The automotive brand Dacia remains the most valuable Romanian brand in 2018, and still the only one so far worth over EUR 1 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. With an increase in sales worldwide through the Renault network (as over 90% of the brand’s local production is sold abroad), Dacia is unlikely to be overtaken soon. Valued at EUR 1,243m, slightly up from last year, Dacia is also one of the very few Romanian brands present in global league tables, having been ranked 60th in Brand Finance Auto 100 2018.
Top brands outperform economy
One remarkable development is the overall growth year-on-year: the aggregate value of the top 50 Romanian brands has increased 14% to EUR 4,271m. The rise is twice as high as the record 7% growth of the Romanian economy in 2017, as strong brands tend to outperform the rest of the economy.
“One flower does not make a spring’ – as the Romanian saying goes – but 50 powerful brands cannot lie. There is a strong momentum for Romanian brands, partly fueled by the economic growth but topping it twice over. More than 40 out of the top 50 brands have increased in value, and seem to have a bright future ahead of them,” David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, pointed out.
On the back of strong growth, all but one top 10 brands hold their ground, with a slide down for BCR from 8th to 10th place following an 18% decrease in brand value, which allowed BRD and Electrica to climb up a place each.
Digi (RCS&RDS) consolidated its brand value with a 24% increase to EUR 186m, based on turnover growth and improved brand equity following the deployment of the DIGI brand. If it stays on course, it is likely that DIGI may feature in the global Brand Finance Telecoms 300 ranking next year.
Ranking 6th, Banca Transilvania maintains its title as the most valuable Romanian banking brand – valued at EUR 148m, up 14% from last year – and the only Romanian bank to have been included in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2018.
With operations in Europe and the US, Bitdefender remains Romania’s most valuable technology brand, worth EUR 118m. Besides the best-performance awards for its antivirus software worldwide, Bitdefender achieved an important validation of its business following an equity transaction in 2017, when the company was valued at over USD 600m.
“Smaller nations can punch above their weight by relying on intangible assets, such as brands. Therefore, the solid increase in brand value, the consolidation of brand strength, and the fact that five out of the top 10 brands have extensive international presence are all excellent news for Romania. Furthermore, this showcase should energise many aspiring local entrepreneurs, who might realise that brand value is a strong, universal currency,” Mihai Bogdan, Managing Director, Brand Finance Romania said.
The supremacy of the retail and banking brands
On a sectorial view, apart from the particular automotive category of one, the retail sector (including e-commerce) has continued to generate the most brand value, with a total worth of EUR 1,078m – a striking 33% surge year-on-year, with all the 11 retail brands in the league table enjoying an increase in value. The most valuable among them are the e-commerce star eMAG and the leading DIY chain Dedeman (which remains the most valuable brand with 100% Romanian shareholding), both recording high brand value growth rates, of 27% and 47% respectively.
Bank brands continue to fare strongly in the Brand Finance Romania 50 study, generating EUR 419m in brand value as a sector, and claiming three places among the top 10. However, within the category, the evolution was uneven, with Banca Transilvania and BRD enjoying strong growth, while BCR, CEC Bank, and Bancpost slid down the ranks following brand value decreases.
New & old, in & out
New brands – created and developed by private entrepreneurs and companies over the past 29 years – make up more than half of the Brand Finance Romania 50 league table, generating almost EUR 2 billion in brand value.
Of the old brands, it is particularly regrettable to see TVR lose brand value and slide down to the bottom of the table. Valued at EUR 15 million, TVR now ranks 49th out of 50 brands – a downfall determined by its diminishing economic performance and relevance.
Two new brands entered the table this year, namely the pharma retail chain Dona at 46th and the insurance company Asirom at 48th.
Inevitably, for each brand entering the table, another one is left out. This year, Azomures and Siveco are no longer to be found in the top 50 ranking. These changes are a standard occurrence and not necessarily a sign of bad brand performance on the part of the outgoing brands. It is rather that other brands, across different categories and markets, have grown more over the same period of time – a sign of a dynamic brand landscape.
“The crucial relationship between brands and their main stakeholders – consumers – has been tried over the past year, when Romanian civil society voiced its expectation that top brands take a stance and withdraw from media channels that proliferate fake news and prejudice. It has been an important reminder for brands that their financial value cannot be locked in a safe, but rather, depends on the hearts and minds of the people, ” Mihai Bogdan, Managing Director, Brand Finance Romania opined.
Next to analysing individual brands, the Brand Finance Romania 50 study also ranks the 10 most valuable portfolios of brands, calculated for those businesses that deploy more than one brand on the market. These portfolios encompass over 40 well-known local brands, most valuable of which are also ranked individually in the main top 50 league table.
Valued at EUR 139m, up 21% from last year, Ursus Breweries continues to top the portfolios league table. The company also boasts three brands in the national top 50 – including the eponym Ursus brand (EUR 31m) and the oldest and most valuable brand beer, Timisoreana (EUR 60m). The list of the top 10 brand portfolios, with a combined value of EUR 552m, remains virtually unchanged from last year, while all companies enjoyed significant growth – an average of 19% up from 2017.
Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is assessed through a balanced scorecard of factors (such as marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance) and used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.