x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Arab brands must aim to create more fizz

There is a "huge gap" between Middle Eastern brands and the likes of Apple and Coca-Cola, according to a regional branding expert. 

There is a "huge gap" between Middle East brands and the likes of Coca-Cola or Apple, according to a regional branding expert.

Gautam Sen Gupta, the managing director of Brand Finance Middle East, says just three Arab brands - Emirates Airline, Etisalat and Saudi Telecom Company -rank among the world's 500 most valuable.

Apple is the world's most valuable brand, with its name worth more thanUS$70 billion (Dh257.12bn), according to rankings by Brand Finance.

"While Gulf brands are on track to grow, there is a lot of catching up to do," said Mr Gupta.

"The biggest brand in the Gulf is today valued at less than $4bn. And the biggest brand in the world is about $70bn. So there's a huge gap that these guys need to overcome and fill."

But the fact that Emirates ranks as the world's most valuable airline brand is an encouraging sign, said Mr Gupta.

The reason there are so few Arab names among the world's most valuable brands is that local companies have tended to concentrate on domestic markets, he said.

"Brands going international is a very recent phenomenon.

"I get the feeling that you will see a lot more brands coming into this league table over time," Mr Gupta said.

"Ten years ago, who would have thought of brands coming out of Asia?

"Today you have big brands out of China and India, some from South Africa," he said.

So it's really a question of these brands taking off."

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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