Qatar’s national carrier has become the first local company to be listed among an annual ranking of the world’s top 500 brands, according to UK-based strategy company Brand Finance.
Qatar Airways joins three other Gulf companies – fellow airline Emirates and telecom companies STC and Etisalat – in a list otherwise dominated by brands from the US, China, Japan and Europe.
To compile its Global 500 list, Brand Finance analyzed a company’s annual marketing spend, its familiarity, customer loyalty, staff satisfaction and its corporate reputation, giving each company a ranking on its Brand Strength Index (BSI.)
Qatar Airways was listed as the 451st most valuable brand.
Emirates meanwhile is 171st, up 34 places from last year’s list; Saudi Arabia’s STC is 255th, down six places; and the UAE’s Etisalat is 319th, up 25 places from last year.
Topping the rankings this year is Apple, followed by fellow global giants Google, Samsung and Amazon.
The ranking comes as Qatar Airways unveils a new branding campaign, “Going Places Together,” that includes an unorthodox safety video featuring famous athletes from Spanish football club FC Barcelona.
With new routes to the US, as well as plans to fly to Australia and New Zealand, the carrier has been expanding rapidly.
Speaking to Doha News, Robert Haigh, Communications Director at Brand Finance, said that the Qatar Airways “staff” score in the index – used to calculate the company’s ranking – was “down significantly” suggesting that recent high profile criticism of working conditions of the airline’s cabin crew “may well have had an effect.”
He added that this meant that the company’s brand value growth was “lower than it could have been.”
Brand Finance assessed Qatar Airways’ brand to be worth around $3.5 billion, compared to Emirates’ $7.7 billion, STC’s $5.6 billion and Etisalat’s $4.6 billion.
Aside from Qatar Airways and Emirates, seven other airlines made the list: Delta (218th), American (227th), British Airways (316th), United (327th), Air China (364th), Southwest (426th), and China Eastern (464th).
This story was edited at 2100 on February 1st to add new comment from Brand Finance on Qatar Airways’ “staff” scoring.