Branding Company news South Africa

Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

First ever South African BrandZ ranking reveals growth potential for local brands

  • Range included in the first BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands ranking reflects the diversity of consumers' daily interactions with brands
  • While local remains "lekker", brands need to think creatively and innovatively to tap into the wider global market
  • First ever South African BrandZ ranking reveals growth potential for local brands

    Standard Bank, with a brand value of $4.79bn, is South Africa’s No.1 brand in the first BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands ranking. The report, released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, reveals that the Top 30 South African brands show more potential for global growth than their counterparts in the Chinese and European rankings, but have less exposure to overseas markets.

    With a combined value of $42.6bn, the BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands ranking is notable for its diversity, covering several industry categories including banks, telecom providers, retail, insurance, fast food, beer, hospitals, oil and gas, entertainment and airlines. The ranking reflects the brand touch-points of consumers’ daily lives in South Africa.

    The region is fast becoming a rewarding place to do business and the ranking flags the potential for brands to grow locally and globally. However, brands will need to work hard to stand out from competitors in a digital landscape in which offerings are increasingly homogenised. The report highlights that the future winners will be those who are able to differentiate themselves in a meaningful way which will enable them to deliver superior shareholder value.

    The BrandZ™ Top 15 Most Valuable South African Brands 2018

    Rank 2018BrandCategoryBrand value (US$ million)
    1Standard BankBanks$4,788
    2First National BankBanks$3,675
    3VodacomTelecom Providers$3,258
    5MTNTelecom Providers$2,913
    6Nando’sFast Food$2,160
    10Old MutualInsurance$1,692
    12SasolOil & Gas$1,213
    15Hansa PilsenerBeer$1,121

    David Roth, WPP commented: “As South Africa looks towards future growth, local brands have a critical role to play in both the country’s development locally and how the country is viewed on the global stage. Its strengths and diversity are reflected in the ranking as leading brands across a range of categories demonstrate their ability to innovate and make a difference to consumers’ lives.”

    South Africa’s most valuable brands do well on delivering functional communication strategies, based on utility and price, however less successful are attempts at engaging with consumers on an emotional level. As brands look to increase their value and the ROI on their marketing efforts, tapping into this emotional connection with their customers will help them compete with global brands who are more experienced. South African brands therefore need to build in an emotional differentiator, as functionality alone is not necessarily sustainable for long-term growth.

    Charles Foster, CEO Insights Division Kantar, Africa and Middle East said: “South African brands show great potential for growth in a region undergoing change. BrandZ demonstrates how brands with strong equity are protected and recover more quickly during tough economic periods, while growing faster during the good times. Those that focus on innovation and building emotional connections with consumers will grow faster.”

    Other trends highlighted in the BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands report include:

    • Meaningful difference predicts long-term brand value – Brands need to be meaningful and make a difference to consumers by meeting their functional and emotional needs to create affinity; they need to create difference by being perceived as distinctive, giving them a competitive edge. The most meaningfully different South African brands are Woolworths, Dis-Chem, Nando’s and Clicks. These brands are differentiating themselves by driving strong brand purpose, a unique brand experience and then amplifying this through great market communication. Collectively the BrandZ Top 30 brands are significantly more meaningfully different than the national average, however South Africa’s Top 30 differentiation metrics rank below average relative to their worldwide counterparts.
    • Creativity drives innovation – Brands that are perceived as creative by consumers capture interest and grow more than competitors who are perceived as unimaginative and dull. Nando’s clever and controversial advertising campaigns are good examples of how a brand can communicate effectively with its target audience, in a very real and relevant way.
    • Technology brands have not yet entered South Africa’s Top 30 – however many of the country’s brands, including those in the more traditional categories like banks, retail and telecom providers, have adopted technological disruption to distinguish themselves from competitors. Examples include First National Bank’s “open a bank account with a selfie” and Capitec’s biometric security. Up-and-coming brands are also using technology to disrupt, with Takealot purchasing Mr Delivery and Showmax partnering with DStv.

    The BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands report and ranking, as well as other brand insights for key regions of the world and 17 market sectors, are available online here. The reports, rankings, charts, articles and more can also be accessed through the BrandZ app, which is free to download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from or by searching for BrandZ in the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

    Background and methodology

    Commissioned by WPP, the valuation behind the BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands was conducted by brand equity research experts Kantar Millward Brown. The methodology mirrors that used to calculate the annual BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, which is now in its 13th year.

    The ranking combines rigorously analysed financial data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel with the opinions of over 17,300 South African consumers gathered for over 506 brands in more than 35 categories. The BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands is the most definitive and robust ranking of the country’s brands available, and the brands ranked must meet at least one of these two eligibility criteria:

    • The brand was originally created in South Africa
    • The brand is owned by a publicly traded enterprise, or its financials are published in the public domain

    The suite of BrandZ™ country rankings and reports also includes China, India, Latin America, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, the U.S. and Italy.

    About Kantar Millward Brown

    Kantar Millward Brown is a leading global research agency specialising in advertising effectiveness, strategic communication, media and digital, and brand equity research. The company helps clients grow great brands through comprehensive research-based qualitative and quantitative solutions. Kantar Millward Brown operates in more than 60 countries and is part of WPP’s Kantar group, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies. Learn more at

    About WPP

    WPP is the world leader in communications services. The company provides a comprehensive range of services including digital, ecommerce and shopper marketing; advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; brand consulting; health & wellness communications; and specialist communications. For more information, visit

    For more information please contact:

    Stina Van Rooyen

    South Africa BrandZ Lead
    t. +27 21 657 9500
    e. moc.nworbdrawllimratnak@neyoornav.anits

    Ilse Dinner

    Head of Marketing Communications Africa & Middle East
    t. +27 11 202 7000
    e. moc.ratnak@rennid.esli

    Kantar is the world's leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. We have a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our people, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technology we help our clients understand people and inspire growth.

    Let's do Biz