UAE ranks top globally in brand performance, report finds

Gulf country attracted higher volume of trade, tourism, investment and talent than other nations, according to Brand Finance

The UAE economy has rebounded strongly on the back of tourism, a buoyant property sector and higher oil prices. Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE ranked highest globally in 2022 in terms of brand performance, thanks to the government's successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic that allowed the country to open for business sooner than many other destinations, a report has found.

The Emirates has also attracted a higher volume of trade, tourism, investment and talent than other nation brands, according to the latest report by consultancy Brand Finance.

The UAE is a "positive exception" as brand performance has not yet returned to its pre-pandemic levels for most nations in the ranking, the report said.

With global interactions in the crucial areas of trade, investment, tourism and talent attraction down across the board throughout 2021, most brand strength scores remain held back by the legacy of the pandemic, it said.

However, the UAE has bucked the trend and topped the charts with a score of 80.5 out of 100, the report showed.

The UAE economy is expected to grow by 5.4 per cent and 4.2 per cent in 2022 and 2023, respectively, after expanding by 3.8 per cent in 2021, according to the UAE Central Bank.

Emirates NBD, meanwhile, on Wednesday raised its economic growth forecast for the UAE to 7 per cent for 2022, due to a higher estimate for the energy industry's output and the "robust growth" of its non-oil sector, setting up the country for its fastest annual expansion in more than a decade.

The latest revision from Dubai's biggest lender compares with an earlier 5.7 per cent estimate and would be the highest since 2011, when the economy grew by 6.9 per cent.

The Brand Finance report measures the brand strength of a nation based on three components: investment, perception and performance.

The brand performance pillar takes into account how well the nation brand is performing compared with its competitors, its macroeconomic standing and four key business areas where the nation brand has the most influence: trade, investment, tourism and talent.

Within these areas, the UAE economy has rebounded strongly on the back of tourism, a buoyant property sector and higher oil prices.

The country's foreign trade for the first six months of this year exceeded Dh1 trillion ($272 billion), compared with Dh840bn for the same period before the pandemic.

Foreign direct investment in the UAE has increased by 116 per cent in the past decade, rising to $20.7bn in 2021 from $9.6bn in 2012, government data indicates.

Due to maintaining a higher brand performance score and improving its brand perceptions, the UAE has defended its position as the strongest (76.7 out of 100) as well as most valuable ($773bn) nation brand in the Middle East and Africa, the report said.

The UAE is followed closely by Saudi Arabia as the second most valuable nation brand in the region ($770bn) and by Israel as the second strongest (73.9 out of 100), the data showed.

Why GCC economies are growing so fast

Why GCC economies are growing so fast

In terms of strength, Canada claimed the title of this year’s strongest nation brand, overtaking last year's winner Switzerland.

The US, France, the UK and Japan all returned to the top-10 brand strength rankings after a one-year decline in their international perceptions caused by the pandemic. Similarly, China entered the top 20 for the first time.

In terms of value, the US retained its position as the world’s most valuable nation brand, up 7 per cent to $26.5tn, the report said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s nation brand value took a $144bn hit due to its invasion of Ukraine, with the country recording the largest fall in brand value. Its nation brand value declined from $786bn last year to $642bn in 2022.

Russia is now paying a heavy economic price for its decision to start this war," said Konrad Jagodzinski, place branding director at Brand Finance. "This is demonstrated by the self-inflicted damage to Russia’s nation brand, which is now worth less than that of Belgium — a country with a population 12 times smaller."

At the same time, although the war has unleashed catastrophic humanitarian and economic devastation on Ukraine, causing its brand value to drop from $107bn to $85bn, the nation has successfully defended its independence and won the support of allies internationally.

As a result, Ukraine’s brand strength score has gone up by more than five points year on year, from 52.8 to 57.9 out of 100, driven mostly by a 15 per cent increase in brand perceptions.

Brand Finance research in March this year found that Ukraine increased in familiarity, reputation and influence, in addition to other areas such as respected leaders, rule of law and human rights, and trustworthy media.

Updated: September 29, 2022, 4:46 AM