Swedish global home furnishing brand IKEA (brand value up 2% to EUR15.4 billion) has achieved an uplift in revenues despite relatively flat volumes as it implemented price hikes to offset inflation and supply chain issues.
Nonetheless, 2023 saw IKEA expand its retail operations, becoming available in markets including Estonia, Oman, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and South America. In addition to global expansion, IKEA has also continued to take steps towards opening more city-centre stores in a bid to improve in-store visits and encourage consumer loyalty.
Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes over 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 500 most valuable and strongest European brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Europe 500 2023 ranking.
Anna Brolin, Managing Director of Brand Finance Nordics, said, “IKEA has sought to support its position in what continues to be a challenging business environment by implementing price hikes, but the negative impact on consumer perceptions does present some difficulties for the brand.
“IKEA now needs to address consumers’ concerns by improving brand communication to regain trust and equity, and prove it remains the leading affordable home furnishings and solutions provider, not just in Sweden, but across the whole European market.”
Fellow Swedish brand ICA makes the top 10 for brand strength out of 500 brands
ICA (brand value up 37% to EUR1.7 billion) is the 6th strongest European brand, with an impressive BSI (Brand Strength Index) score of 89/100 and an AAA rating. A high brand loyalty score and positive consumer perceptions relating to ICA’s quality, range of products and usage, has propelled the brand’s strength. The brand has also increased its brand strength through its sustainability initiatives, having recently won the United Nations climate award, and supporting consumers with a wide range of ethically sourced and labelled products.
Norweigan giant AkerBP is the European oil and gas brand with the most brand value growth
AkerBP’s (brand value up 130% to EUR2.7 billion) impressive brand value increase saw it climb an immense 186 places in this year’s ranking. This increase can be attributed to the brand’s acquisition of Lundin Energy’s exploration and production business and resulting improved market share. In turn, AkerBP’s improved financial performance due to increased revenues have contributed to this impressive brand value growth. Looking ahead, AkerBP can expect significant increases in production as it plans to invest approximately EUR13 billion in development projects.
Danish brand MAERSK is the second most-valuable European logistics brand, brand value EUR7.1 billion
Denmark’s MAERSK (brand value up 71% to EUR7.1 billion) has achieved record revenues this past year, with forecasts increasing in a similar manner. Maersk has expanded its air cargo business, now offering direct flights between Korea, China, and the US.
These services will connect manufacturing and commercial hubs in eastern China with those in the US East Coast and Mid-West, amongst other key routes. It has also acquired LF Logistics, the brand’s most consequential acquisition to date, further enhancing its footprint in Asia.
Finnish dairy Valio has the second-highest Sustainability Perceptions Score (SPS) in the Europe 500 ranking
As Finland’s biggest exporter of food products, Valio (brand value up 13% to EUR1.4 billion) has sustainability at the forefront of its communication with stakeholders. Owned by 4,000 dairy farms through cooperatives that supply raw milk to Valio, the brand has worked towards supplying more sustainable food options, while also supporting the communities and areas that it works in. This has built a strong sustainability perception amongst stakeholders and contributed to its positive performance in this metric in the ranking.
Nordic countries perform strongly in terms of Soft Power
Of the 121 countries included in Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index 2023, Sweden (11th) climbed three places since last year’s ranking, Norway (17th) and Denmark (18th) each maintained their rankings, and Finland (22nd) and Iceland (34th) also climbed three ranks.
Despite their relatively small economies on the global stage, Nordic countries performed strongly in terms of perceived “Business & Trade”.
In addition, all Nordic countries ranked in the top fifteen for “Sustainable Future”: Sweden 3rd, Norway 5th, Denmark 9th, Finland 10th, and Iceland 15th, indicative of Nordic countries’ leading position in sustainable development. These two elements are viewed favourably by the world as important factors for shaping the future of nation branding.
Deutsche Telekom is the most valuable European brand, brand value EUR60.7 billion
German telecoms provider Deutsche Telekom (brand value up 17% to EUR60.7 billion) has surpassed former champion Mercedes-Benz (brand value up 8% to EUR56.7 billion) to become the most valuable European brand. Building on its success as the second most valuable telecoms brand globally, Deutsche Telekom’s latest title as the most valuable European brand comes as a result of strong revenue growth across European markets and increasing customer numbers. The latter has also significantly propelled the brand’s growth in the US, which has seen record customer additions.