Subscribe to industry newsletters

How SA's second BrandZ winners are delivering brand legacy and innovation

The combination of legacy, clear brand purpose and the courage to innovate characterise this year's top three in the BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands.
The Top 30 were announced at events in Johannesburg and Cape Town recently, with Standard Bank taking the number one spot, FNB and Castle Lager taking the top second and third sport respectively.


Standard Bank, at 156 years old, is one of the first and oldest brands in South Africa. “We have become a part of the fabric and story of South Africa and have always been committed to the communities and societies in which we operate,” says Jenny Pheiffer, head: brand, sponsorships and events at Standard Bank.

Standard Bank team collecting their accolade.
Standard Bank team collecting their accolade.

She believes the bank’s number one spot is because it places its customers are at the centre of everything it does. “We strive to ensure that our services, offerings and solutions are built to ensure our clients are making progress – in their lives, their businesses, their communities and, as a result, their countries.”

This includes standing firmly behind its purpose. “Africa is our home, we drive her growth,” she says. “Not many brands can commit to this, so it’s what makes us relevant and distinctive.” 

The brand is in 19 other countries across this continent. “This gives us the scale to be able to deliver on our purpose. It is our focus on remaining differentiated, useful and modern – and always putting our clients first, that keeps us South Africa’s most valuable brand,” she says.

Pheiffer adds that the brand takes awards that reflect how meaningful, different and salient its brand is very seriously.

“They indicate that we are on the right track in terms of delivering on our brand’s purpose and promise. We want to do valuable things for targeted clients – in a digital way, delivering seamless, integrated financial services solutions. Rankings like BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands tell us we are making progress, and show us performance relative to competitors,” she says.

Clear brand purpose

Faye Mfikwe, FNB chief marketing officer, says the BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands Award is, ultimately, an indication of the success of the consistent effort FNB applies to deliver a brand experience that exceeds their customers’ expectations.

Team FNB collecting their BrandZ award.
Team FNB collecting their BrandZ award.

“Because the result is comprised of both customer perceptions of the brand as well as the brand’s contribution to financial performance, it indicates how our brand promise is resonating with customers at an emotional level, but also that customers are showing their commitment to the brand by choosing to bank with us,” she states.

The bank’s success, she says, is linked to the commitment over time to the fundamental principles of what the brand stands for.

“This is innovation that shows significant consideration for our customers’ context across the wide continuum of customers that we serve, ultimately, delivering on our core brand promise of help. By consistently having helpful innovation at the core of what we do we have both built brand affinity and created mutual value between our customers and the brand,” she says.

Courage to innovate

Thrilled by its top three spot in the Top 30, Castle Lager’s brand director, Vaughan Croeser, says it’s a great honour and privilege to be part of the brand’s story. “Castle Lager has been around for 130 years and I have only been a custodian for a short time. This award is for all the people who have been working with the brand for 30 decades.”

Team Castle Lager taking in the third spot.
Team Castle Lager taking in the third spot.

The brand’s continuing relevance in people’s lives over this period is because of its clear and deep-rooted purpose. “The purpose of the brand is to bring people together and we continually strive to do this by looking for fresh ways to bring that purpose to life and create that infinity to the brand,” he says.

“As a consumer-led organisation, knowing what the trends are and what consumers need, offering consumers products that add value to their lives is critical. Since we launched the first non-alcoholic beer into the market, numerous other offers have entered the market, but we were the first and are the market leader and we are very proud of that,” he adds.

Castle Free is an example of the brand’s ability to stay true to its legacy and its purpose but not being afraid to innovate. “We force ourselves to be at the forefront of innovation –whether in our own category of beverages or adjacent categories such as licensing, merchandising, apparel and technology,” he explains.

The brand’s newest campaign, Heartbeat of the Nation, is an example of this thinking. “By using technology never used before we can measure the country’s heartbeat while our nation’s sports teams are playing. Our purpose is to bring people together and this technology connects to South African’s hearts and shows it back to the people,” says Croeser.

The BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands is commissioned by WPP and conducted by brand equity research company Kantar.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.
Read more: Castle Lager, BrandZ

Let's do Biz