Telecoms giant MTN, whose brand is valued at R74.3 billion, is South Africa’s most valuable brand for the 12th time in the past 13 years, according to brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance.
Brand Finance looks at 5 000 of the biggest brands and ranks them across all sectors and countries.
According to Brand Finance, MTN's brand value increased by 24% as it continued to grow in 2023, meaning that its value is now up 50% from its pre-pandemic level.
“This is an impressive statistic considering the difficult operating conditions and the complex geopolitical environment that the brand has been faced with,” Brand Finance said.
MTN’s total subscribers rose 6% in 2022 to 289 million, while the brand also saw higher demand for its data and fintech services.
“Both data traffic and fintech transaction volumes increased year-on-year. This has driven a strong company financial performance and allowed MTN to continue to invest over R28 billion back into its network, IT, and platform infrastructure. MTN has also invested heavily to secure network resilience in South Africa,” the report found.
MTN’s brand is worth just less than double the value of the second most valuable brand, Vodacom whose brand's value increased by 33% to R39.8bn.
While Vodacom is not yet operating on the same scale as MTN, Brand Finance’s research found it was outperforming it in a number of key metrics surrounding customer satisfaction.
These included consideration, usage, reputation, quality, and customer service, it said.
Brand Finance said over the past five years, Vodacom had invested more than R65.7bn to expand its capacity and increase resilience, including investment in next-generation 5G capabilities.
Brand Finance managing director Jeremy Sampson said: “It is invariably the case that when economic conditions are particularly challenging, strong brands show off their pedigree. As the world economy and South Africa recover from the Covid-19 pandemic the brands that have continued to invest in their future are prospering.”
Brand Finance said banking was the most valuable sector, up 28% in aggregate brand value, as strong post-pandemic recovery had set South African banking brands up for impressive brand value growth in 2022.
“The combined brand value of the eleven banking brands included in the ranking was R146.5bn. This is R25bn more than the next most valuable sector, which was Telecoms (sic brands included in the ranking to the combined brand value of R121.5bn),” it said.
Meanwhile, Standard Bank's brand value increased by 27% to R29.7bn, which made it the third most valuable South African brand, and it was the country’s most valuable banking brand for the second consecutive year.
“The bank’s 27% year-on-year growth has further widened the gap with First National Bank, brand value up 5% to R26.1bn, and Absa, brand value up 19% to R25.3bn, which sits in fourth and fifth in the ranking. Investec, whose brand value rose by 15% to R16.8bn, has increased three places to re-enter the top ten of the ranking,” Brand Finance said.
Retailer Spar SA was the fastest-growing South African brand, up 48%, it was the fastest growing South African brand, up 48% to a brand value of R21.4bn.
“Spar SA’s growth reflects a positive outlook for South African retail brands, despite difficult operating conditions over the past year,” Brand Finance said.
Pick n Pay was the strongest brand, amongst seven South African brands to achieve an elite AAA+ rating, Brand Finance found.
“Pick n Pay's brand value up 30% to R13.5bn has become the strongest South African brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 94 out of 100 and corresponding AAA+ rating,” it said.
Brand Finance said MTN was not only South Africa’s most valuable brand, but also had the highest Sustainability Perceptions Value (SPV) of all the brands in the report – ranking at R8.6 million.
However, Woolworths SA, whose brand value rose by 25% to R21.7bn, had the highest Sustainability Perceptions Score in the ranking, 6.02 out of ten.
“Woolworths has long been recognised as a pioneering retailer in the sustainability field,” Brand Finance said.