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Brands innovating in the time of coronavirus


Brands innovating in the time of coronavirus

Top South African brands finding their footing in challenging times

This is the third year that BrandZ™ has ranked South African brands, and normally a time in which we’d have the data needed to dig deeply into the long-term activities that build brand value in South Africa. However, 2020 has been a year that has upended everything, and that includes the nation’s brands.

Our analysis period this year occurred before and during the early stages of the pandemic, and as such, it reflects a moment of financial shock (things have recovered since then). As a result, the Top 30 lost considerable value year over year. While many of the brands have shown resilience in the face of adversity—it’s never fun to announce a decline.

In spite of the challenges, South Africa remains home to many great local and a few internationally known brands. These include Nando’s, an ambassador brand for the country, which is spreading its dynamic personality, along with South African art and music, around the world. Woolworths is an iconic brand in the country, whose customer experience has recently been rated second to none among all grocery retailers in the world. And this year sees the arrival of newcomer, Flying Fish, which is on my personal list of must-tries the next time I find myself in South Africa.

This report notes that overall, the Top 30 tend to build their value by their ubiquity rather than building strong brands, but the most resilient brands in the ranking — Clicks, Capitec, and Pick n Pay — also reflect what we have seen before and during financial crises over the last 20 years of BrandZ™ research. Building a strong, Meaningfully Different brand can cushion you against shocks and return you to growth faster once normal times return.

But whether your brand is thriving in unusual times or bearing the brunt of it all, in this report you'll find knowledge and insights to help you navigate the crisis and come out stronger on the other side. Local South African experts have analyzed the results of our research and coalesced them into a number of Big Themes that highlight winning strategies and avenues for a return to growth. Our Cross-Category Themes also reveal the major cultural and consumer trends shaping our changed world.

In addition, you can find plenty of insightful analysis in the Thought Leadership and Brand Building Best Practices sections of this report. Both contain articles written by local experts across our network. In particular, I’d like to call out Stina van Rooyen’s article on “Resuscitating Purpose” and Ashish Williams’ review of changing consumer media habits.

But that only scratches the surface of the information and insights contained in this report on everything from advertising to customer experience. Overall, it should provide plenty of food for thought as brands find their way into a hopefully less eventful 2021.

How we can help

Despite this year’s challenges, and because of the urgent need to understand the altered brand landscape, we were determined to publish the BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands 2020 report without delay. But I need to add a caveat: we are gaining more knowledge and insights constantly because the economic impact of COVID-19 is so fluid.

This report is a starting point. I urge you to follow up with the experts who contributed to its contents. They will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on brands across categories and around the world.

One of our key WPP strengths—and a benefit for our clients—is that when we say we cover the world of brands, that’s exactly what we mean. The WPP and Kantar proprietary BrandZ™ database includes information from over 3.8 million consumers about their attitudes about (and relationships with) 17,801 brands across 512 categories in 51 markets. All that produces more than 5.3 billion data points.

To learn more about how to harness our passion to work for your brand—especially during these uncertain and trying times— please contact any of the WPP companies and Kantar divisions that contributed expertise to this report. Or feel free to contact me directly.


David Roth, CEO The Store WPP, EMEA & Asia Chairman, BrandZ™ and BAV Group


Twitter: davidrothlondon

Blog: www.davidroth.com 

Brand Selection Criteria

Our proprietary BrandZ™ brand valuation methodology makes the Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands 2020 the definitive study of brands in the country. The uniquely consumer-facing BrandZ™ methodology combines extensive and on-going consumer research with rigorous financial analysis.

We gathered brand perceptions from consumers across the global market and selected brands that met our qualifying criteria: that the brand was originally created by a South African enterprise; and that the brand is either owned by a publicly traded enterprise or that its financials are published in the public domain. This approach produced a carefully conceived ranking of brands in nine categories, including banks, beer, retail, and telecom providers.

To learn more about the BrandZ™ valuation methodology, please contact: Elspeth Cheung, Global BrandZ™ Valuation Director, Kantar

Elspeth.Cheung@kantar.com .