Kenya 20 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 on the other hand is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

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