Canadian brands could lose 16% of their value

Brand Finance's predictions come with its annual report, which ranks TD and Canada Life as the country's most valuable brands.

 

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Canada Life is the country’s fastest growing brand and TD the most valuable, according to this year’s brand value report from Brand Finance.

But it also predicts that the value of the top 100 Canadian brands could plummet $45 billion thanks to the pandemic, roughly 16% of their current value.

When it comes to impact of COVID-19, the report lists the expected worst-hit industries as aviation, oil and gas, tourism and leisure, restaurants and retail. With respect to airlines, Brand Finance says prior to the pandemic, Air Canada was the fastest growing airline brand in the world from January 2019 to January 2020.

However, according to Brand Finance CEO David Haigh, “it is not all doom and gloom. Some brands will fare better under COVID-19: Amazon, Netflix, WhatsApp, and Skype are all booming.”

The finding came alongside Brand Finance’s annual assessment of the most valuable brands in Canada and globally, which was conducted prior to the pandemic. The consulting firm assesses brand value based on value of the entire enterprise, the value of a single branded business, the overall uplift in shareholder value that the business derives from owning the brand and the value of the trademark and associated marketing IP within the business. In short, “brand value” is understood as the economic benefit a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

Storied insurer, Canada Life vaulted into the sixth spot in brand value from 57th in 2019, making it the fastest growing brand, followed by tech consultant CGI and QSR chain A&W. Canada Life’s meteoric rise in value is attributed to the “brave strategic decision by parent company Great-West Lifeco, which consolidated its Canada Life, London Life, and Great-West Life sub-brands under a single banner.”

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CGI is poised to thrive in a highly competitive global IT sector, according to the findings, while A&W has opened 50 new restaurants in the last financial year, with the promise of more. The chain was also the first major QSR to adopt plant-based protein burgers to their main menu, something Brand Finance calls a “courageous” move.

TD supplanted RBC for the first time since 2013 as Canada’s Most Valuable Brand. Brand Finance attributes this to the big bank’s further expansion into the U.S., which now accounts for 42% of TD’s brand value, as well as maintaining strong customer equity on home soil.

In the report, Theresa McLaughlin, TD’s global chief marketing, citizenship and customer experience officer, says its purpose and brand promise have never been more important, especially during the pandemic. She says the bank will continue to build its purpose-driven brand through the “Ready Commitment” CSR platform and corporate citizenship strategy, which will differentiate it and guide decision making on its community focus and investments.

 

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Telecommunications giants Bell, Telus and Rogers all headed south in brand value, though still held the eighth, ninth and tenth spots in Canada, respectively, with Rogers losing the most ground in terms of value change of the three, at 15.4%. The sector slip is partly due to what Brand Finance calls a “resentful relationship between brand and customer” as a result of perceptions of overpricing. These brands, however, will withstand COVID-19 headwinds thanks to opportunities to leverage the increased worldwide demand for reliable connectivity.

Among the biggest brand value losers were Dairyland, Neilson and PokerStars, down roughly 61%, 58% and 40% year-over-year, respectively. Still-beleaguered Tim Hortons saw its brand value sink by 21%.

The report also compiles a list of the ”strongest” brands, based on factors that create brand loyalty and market share, perceptions of the brand among different stakeholder groups (“with customers being the most important”) and quantitative measures representing the success of the brand in achieving price and volume premium. While 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 the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Spirits maker Crown Royal knocked WestJet off its perch as the country’s strongest brand (and achieving status as the “strongest whiskey brand in the world”), with an AAA strength index score of 88.1 out of 100, thanks to increased investment in its brand from Diageo.