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Airline Norwegian named Norway’s fastest growing brand

Norwegian has grown 78% in brand value to $853 million but it is far from being Norway’s most valuable brand.

Airline brand Norwegian is Norway’s fastest growing brand with value up 78% to $853 million, a study has revealed.

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies. A brand’s strength is assessed (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, preference, sustainability and margins) to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand. This is projected into perpetuity and discounted to determine the brand’s value.

Ambitious expansion

Norwegian’s ambitious expansion though investing in cheap long-haul flights to America and the Far East is giving established airlines worldwide cause for concern. Creative, attention-grabbing, marketing tactics have supported this investment. Norwegian cheekily capitalised on the break-up of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, releasing an ad (which soon went viral) with the strapline ‘Brad is Single’ as a reason for customers to jump on a flight to LA. Norwegian’s marketing is agile and digital-led, saving money (which helps to improve ROI) but is also clearly effective.

Statoil tops the table with a brand value of $7.6 billion and a 16% growth year on year. It is also the country’s most powerful brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) of 82. Statoil’s Q1 results for 2017 significantly exceeded market expectations, with reported operating profit of $3.3 billion compared to $857 million in 2016, buoyed by recovering crude prices.

The recent rebranding of Statoil stations into Circle K will mean a reduction in the visibility of the brand in the public arena. However, the sale of the downstream business to Couche-Tard has allowed Statoil to channel its focus onto more profitable midstream and upstream sectors of the business, helping to consolidate the strength of the brand.

Despite the recent uptick in the oil price, Statoil is looking to the future to prepare for long term decline in the industry. 2016 saw the launch of Statoil Energy Ventures, one of the world’s largest renewable energy VC funds. Statoil also recently announced that by 2030 it plans to devote 15-20% of all spend on renewables, up from 5% today. This is essential from a purely financial point of view as we move into a new energy era, but at the same time it also helps to support the Statoil brand, improving CSR metrics and perceptions.

Storebrand is also embracing this trend. Just last month it launched two new fossil-free funds, calling on the Norwegian government to follow suit and reduce the country’s exposure to oil and gas. Recognising the changing face of the Norwegian society, it is making moves into Islamic finance.

These progressive moves are helping to improve brand reputation, but also the ‘consideration’ metric amongst emerging consumer groups. At an operational level, Storebrand has embarked on a digital transformation drive with an Indian IT firm Cognizant to refresh its current systems and help better track and respond to consumer behaviour. Storebrand’s brand value is up 13% to $521 million, securing 9th place among Norwegian brands.

Telenor defends second place, with a 15% increase in brand value from 2016 to $7.2 billion. As with many incumbent telecoms businesses, Telenor is vulnerable to disruptive innovations and the erosion of margins from core services such as data provision which are increasingly commoditised.

Telcos are under increasing pressure to offer multiple ‘play’ offerings and with this in mind, Telenor recently sealed partnership with Netflix, providing Telenor’s subscribers across Europe and Asia with easy access to digital TV. Telenor is also looking to tap into the rapidly growing Asian mobile advertising market and further expand its digital presence in the region.

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