As Arabian Gulf firms power ahead regional casualties emerge in most valuable brand rankings

Companies from Egypt, Iraq and Jordan have been squeezed out of a top 50 ranking of the Middle East’s most valuable brands – all of which are now based in the Arabian Gulf.

The relative stability of the Gulf, and unrest in parts of the surrounding region, has helped to solidify the position of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as powerhouses for building globally recognised brands, according to the global marketing consultancy Brand Finance.

All of the Middle East’s top 50 most valuable brands are from GCC countries, according to a ranking by the London company. Saudi Arabia is home to 21 of the most valuable brands, while the UAE has 16 including Emirates, the top name in the region with a valuation of $7.74bn.

The rest of the companies in the ranking are from Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

Companies from the wider region that made Brand Finance’s 2015 ranking – including Orascom Construction and Telecom Egypt, along with Iraq’s Asiacell and Jordan’s Arab Bank – have been pushed out this year.

Robert Haigh, the marketing and communications director at Brand Finance in London, says the ranking published today shows the “solidification of dominance” of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in building well-known brands.

“This is the first year since we’ve covered the broader region that only GCC countries have been featured in the list,” he says.

“The trouble in the surrounding region has meant that the small number of brands from Egypt and Iraq … are now no longer there.”

Brand Finance monitors brands in regional countries including Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Palestine and all of the GCC.

The branding expert John Brash, the founder and chief ­executive of Brash Brands, which has an office in Dubai, says Gulf companies such as the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Qatar National Bank (QNB) have now made their names globally.

“The GCC has always been led by the strength of its home-grown brands. Emirates, STC, QNB – they’re internationally recognised and respected.

“The fact that they innovate and elevate every day propels them to the top, and sets the standard for others to follow,” he says.

But the ranking of the top 50 most valuable brands may not give the recognition that some promising newcomers in the wider region deserve, Mr Brash adds.

“If there is a gap in what Brand Finance does, it’s spotting nascent brands and nations,” he said.

“If we always focus on today’s winners, we’re not looking for tomorrow’s – and that’s where the whole Middle East truly is the place to watch.”

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