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UAE leads MENA in ranking of world’s most valuable, strongest nation brands

The UAE lead the way as the strongest and most valuable brand in the Middle East and Africa, MENA, and ranked 18th globally at AED 2.45 trillion (US$672 billion), according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy. The ranking places the Emirates at 18th, a rise of two places from last year.

Brand Finance measures the strength and value of the nation brands of 100 leading countries using a method based on the royalty relief mechanism employed to value the world’s largest corporate brands. Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 100 most valuable and strongest nation brands are included in the Brand Finance Nation Brands 2020 ranking.

The annual report on the most valuable and strongest nation brands noted that the UAE has maintained its advanced ranking in the world’s top 20 most valuable nation brands in 2020 despite the daunting challenges and hardships the world nations have been enduring due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The UAE managed to make the highest score in its ranking advancing to 18 in the 2020 report from 20 in last year’s report.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented: “The UAE’s efforts to elevate its profile with a new Nation Brand Identity and initiatives such as the Emirates Mars Mission and EXPO 2020 have brought the UAE into the spotlight and are helping in efforts towards an improved perceptual image amongst world audiences.”

Despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emirates has not only remained a top-20 global brand but continues to be the most valuable Nation Brand in the Middle East, recording the highest upward movement of a Nation Brand in the top 20.

The rise in rankings comes against strong global negative market pressures in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have slashed US$22 trillion off company valuations worldwide in Q1 2020 (from US$116.6 to US$94.8 trillion between January and April), and the IMF has forecast the global economy to contract by -4.4 percent this year (IMF). This has seen the majority of worldwide nation brands dip in value, with a number recording drops in valuation of above 20 percent.

The Emirates’ rise in the index has been assisted by political moves such as the normalisation of ties with Israel as well as a substantial contribution to the Emirates’ Nation Brand valuation made by the Emirates Mars Mission.

“The successful launch of the Emirates Mars Mission and the vast global media coverage of the event has been a significant factor in helping the country’s Nation Brand weather the pandemic, the mission alone has been valued as contributing some $6.8 billion to the Emirates’ Nation Brand valuation. Given the mission’s cost of development, launch and spacecraft operations of some $200 million, the Mars mission has certainly delivered value from a Nation Brand valuation standpoint,” he added.

The report pointed out that the UAE has scored high and leading the pack despite the great negative pressures the world is still facing in 2020 where estimates show that the top 100 most valuable nation brands in the world have suffered a monumental loss to their brand value because of the COVID-19 pandemic, amounting to US$13.1 trillion. 2020 has put the nations of the world to the test – from the economic impacts of COVID-19 on nations’ GDP forecasts, inflation rates, and general economic uncertainty, to diminished long term prospects. Brand Finance estimates that the total brand value of the top 100 nation brands dropped from US$98.0 trillion in 2019 to US$84.9 trillion in 2020, with almost every nation feeling a significant impact of the health crisis on their respective economies.

According to the report, the US and China remain a cut above the rest, claiming first and second position in this year’s ranking, recording brand values of US$23.7 trillion and US$18.8 trillion respectively. Long-standing leader the US, has recorded a 14 percent brand value loss to US$23.7 trillion, following yet another turbulent year.

Despite this political uncertainty, American brands’ sheer dominance and success globally will always provide the nation’s economy and reputation with a strong safety net. American brands – Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft – claimed four out of the top five spots in the year’s Brand Finance Global 500.

In addition to measuring nation brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of nation brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating brand investment, brand equity, and brand performance. For the first time this year, the nation brand strength methodology includes the results of the Global Soft Power Index – the world’s most comprehensive research study on nation brand perceptions, surveying opinions of over 55,000 people based in more than 100 countries. According to these criteria, Germany is the world’s strongest nation brand with a brand strength score of 84.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA rating.

With the pandemic wreaking havoc on nation brand values across the world, the top 10 has recorded a brand value loss of 14 percent on average. Japan has fared relatively better than its counterparts, recording a modest 6 percent brand value loss to US$4.3 trillion, and inching up to claim third spot in the ranking. Defying the odds of many that expected the nation to be one of the worst hit at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak – due to its proximity to China, its densely populated cities, and burgeoning elderly population – Japan has emerged as relatively successful compared to its counterparts, with lower Coronavirus cases and deaths and with its economy faring better.

David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance, said : In this time marked by change, it is more important than ever that governments, trade bodies, and businesses take steps to ensure that their nation brand is strategically appropriate and well-managed.”


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