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Safaricom emerges top brand in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 18- Telecommunications firm Safaricom is the most valuable Kenyan brand, according to a recent business values index of publicly quoted firms within Kenya

The study which featured 40 listed companies indicated that Safaricom has continued to consistently drive home the perception of being a truly ‘Kenyan’ brand.

This has also been underpinned by strong financial performances making it the most profitable company for several years running, detailed the findings of ‘2011 Brand Finance Kenyan Top 40’.

“In late 2010, the brand launched its new advertising campaign centred on the previous ‘Niko na Safaricom’ campaign but featuring a new advert. The commercial, showcases the beautiful expanses of the Kenyan region and is believed to be the biggest brand commercial ever executed in the country,” Brand Finance East Africa Managing Director Jawad Jaffer said.

The study ranked East African Breweries Limited second with Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered and Co-operative Bank taking up five of the top ten slots.

Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank were named the best performers as they were the only brands in the table to have AAA rating.

Equity Bank especially stood out due to its various initiatives to sail in uncharted territories that most of its competitors shun. For instance, it has helped to revolutionalise the banking sector by providing flexible, simple and accessible financial services for the masses.

“Banking the unbanked’ – Equity Bank has repeatedly undertaken ventures that are seemingly uncommercial but have a positive impact on its Brand Rating (AAA+) which is the highest in the table,” Mr Jaffer emphasised.

The same accolades were extended to Kenya Airways which was ranked sixth and which has maintained its revenues despite grappling with high rising jet fuel prices.

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“Recording a brand value of Sh9.4 billion and a brand strength rating of AA-, Kenya Airways continues to expand and become a truly African airline with a highly innovative route expansion, which has evidently helped the brand grow and develop value,” the MD said.

The study he disclosed sought to find out how shareholders are benefiting from the brand value of their firms, many of which are expanding their operations beyond the country’s borders.

“In our study, we have determined that 13 percent of the Top 40’s enterprise value is accounted for by brand value. The questioned to be asked is ‘How can Kenyan companies leverage the true value of their brands in order to attain a stronger footing,” he posed.

It is widely accepted in the business circles that although Kenyan firms have a good understanding of what branding is, many of them have for a long time underestimated the value it (branding) can have on their companies.

In trying to increase their brand visibility, many companies have been motivated by profits but there has been a campaign to have them focus on the sustainability of their businesses instead.

According to industry experts, the adoption of branding not only gives companies a competitive edge but also guarantees their survival and good returns on their investments.

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