21 February 2017

KSA loves food, communications

Source: Yougov Brandindex. Top ranked-brands for KSA in 2016.
Source: Yougov Brandindex. Top ranked-brands for KSA in 2016.

The YouGov Brandindex rankings for 2016 reflect an eclectic love affair for brands. Brands were rated using BrandIndex’s Buzz score* which asks respondents, “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

The Buzz Rankings chart shows the brands with the highest average Buzz scores* between January and December 2016. According to YouGov:

1 Almarai (non-mover)

Source: YouGov Brandindex website. Al Marai makes dairy products.
Source: YouGov Brandindex website. Almarai makes food and dairy products.
The largest vertically integrated dairy producer in the Middle East ignited social media in 2016 with the launch of its film on mother’s milk and its family-focused advertising. The mother’s milk video became the second most shared video on YouTube in the world in one week and came in globally as the 7th most shared video of 2016. This also made the brand the third-most popular fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand on Facebook with over 45 million views.

According to Euromonitor's Dairy in Saudi Arabia report, Almarai leads in the cheese, drinking milk as well as yoghurt and sour milk categories.

2 WhatsApp (up three places)

The world’s most popular messaging app has moved up from fifth place in 2015 to second place in 2016. The Facebook-owned app is one of the most popular ways to communicate in KSA.

3 Apple (non-mover)

The release of the new MacBook Pro, iOS 10 Software, the Apple Watch Series 2 and the iPhone 7 with wireless AirPods have not affected Apple’s rank greatly.

Source: ALBAIK Facebook page.
Source: ALBAIK Facebook page. Banner for Earth Hour 2017.

4 ALBAIK (non-mover)

ALBAIK has been making the headlines for its corporate social responsibility initiatives throughout 2016. The brand’s Please Park It Right community initiative received the Global SABRE Award as one of the world’s top 40 CSR programmes at end-2015. 2016 saw the kingdom’s leading quick service chicken restaurant hit the headlines for switching off its lights to mark Earth Hour and sponsoring the fourth Saudi Youth Sports Initiative aimed at enriching the lives of youth and contributing to the development of soccer and basketball in Jeddah.

5 iPhone (up one place)

The smartphone brand from Apple introduced water-resistance and an improved camera, which were welcomed by consumers.

6 YouTube (up two places)

Owing to the continued increase in content, as well as the introduction of 4K and 360° video, the world’s largest video-streaming platform continues to grow in popularity in the region.

7 Samsung (down five places)

Samsung is at seventh place after falling from second place in the 2015 rankings. Samsung has gone through a tough period with the company recall of some 2.5 million Note 7 devices following multiple battery issues worldwide, but has still maintained high levels of positive Buzz throughout 2016. The release of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Pink Gold version smartphones exclusively for the Saudi market helped boost Samsung’s BrandIndex scores.

8 Saudi Airlines (new entry)

Saudi Arabia’s flagship airline has fallen from sixth place since its debut in the 2016 mid-year rankings. Saudia has announced fleet retirement and renewal for 2017, new flight routes, and the delivery of its first A330-300 regional aircraft which will boost capacity on several of the  Saudi Arabian airline's most in-demand routes. 2016 also saw the carrier win platinum status for Fast Travel implementation from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

9 Toyota (new entry)

New launches, announcements and awards sawToyota land 9th place. In the last six months, the popular car brand achieved success at the 2016 Middle East Car of the Year (MECOTY) Awards, winning recognition for the Best Midsize Sedan and Best Midsize Truck. Toyota also chose KSA to make its GCC debut launch of the new 2016 Toyota Prius. A partnership with Uber also hit the headlines following the announcement the two brands will create new leasing options in which car purchasers can lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services.

10 Emirates (new entry)

Emirates has entered the Buzz Rankings in Saudi Arabia for the first time. The airline has capitalised on the positive and downplayed the negative to increase its reach across the region.

Source: Yougov Brandindex. Top Buzz improvers over 2016 for KSA.
Source: Yougov Brandindex. Top Buzz improvers over 2016 for KSA.

The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz comparing scores in years 2015 and 2016. Both scores are representative of the general population.

The top Buzz improvers were Mobily, Zain and Snapchat. Notably, KFC and Malaysia Airlines went from negative scores to positive scores in in 2016.

Other highlights included:

+Automotive brands Toyota, Mercedes Benz and BMW were in the top three. Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Mazda saw the best improvements in Buzz rankings.

+For restaurants and eateries Al Baik, Al Tazaj and Pizza Hut topped the list. KFC, McDonald's and Hardee's did best on Buzz improvements. In KFC's case, the scoring moved from negative to the low positives.

+Retailers IKEA, Panda, and Jarir were the best known brands. EXtra, Carrefour and Souq.com made the most gains for Buzz.

+The consumer electronics space was dominated by Apple, Samsung and Sony. Nikai, which makes audiovisual equipment and phablets, Black & Decker and JVC demonstrated the most Buzz improvement, the first from a negative score to a positive one.

+In the area of finance, Al Rajhi Bank, National Commercial Bank (NCB, Al Ahli), and Alinma Bank won out. GIB, Saudi Investment Bank and Alawwal Bank made the most gains in Buzz.

+The travel category saw airlines Saudia, Emirates and Qatar Airways as its three leaders. Malaysia Airlines, Saudia and Air France/KLM grew in popularity over the last year, from negative to positive in Malaysia Airlines' case.


Watch the Almarai mother's milk video (Arabic). At the time of writing the video had been viewed over 12 million times

Read how Almarai rode on YouTube to reach its target audience in KSA in 2016

Watch the Please Park it Right video from ALBAIK (Arabic)