Qatar Airways is no longer considered to be one of the most valuable brands in the Middle East, according to a new business report.
Uncertain revenue forecasts and the falling price of oil have caused the airline’s brand value to plummet in the past year, UK consultancy Brand Finance said.
According to the 2017 edition of its Middle East 50, the airline is now ranked 11th, down seven spots from last year.
This is because it is estimated to have lost 38 percent of its brand value, which it now worth about $2.2 billion.
The past year hasn’t been a good one for other Gulf carriers, either.
Dubai-based Emirates for example had been #1 in the Middle East rankings since Brand Finance began producing them in 2010.
But this year, the airline fell to second place for the first time, after its brand value dropped 21 percent to $6.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Etihad fell two spots to 20th, to a brand value of $1.6 billion.
Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said market forces had more to do with the rankings than any major missteps by the big three GCC airlines.
In a statement, he explained that lower oil prices have “leveled the playing field for international rivals.”
This has increased competition and caused fares the drop, leading to worsening revenue forecasts.
The strengthening dollar has also had an impact on non-US brands, he added.
However, Qatar Airways remains the nation’s strongest brand, even though it’s not the most valuable, Brand Finance said.
That score is based on marketing and brand management factors such as familiarity, consideration, preference, satisfaction, recommendation, governance and sustainability.
How the rankings work
According to Brand Finance, rankings are determined by the “value” of a company’s brand.
This is calculated by estimating the hypothetical royalties one would have to pay to use it.
Factors include an emotional connection to the brand, the company’s financial performance and sustainability, among others.
The average royalty rates in the company’s industry and the size of the firm’s revenue also play a role.
The rankings come on the heels of a new electronics ban enforced by the US and UK, which analysts say is likely to make the rest of the year much more challenging for Middle East carriers.
QNB and Ooredoo
Not all Qatar companies are faring poorly, however.
Ooredoo for example jumped into the top 10 list this year, moving up from 11th place to sixth. The company’s brand value has increased by a whopping 48 percent to $3.1 billion in the past year.
Another telecom company, Saudi-based STC, took the #1 spot after its brand value increased 11 percent to $6.2 billion.
But some of the strongest performances this year were in the banking industry, which accounted for 43 percent of the Middle East’s total brand value in 2017.
Qatar National Bank (QNB) continued to be the most valuable bank brand in the region, surging 56 percent of $3.8 billion.
It moved up one spot to fourth, in part due to its expansion in Asia and Africa, the report said.
The number of Qatar companies in the Middle East 50 list held steady at eight this year.
In addition to QNB, it included several other financial firms, such as Commercial Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank and Doha Bank.