Here's why Aramco and ADNOC are 2020's 'most valuable' Middle East brands

Here's why Aramco and ADNOC are 2020's 'most valuable' Middle East brands

Dubai: Gulf energy giants Aramco and ADNOC managed to retain their status as the Arab world’s most valuable brands for 2020 despite the global oil industry enduring one of its worst phases brought on by the pandemic.

But Aramco and ADNOC did enough to ensure they had a firm grip on their branding, according to the latest annual update of global and regional powerhouses brought out by Brand Finance. Aramco’s brand value shed 20 per cent during the year to be at $37.5 billion, while in ADNOC’s case, the dip was by 6 per cent to $10.8 billion.

That’s still pretty good going during a period when US crude oil futures had dropped below $0 a barrel – for the first time in history – and the world saw demand dropping to unprecedented lows because of the lockdowns against COVID-19.

Inherent strengths

Amidst all these seismic events, Aramco and ADNOC did enough to justify their brand status.

“Aramco is the hidden giant of the oil industry whose brand has finally emerged into the light of public attention,” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance. “It has always been known as a B2B brand - but has aspirations to become a well-known consumer brand.

“At present its scale is huge but its brand equity is at an early stage of development. We believe that over the next decade the brand will grow from strength to strength as it enters the world stage.”

As for ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi energy major pulled in billions of dollars in new investments through strategic alliances with global names, such as the stakes sales it did for its pipeline business.

“Today, ADNOC plays a critical role driving local industry growth, supporting Abu Dhabi’s soft power position globally and advancing the UAE’s sustainable economic development goals,” said Haigh. “ADNOC’s enduring brand strength reflects the strength of its reputation as an industry leader in both cost and carbon efficient oil production, a critical driver of innovation and technology in the UAE and a partner of choice for local and international investors.”

All in the connections

The UAE’s telecom major Etisalat has also hit the right notes in terms of brand strength. Of course, during the pandemic phase, its networks were put to the test. And the telco saw off those challenges.

Etisalat is the Middle East’s “strongest brand” for the first time and overtaking Emirates airlines, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 87.4 out of 100. It has won a corresponding AAA brand strength rating – the only one in the region to achieve this rating. This immediately raises Etisalat to be among the Top 25 brands globally for BSI.