Ranked: Africa’s most-admired brands

Brand Africa in association with the JSE, announced on 25 May 2018 the top-100 best brands in Africa on their 6th annual Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands at the JSE in Johannesburg.

The US sports and fitness brand, Nike, is the overall number one brand in Africa spontaneously recalled by consumers. South African telecommunications brand MTN is the number one African brand spontaneously recalled irrespective of continent of origin, while Nigerian industrial brand Dangote Group is the number one African brand recalled when consumers are prompted about the continent (Africa) of origin.

The Brand Africa 100 ranking is based on a survey among consumers 18 years and older, conducted in 23 countries across Africa. The countries, representing all African economic regions, collectively account for 75% of the population and the 74% of the GDP of Africa.

Top-10 most-admired brands in Africa

African brands rose slightly to account for 17% of the top-100 brands in Africa, non-African brands retained their firm position in Africa with 83% share of the top-100 most-admired brands in Africa. Europe leads the table with 40/100 (-2), North America at 24/100 (-2) and Asia 19/100 (+2). West Africa (6), with only Nigerian brands (6), and Southern Africa (6), with South African brands (5), lead the table. East Africa (5) leads with Kenya (2) among brands recalled spontaneously.

The top-100 is dominated by technology and electronic brands (29%), consumer (non-cyclical) (19%), apparel (15%), automobile (8%), food (7%) and sports & fitness (5%).

Overall, the 2017/18 Brand Africa 100 list, which started out with over 15,500 brand mentions covering over 2,200 admired brands, illustrates a very diversified portfolio of categories and brands in Africa. There is an incredible year-on-year consistency, with 60% of the top-10 brands common among the top-10 most-admired African brands and most-admired brands in Africa, led by Nigeria’s Dangote Group and Glo, South Africa’s MTN and Shoprite, Kenya’s Tusker and Ethiopia’s Anbessa. Out of the 16 African brands in the top-100 in 2016/17, six exited and seven entered the top-100 in 2017/18.

The major change on the list is the status of the Safaricom/M-Pesa brand. Because Vodacom/Vodafone recently became majority owner of the business, in the 2017/18 tables the Safaricom/M-Pesa brand was consolidated into the Vodacom/Vodafone brand. Singled out, the Safaricom/M-Pesa brand ranked 27, higher than the Vodacom/Vodafone brand, which is at number 31. Collectively, the Vodacom/Vodafone/Safaricom brand is now at number 17. But Safaricom/M-Pesa remains a highly recalled ‘African’ brand among financial services and the most-admired brands in Africa. Zimbabwe’s Econet made the most spectacular first-time entry into the top 100 at number 40. After a long stay on the list despite its innumerable challenges, BlackBerry finally fell off the list as the brand exited the consumer markets. On the other hand, Etisalat, which dropped 31 spots remains on the list of the top 100 despite exiting Africa in 2017.

Top-10 most-African brands in Africa (prompted)

The highest gains are dominated by apparel and lifestyle sport brands Ralph Lauren (+48), Versace (+41) and a resurgent Reebok (+43). The sports category, led by Nike, remains a strong performer, due to strategic repositioning or expansion in their positioning towards lifestyle and high-profile endorsements and partnerships which have freshened and broadened the brands’ appeal, particularly to youthful and young consumers.

The biggest faller was Ford, dropping 78% from 50 to 89, possibly due to their much-publicised safety issues and recall of the Kuga and Focus brands. Sprite also lost some fizz, dropping 38 spots and Etisalat dropped 31 positions.
In a country-by-country analysis, non-African brands are number one in 17/23 countries, led by Samsung (8/23), Nike (6/23), Coke (2/23), Gucci (1/23). African brands are number one in 6/23 countries, led by MTN (2/23), Econet (1/23), Trade Kings (1/23) and Azam (1/23).

Top-10 most-admired brands of African origin (spontaneous/unprompted)

Because of their transformational impact in Africa, Brand Africa also includes a focused prompted media and financial services sub-survey.

In the media sub-survey, DStv (incorporating GoTV, Multichoice and Supersport) is the lone pan-African media brand within the top-10 media list. The media list is led by BBC, which has an extensive history and coverage of Africa through its BBC Worldservice radio and specific African programming. The media list is dominated by America (40%), Europe (30%) and Asia (20%). A deeper analysis of the media category shows high levels of fragmentation, with many local and regional players – thus in general only global players with extensive African reach and resources dominate the top of the list.

In the financial services sector, 60% of the most-admired brands are made in Africa. GTB retains its number one position as the most-admired financial services brand, and Safaricom M-Pesa retains its pole position among mobile money brands. Mobile money brands, Safaricom M-Pesa (#9), Airtel Money (#21), PayPal (#24) and Orange Money’s (#25) presence underscore the impact of not only M-Pesa as the catalyst, but mobile as a key enabler for financial access. Nigeria (6), South Africa (5) and Kenya (3) lead the finance brand tables in a continent that’s cash rather than credit led.

“African brands have an important role in helping to build the African brand,” says Thebe Ikalafeng, founder and chairman of Brand Africa and Brand Leadership. “These rankings are an important metric of the progress Africa is making in creating home-grown world-class brands that are changing the narrative on African competitiveness, image and reputation, and contributing to its socio-economic transformation.”

Brand Africa 100 was developed by pan-African branding and reputation advisory firm, Brand Leadership Group supported by GeoPoll, Kantar TNS, and Brand Leadership.

GeoPoll used their mobile survey platform to identify the most-admired brands in Africa among a representative sample of African consumers in 23 African countries. These countries collectively represent an estimated 75% of Africa’s population across all political and economic regions.

“GeoPoll’s multi-modal survey platform and panel of respondents across Africa allowed us to quickly reach a large sample of respondents in multiple countries, providing brands with valuable data on their standing in the continent that they can utilise to track brand health over time,” says Nick Becker, CEO, GeoPoll.

“Success for brands is about establishing an emotional connection, creating intimacy and being more present in consumers everyday lives. This survey is a critical assessment of the various brands that play that vital role in Africa,” says Karin Du Chenne, CEO, Kantar.