Banks bounce back as First National Bank takes top spot as South Africa’s Most Valuable Brand

Kantar BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African brands worth $31.6 billion
16 August 2023
brand z

CEO, Kantar, South Africa

The most valuable South African brands in 2023 have a total combined value of $31.6 billion, according to the Kantar BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands 2023 report published today. A combination of innovation, the ability to attract new customers, and successful pricing strategies has seen Financial Services, Fast Food and Retail brands among the most resilient across all categories, despite challenging economic conditions in South Africa and across international markets. 

First National Bank (FNB) is the top South African brand with a brand value of $3.4bn. The Financial Services category is the largest in this year’s Top 30, featuring 11 brands and a total brand value of $13.6 billion. As South Africa’s oldest bank, FNB continues to successfully reinvent itself, remaining relevant to existing and new customers and maintaining a point of difference over others in the category. The first bank to offer consumers the opportunity to switch banks by taking a ‘selfie’ and having won accolades for its mobile app, technology is at the forefront of the brand’s success, with FNB setting the market pace on innovation.

As the number one brand, FNB continues to raise the bar despite being the oldest brand in the Top 30 and operating in a highly competitive sector that includes some of the hottest fintech start-ups. With its focus on innovation and building connections with customers, especially younger people, FNB features high on our Future Power Index, while its work with communities, helping to drive societal change, has seen FNB feature high on our Brand Purpose Index.

Standard Bank ($3.0bn) is the second most valuable brand, with telecoms brands, MTN (No.3; $2.8bn) and Vodacom (No.4; $2.7bn) and alcohol brand Castle (No.5; $2.0bn) completing the top 5 in this year’s brand ranking.

South African brands find value in ‘brand extension’

While the overall value of the Top 30 declined by $3.3bn (-9%) versus last year, against a backdrop of high inflation, rising petrol prices and load shedding, South African brands performed better than those in many other markets. A fifth of brands in the ranking showed positive growth, finding new ways to build value, despite challenging conditions.

Finding growth through international expansion and branching out into new categories presents huge opportunities. This includes Vodacom offering financial services, Dis-Chem Pharmacies (No.29; $299m) moving into medical insurance, and Checkers (No.20; $525m) offering cell phone services, while several major retailers have entered the baby category. The practice of taking a strong brand in one area and using it to expand into adjacent categories helps create value for the brand and value for consumers.

Kantar BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable South African Brands 2023

 Rank 2023  Brand  Category  Brand Value 2023 (USD mil)
 1  First National Bank Financial Services  3,402 


Standard Bank  Financial Services   2,991
 3 MTN  Telecom Providers   2,810
 4  Vodacom Telecom Providers   2,651
 5  Castle  Alcohol  2,010
 6  Nando’s  Fast Food  1,792
 7  Absa  Financial Services  1,643
 8  Woolworths  Retail  1,198
 9  Capitec Bank Financial Services   1,189
 10  DStv  Media & Entertainment  1,166

The Kantar BrandZ valuation methodology starts with the brand’s financial value (the proportion of a parent company’s dollar value that can be attributed to a particular brand) and is then multiplied by the brand contribution. The brand contribution is the part that is unique in that it is based on consumer research and takes into account the demand the brand creates among consumers. Strong brand demand is determined by looking at three key criteria: salience (coming easily to mind), difference (being unique vs. competitors and/or setting trends) and meaning (meeting people’s needs in relevant ways and/or building affinity). Brands can then identify what is driving their brand demand and what they need to change or do differently to build stronger connections with customers in the future.

Other key highlights from the Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable South African Brands report include:

Creating pricing power through difference – South African brands that have improved their Pricing Power have seen the least brand value decline. This includes Woolworths (No.8; $1.2bn) one of the fastest risers in this year’s ranking, which performed well on Pricing Power, a major driver for creating value and business growth. Brands, however, need to support this by creating meaningful difference to justify higher prices when times are tough.

Financial Services brands re-enter the ranking – following its merger with Standard Bank in 2022, Liberty (No.27; $328m) re-entered the Top 30, alongside OUTsurance (No.30; $271m), which performed well on being meaningful, different and salient to customers.

Ecosystems can deliver growth – South African retailers and banks are partnering more and more to help deliver greater value, evident by the number of loyalty and rewards programmes where customers can earn or spend points at selected partners. For example, FNB eBucks gives its customers 40 stores to choose from, including retail brand Clicks (No. 22; $459m) where customers can earn 15% back on total purchases both in-store and online.

Delivering value beyond their business – sustainability has become a fundamental requirement for doing business and it is also an enormous opportunity for brands. Woolworths continues to lead sustainability initiatives in South Africa with their “good business journey” and are closely challenged by FNB. We do see a shake up this year with Sasol (No.21; $472m) making big strides to contend with Capitec Bank (No.9; $1.2bn) and Checkers. What all of these brands have in common, is that they are seen to behave in a socially responsible way and treat employees well.

Read more in the Kantar BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands 2023 report, now available at:

For an overarching view of brand performance, Kantar has launched a new, free interactive tool powered by BrandZ’s wealth of data and the Meaningful Different Salient framework. Kantar BrandSnapshot delivers intelligence on 10,000 brands in more than 40 markets, offering a quick read on a brand’s performance in a category. Explore it for free on Kantar Marketplace today.

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