The Top 50 South African brands have been announced by Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance. These brands are said to contribute not only to the country's economy, but to the image they portray when doing business internationally.

 top_50_sa_brands_mtn_article Pratiksha Jekison-Singh of MTN (in middle) receives the award for Top Most Valuable Brand in South Africa on 15 September 2015. She is pictured with Thebe Ikalafeng of Brand Africa Finance and Kingsley Makhubela of Brand South Africa. (Image: Melissa Javan)


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Melissa Javan

A brand's performance, its relationship with its customers, and the money the brand spends on equity, were the key pillars of success, Thebe Ikalafeng, the chief executive officer of Brand Africa Finance said yesterday at the announcement of the country's Top 50 Brands.

Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance hosted the breakfast announcement, which too place in Houghton, Johannesburg.

It was the third annual study undertaken by Brand Africa Finance, said the organisers. The study found that the top 50 corporate brands in South Africa were valued at approximately R1.5-trillion, with many of these companies also contributing to national priorities such as uplifting identified and targeted communities.

Retail group Woolworths and First National Bank are the strongest brands in South Africa for 2014/2015. The cellphone network MTN is the Top Valuable Brand in the country.

Brands are assets

Ikalafeng said brands had become more than just a logo or slogan. "They are now seen as corporate assets which are amongst the most valuable that an organisation can have. By extension, national corporate brands also contribute to a nation's assets in terms of the value they add to the country – both in terms of (gross domestic product) as well as reputational impact," he said.

"The brand managers and executives who oversee and manage these brands therefore play their part to contribute to corporate profitability and visibility and we at Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance salute you."

 top_50_sa_brands_5_article Sydney Mbhele, divisional executive: group marketing at Nedbank, and Peter Mancer, chief executive officer of the company Diversity Management, were among the guests at the event. Nedbank is ranked seventh on the Top 50 SA Brands list. (Image: Melissa Javan)

 top_50_sa_brands_4_article Faye Mfikwe (on right), chief marketing officer of First National Bank also received the Top Strongest Brand award for her company. Here she is with Ashraf Garda of SA FM Radio, another guest at the breakfast. (Image: Melissa Javan)

 top_50_sa_brands_2_article Zukiswa Modisakeng, Vuyelwa Nyakaza, and Busi Dziba are entrepreneurs who attended the event to support their favourite South African brands. (Image: Melissa Javan)

Brand South Africa's chief executive officer, Kingsley Makhubela, stressed that while developing, strengthening and maintaining a nation's brand was a multifaceted task, there were a range of factors that could help to position the nation positively.

"These factors, if based on a solid foundation, can help the nation brand weather the storms posed by the global political and economic environment. One of these factors (is) national corporate entities," said Makhubela.

"Your excellence in the corporate field contributes immensely to the strength and positive reputation of the South African nation brand. Your brands are sometimes the first point of contact between consumers and the South African nation, especially where corporate brands have an international footprint."

The Top 50 Brands' product quality, customer service and ethical framework, he said, contributed to perceptions about South Africa's spirit of ubuntu, its innovation, and "the values that the country drives". "South Africa's corporate sector is therefore critical to enabling Brand South Africa to position the country as an attractive inward destination of choice."

Customers, the focus

 top_50_sa_brands_woolworths_article Kate Fordyce of Woolworths says the retailer's Top Strongest Brand award is the result of the passion and hard work of staff. She is pictured with Thebe Ikalafeng of Brand Africa Finance and Kingsley Makhubela of Brand South Africa at the Top 50 Brands announcement on 15 September 2015. (Image: Melissa Javan)

Pratiksha Jekison-Singh, the senior manager of brand communications and media at MTN, welcomed the win, especially following the recent strikes and structural changes within the company.

"Our customers are the core focus, the centre of our business," she said. "We're driving to what's best for them, looking at their behaviour and educate them on what is best suitable for their needs."

The Top 50 Brands were a prestigious event. "The brands are competing in the same industry, markets and fields. Yet with competing, we have the same respect for each other, and our goal is to achieve what is best for the country as a whole," she added.

Kate Fordyce, the head of agency at Woolworths, said the retailer was very proud and honoured to receive this award from Brand South Africa. "This award is testament to the passion and hard work of our people and the loyalty of our customers.

"The Woolworths difference is brought to life by our values such as quality, integrity, energy and sustainability. These same values inform everything we do – from our customer service to our interactions with suppliers and our contribution to the communities in which we operate."

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Sources: Brand Africa Finance and Brand South Africa