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Revealed: Middle East & Africa’s favorite brands

Revealed: Middle East & Africa’s favorite brands

Middle East and Africa’s favorite brands have recently been unveiled in Talkwalker’s latest industry report ‘Brand Love 2021’. The report expands on what brand love is in the digital age and how the COVID-19 affected it for both the brands and consumers. Also, the report evaluates over 1200 global brands to come up with a ranking of the world’s top 50 loved brands during 2021.

Read Talkwalker’s latest ‘Brand Love Report 2021’

Brand love is increasingly becoming a metric to measure the success of any marketing strategy. Unlike brand affinity, loyalty, or engagement, brand love is much more powerful in creating meaningful and long-term relationships between consumers and brands.

Engagement and overall sentiment offer brands a limited view on how they are perceived, however, brand love is a more malleable metric especially as it relies on trust, impact on the community, and Net Promoter Score®.

The concept of brand love is not something entirely new, though it remains on the sidelines of marketing reporting given that it’s difficult to measure. Last year, the pandemic drove brands to maximize the use of conversational data to retain and develop their relationship with consumers shaped by face-to-face interactions.

Explore the world’s top 50 most loved brands for 2021

The pandemic caused a seismic shift in consumer spending behavior, shopping habits, and selection criteria. People moved away from novel purchases and towards bargains. Consumers are, to some extent, rewriting the contract with brands with a completely different set of priorities and sense of purpose. Consumers are more likely to become brand fans who advocate on their behalf if they see the brands engaging with them as humans who are trustworthy, genuine, and approachable. Brands must prioritize turning brand ‘crush’ into brand love if they want to win the hearts of the Generation Z audience.

Before brand love can happen, consumers expect brands to be vocal about matters they care about and to directly address issues such as racism, social inequality, and climate change. Being cool and relevant won’t be sufficient for companies striving for short-term survival and long-term growth.

Find out which brands made this year’s Brand Love ranking

In ‘Brand Love 2021’ Talkwalker explores how the pandemic is changing the relationship between consumers and brands. This year’s most loved brands range from big names that have always been there for us, to newcomers who are disrupting the space not only by being ‘woke’, but also acting upon their promises.

Below we take a look at the MEA region’s favorite brands for 2021 that have helped us cope with the new way we live, work, and entertain ourselves.

1. Fortnite

Gaming has taken the biggest share of love this year, and for good reason. As people stayed indoors for extended periods, they sought new ways to socialize and distract themselves. Gamers have long been stigmatized as being antisocial or lacking empathy. However, when the pandemic hit, the narrative shifted and gamers were seen as cultural producers capable of mobilizing the community around them. Fortnite’s growing popularity lies primarily in its community of gamers and content creators. With over 26K members in its community-led Discord server and 4.2M subscribers on Twitch, it’s clear that gamers are uniting.

22.4% of Fortnite mentions in the MEA region came from Saudi Arabia, and the affiliated emotions are generally positive and reaffirming

22.4% of Fortnite mentions in the MEA region came from Saudi Arabia, and the affiliated emotions are generally positive and reaffirming

Fortnite received over 13K mentions during the first 5 months of this year, with most around gamer-generated videos on YouTube such as AboFlah, BanderitaX, and xxYJYxx.

2. Samsung

Despite the global shortage of microchips and the ongoing supply chain bottlenecks, Samsung successfully hyped up the launch of their latest line up of flagship products. Samsung has held 3 Unpacked events so far in 2021, with all contributing to the brand becoming one of the most loved in the MEA region.

Looking at the number of mentions of ‘Samsung’ over the past 5 months we realize there’s a unique peak around mid-January, when the S21 phone was publicly revealed.

Timeline of ‘Samsung’ results in the MEA region during the past 5 months, in addition to the sentiment cloud surrounding those mentions.

Timeline of ‘Samsung’ results in the MEA region during the past 5 months, in addition to the sentiment cloud surrounding those mentions.

What’s even more important is the fact that people affiliated the Galaxy S21 phone with positive reviews and overall sentiment.

3. Anghami

Being the only homegrown brand on this year’s list shows how successful Anghami has been in turning a bad situation into a good one. Beyond its heart-shaped logo, the company delivers a seamless customer experience to millions of Arab listeners around the world. More specifically, the platform had recently reimagined its interface to become more intuitive and user friendly. Another win from the Anghami team in recent months is their pledge of $3M in free ads for small businesses and $1.5M worth of Amplify credits for local artists to promote their music. Gaining brand love is an active and ongoing effort.

Most recently, Anghami was able to get listed on the NASDAQ through a SPAC merger, which gave fans the opportunity to congratulate them on their success.

Key sentiment drivers around ‘Anghami’ in the MEA region during 2021.

Key sentiment drivers around ‘Anghami’ in the MEA region during 2021


On that occasion, Anghami announced an exclusive partnership with Lebanese diva Elissa, to publish her podcast on the platform, which enabled them to have tremendous reach and influence over MENA listeners.

Having superfans defending your brand is an asset and a liability

4. PepsiCo

Pepsi’s marketing strategy continues to reinvent itself amid shifting consumer behavior and preference, especially when it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle. Among the several channels that Pepsi leverages to communicate with consumers, event sponsorships and celebrity endorsements continue to be the best strategies to establish brand awareness and love.

For example, one of the most engaging tweets this year came from the International Cricket Council’s account which celebrated Rohit Sharma’s birthday and clearly features Pepsi’s logo in the background behind the umpire. Check out the original tweet below, specifically at 0:38:

Pepsi touched people’s hearts through celebrity athletes like Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho, and more. The thing that African audiences loved most was the collaboration with Nigerian music producer Burna Boy.

Conversations mentioning both ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Burna Boy’ during the past 5 month have reached 10.7K results in Africa alone and 46.4% of those are positive comments celebrating the Nigerian talent.

A sample of the results that include both ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Burna’ during the past 5 months in Africa.

A sample of the results that include both ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Burna’ during the past 5 months in Africa.

5. Oppo

The first thing you see when you go to Oppo Middle East’s website is the face of a fuzzy-haired Egyptian guy with a few Premier League achievements under his belt: Mo Salah. Oppo’s partnership with the Liverpool player was a huge success, especially with their latest campaign garnering over 2 million views on YouTube:

Besides the tier-A partnership with the global superstar, Oppo entered the MEA market as an affordable and reliable alternative to premium smartphones that might be beyond the budget of many consumers. Embracing their affordability (highlighting their relatively low prices) has enabled them to gain people’s trust, and therefore their love.

In addition to Oppo’s celebrity collaborations with superstars like Mohamed Hamaki, their team made active efforts to not only acquire market share but also become a household name for all things technology. The Chinese brand spared no effort to capture people’s attention through product giveaways, sporting events sponsorships, influencer relationships, and even memes.

Emotions affiliated with Oppo in the MEA region during the past 5 months

Emotions affiliated with Oppo in the MEA region during the past 5 months.

Talkwalker will be holding a global expert series related to the topic of brand love and what brands can do to maximize their relationship with consumers.

Brand love story 2021 - download the report