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JOHANNESBURG - Capitec, South Africa’s third largest retail bank, is not only one of country’s fastest growing bank brands, but the fastest growing brand overall, according to a report released yesterday by Brand Finance, a branded business valuation consultancy.

This as the survey, which determines the most powerful and the most valuable brands by country, said South Africa’s brand value had increased by 3 percent year-on-year to R395billion in 2017.

Jeremy Sampson, a director of Brand Finance Africa, said South Africa was in many ways typical of an emerging market with an economy founded on natural resources and mining, underpinned by banking and telecommunications.

“However, when a country is struggling to grow at 1percent whilst its brands grow by 3 percent it says much about the future potential if not interfered with.”

The survey also found that South Africa’s banking sector comprised of nine brands, which outperformed all others, with a total brand value of R100bn, making up nearly 25 percent of the total brand value of the table.

The Brand Finance survey named Capitec, whose value grew by 25 percent to R5bn, as one of the strongest brands in the country.

Earlier this year Lafferty’s 2017 Global Bank Quality benchmarking study ranked South African banks as the most sound in the world, reaffirming the potency of the industry.

Capitec adds more than 120000 new customers a month, with about 8.4million customer at present.

It scored 83.3 percent on the South African Customer Satisfaction Index in April 2016, making it the best in terms of customer satisfaction.

The Brand Strength Index in February also recognised Capitec as the world’s 8th most powerful banking brand in the world.

The bank has previously said its success was based on its simplified and affordable product offering, which provides a competitive advantage over the often complex products offered by competitors.

The survey also recognised First National Bank (FNB) as one of South Africa’s strongest brands.

FNB flew the South African flag high when it was named fourth on the Brand Index Strength Index after the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank Central Asia and the Bank of China.

“It (FNB) is the first financial services firm in South Africa to launch its own smartphone; the company is already a pioneer nationally and it may well be that the technological advancement is to gear it up to compete on an international level,” said the survey.

Telecommunications was second in terms of brand value after banking with R73bn, with Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN, remaining South Africa’s most valuable brand, with a value of R40.8bn, up 10percent.

The retail sector is in third place, with a total value of R49bn, the survey found. Spar was the fastest growing retail brand, up 15 percent in value to R10.4bn and Shoprite, the most valuable retail brand, was 2 percent higher to R11.1bn, while Clicks was up 7 percent to R3.4bn.

“The tough trading environment in South Africa is likely to persist, especially in light of the political uncertainty undermining consumer confidence. As a result, the long-term outlook of the retail industry remains to be seen; retailers will have to differentiate themselves in order to remain competitive in a challenging environment,” the survey said.