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DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest integrated energy and chemicals companies, is the highest-placed newcomer on the Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands 2022 rankings.

With a value of more than $99 billion, it claimed 16th position on the list and is the only Middle Eastern company to earn a place in the Top 20. Since its initial public offering in 2019, Aramco has become one of the biggest publicly traded companies by market capitalization.

Nico Stouthart, a senior partner Kantar’s consulting division in New York, and Aramco client lead, said: “I am excited to see Aramco entering the global BrandZ ranking as the highest newcomer at position 16.

“This is very much in line with their exciting ambition to further drive their global presence by pioneering innovative technologies that will positively impact people and the communities they live in.”

Amol Ghate, managing director of the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan for Kantar’s Insights Division, added: “We are excited to see the first brand born in the region enter the top 20 most valuable brands.”

Apple returned to the top the list with a brand value of more than $947 billion and is on track to become the first trillion-dollar brand, according to Kantar. It added that the brand stands out for its high degree of differentiation and continued diversification across its hardware, software and services portfolio.

Google moved up to second place and was one of the fastest risers in the rankings, increasing its brand value by 79 percent to $819.6 billion. Amazon, the top brand on last year’s list, dropped to third with a brand value of $705.6 billion, an increase of 3 percent.

The list is dominated by media, entertainment and technology businesses, with Microsoft and Chinese multimedia company Tencent completing the top five. The consumer technology sector also saw the highest average growth (46 percent) this year, with Nvidia at No. 11 on the list, IBM at No. 18 and Adobe at No. 19.

Among the social media giants, only Facebook and Instagram made it into the top 20, at No. 8 and No. 20 respectively. In the media and entertainment category, the top three of Google, Facebook and Instagram were followed in the top 10 by YouTube, WeChat, Netflix, Disney, LinkedIn, TikTok and Snapchat.

This year’s list also reflects the relative strength of Chinese brands, two of which made the Top 10: Tencent at No. 5 and Alibaba at No. 9. China was also the only market offering any competition to US brands in the media and entertainment category, with WeChat at No. 5 and TikTok at No. 9. 

Brands with a wide-ranging portfolio must innovate and diversify their offerings to grow, Kantar said, as evidenced by brands such as Apple, Google and Amazon that have expanded their services across technology, entertainment and digital payment.

“Strong brand affinity underpins a customer’s willingness to pay and has never been more important for organizations looking to offset spiking inflation,” said Martin Guerrieria, the head of Kantar BrandZ.

“This year’s results show us the value of continued investment in brand and marketing capabilities as a means of maximizing business returns, irrespective of market conditions.”

The combined value of the world’s Top 100 most valuable brands increased by 23 percent to $8.7 trillion over the past year, Kantar said, highlighting the importance of brand strength in navigating an unsettled global economy.

This year, brands needed to exceed a total valuation of $21.219 billion to earn a place on the list and qualify as one of the world’s biggest brands, a threshold that has increased more than fourfold since the debut of the list in 2006.

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