The foremost foodstuff company in the Middle East, Almarai. became the most popular brand in Saudi Arabia, according to the 2016 Mid-Year BestBrand Rankings conducted by global market research firm YouGov.
Riyadh-based Almarai pulled off this feat by leveraging heavy digital multichannel campaigns to engage consumers. This year brought tremendous social media presence for Almarai whose film on breastfeeding became the second most shared film in the world within one week of launch. As per the research, Almarai also became the third most popular FMCG brand on Facebook.
“Almarai has continued to create the highest brand Buzz scores of over 300 brands in Saudi Arabia throughout 2016 so far,” Pranay Dandekar, head of consumer research for YouGov in MENA, told Gulf News Journal. “Brands who are demonstrating their affinity with digital assets are gaining in appeal and shining through in the rankings for the first half of 2016. The ability of social media to connect with consumers in a real-time one-to-one and broadcast fashion has the power to create high levels of positive Buzz.”
Using the Buzz score from its daily flagship brand tracker BrandIndex, YouGov conducted research to find out the best brands across 26 countries globally, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. BrandIndex Buzz is measured by asking 150 respondents a day if they have heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word-of-mouth. Subsequently, respondents are interviewed from YouGov’s online panel.
“Buzz scores are based on a two-week rolling average ranging from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive,” Dandekar said. “A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback. They measure recent brand sentiment and indicate the level and direction of recent awareness (positive or negative) about a brand.”
In Saudi Arabia, mobile messaging phenomenon WhatsApp holds on to second place for two years running. The introduction of end-to-end encryption providing full protection to users’ privacy was a welcome comfort to WhatsApp account holders in the kingdom this year. However, Samsung dropped two places since this time last year but has continued to create hype with the launch of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines reached a top spot in the BrandIndex in the UAE, followed by WhatsAPP and Samsung, while Facebook became the most popular brand in Egypt, where Google and Youtube attained second and third position respectively.
“Airlines have made a pronounced entry into the Mid-Year Rankings this year,” Dandekar said. “New domestic flights and exclusive services see Saudia (Saudi Airlines) make its debut appearance in sixth. Emirates now sits in ninth after a three-year absence, due to massive investments in digital and social assets in 2016 to disclose its in-flight experience to the masses.”
Brands that constantly innovate in terms of making relevant offers and promotions and reach out to consumers on a one-on-one basis through digital/social media have been able to maintain their leadership or improve their ranking in the kingdom, Dandekar said. Things happen every single day: a new product is launched, an advertising campaign begins, a PR event strikes. In this dynamic environment, it becomes critical for marketers to know exactly what effect these activities, both self-initiated as well as external factors, are having on their brand.
“YouGov's BrandIndex, which is a daily measure of brand perception, gives marketers a real-time picture of the brand’s health,” Dandekar said. “ BrandIndex not only helps marketers plan their brand’s long-term brand strategy but also understand how today’s events are impacting their brand.”