DP World,  Jebel Ali Free Zone
That it emerged from global trade and supply disruptions in the first-half of 2020 shows DP World's inherent strength, and that of its network. It is reflected in its 'brand value' as well. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Stretching itself on the world map sure comes with advantages.

The ports operator DP World was the fastest growing in the latest rankings of the UAE’s Top 25 brands, gaining 17 per cent in ‘brand value’ during 2020 to $1.1 billion. That’s according to Brand Finance, which comes up with these rankings based on multiple metrics.

DP World was rated highly for the way its operations showed sufficient resilience against COVID-19 and making a recovery from the supply disruptions the industry went through in the first six months of 2020.

Then there was its continued expansion into new territories, helping it pick up new port and terminal contracts in Africa and elsewhere. “DP World continues to set its sights on extending its global reach, with expansion plans underway at several of its terminals to increase capacity,” said Brand Finance in explaining the brand’s rise in the charts. (Brand value refers to the present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation. The metrics evaluate marketing investment by a brand, its stakeholder equity, and business performance.)

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Etisalat, ADNOC rule

It was recently that Brand Finance came out with its rankings of the world’s most powerful brands, which placed Apple at the top. In the UAE, the ‘strongest’ domestic brand was Etisalat, while the title of the ‘most valuable’ went to ADNOC.

According to David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, “When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Etisalat led from the front ensuring business continuity, robust e-governance, enablement of smart cities and remote learning, to help drive the digital future of the UAE.”

Etisalat, which went past Emirates to grab the top spot, was rated first “key measures such as consideration, reputation and quality,” the statement added. “Etisalat also connects with UAE residents emotionally far better than any direct competitor, with a significant lead on the ‘closeness’ dimension.”

Coming up with the rankings
Brand Finance, a regulated accountancy firm, evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value.

Banks struggle

But in a pandemic year, the UAE’s leading lenders saw brand value erosion.

“As with all banking brands globally, Emirati banks have struggled to maintain brand value as profits and interest rates take a hit,” the Brand Finance report notes. “All the banks that feature in the ranking – aside from NBF (brand value up 2 per cent to $259 million) –declined in brand value this year.”

Emirates NBD saw a 10 per cent brand value loss to $3.7 billion, while First Abu Dhabi Bank saw a similar percentage drop to $3.6 billion. ADCB was down 19 per cent to $2.1 billion.

“FAB is remaining focused on its long-term growth strategy, namely through accelerating its digital transformation journey and leveraging its leadership position in the UAE to grow its international presence,” the report adds.