Publisher’s Note: The selection criteria and ranking process of Top 25 Most Transformative Corporate Brands Impacting Business

Brands that scored highly in most of these criteria ranks higher up the list. As Nick Stamoulis remarks, brand rankings much like college rankings seem like they will always vary because criteria vary depending on who is doing the ranking.

By Dr Hanningtone Gaya, CEO – The Knowledge Warehouse Kenya

It is allowed that each media ranking entity do establish its own and unique ranking. It is expected that the ranking is premised on the media outlet’s own criteria, of course weighted by its own way.  If time and space allowed, the media outlet is expected to provide rankings within certain categories. Resources in East Africa does facilitate this methodology. Hence, this publication provides an overall ranking from the aggregate derived from the criteria. Of great consolation, is the fact that the media outlets engaged in these rankings, do also compete for brand positioning in the same fashion to the brands they rate. This makes it imperative that the rankings have to be objective and credible in the eyes of a reasonable and knowledgeable observer.

In this issue, the following 10 criteria guided the shortlisting, consideration, elimination and subsequent ranking. They are listed alongside the firms that score highly in the subjective evaluation as captured by various mainstream media outlets:

  • Ability to surmounting most of the adversities endemic in the industry or sector.
  • Public expression of the desire for customer focus, engagement and experience.
  • Alignment of declared brand values to target customer expectations.
  • Attraction and retention of talents and good quality capital.
  • Innovative business model in use.
  • Consistent brand identity over the long-term.
  • Evidence of active support to declared brand promise.
  • Consistency in brand identity and improvement.
  • Distribution footprints or presence.
  • Evidence of active support of SDGs especially the ESGs.

Brands that scored highly in most of these criteria ranks higher up the list. As Nick Stamoulis remarks, brand rankings much like college rankings seem like they will always vary because criteria vary depending on who is doing the ranking. Nick adds that, ‘some brands, remain no matter what criteria is employed.

Secondly, the criteria were deliberate in order to support worthy and growing local brands. This is a responsibility of any credible media outlet.

Last, and in no way the least, the criteria chosen recognises the performance of state-owned enterprise (SOEs) and the efforts that the boards of these SOEs have put in place to surmount the mountain of challenges the SOEs face on a daily basis and efforts in introducing revenue streams.

The story of Quick Mart, from its humble beginning in the outskirts of Nakuru in 2006 to its acquisitions and subsequent attraction of Private Equity from outside the country, is most compelling, Quick Mart having started as a family business. It is a structured corporate run entity, with good governance practices, attracting professionals from all sectors, including expatriates, which has never been the norm for supermarkets in Kenya, hence the frequent failures.

Another compelling read is the growth journey of Saracen Media. Saracen Media opened its doors on October 1st 2002, the brainchild of four founding partners; Lenny Nganga, George Wanjohi, Sammy Thuo and Frank Maina, who had all worked for multi-national advertising agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, McCann Erickson, and TBWA, previously.

The dream of the founders was to establish a local media agency that would compete with the global agency groups in the area of media planning and buying, and elevate it beyond a subordinate role to the creative field, where a lot more emphasis was laid in selecting an agency, yet over 60% of budgets went into the media that connected audiences with the creative message.

In terms of organizational culture, the founders have been very deliberate about the kind of corporate environment they wanted to create and maintain, having worked at different agencies and seeing the best and worst of the different cultures tenable in the country, a feat that remains a mirage for many corporates in Kenya, including multinationals (MNCs). They deliberately set out and have ensured the following:

•   A collegial environment where co-workers are supportive, and foster a familial bond.

•   No office politics.

•   Open door policy by senior management.

•    Constant learning embedded into everyone’s KPI’s.

•    A sense of fun and enjoyment at work.

•    Excellence in the media craft.

Twiga Foods is another case study, from business incubation to a globally competitive brand. Twiga’s growth has enabled it to attract billions of shillings in long-term investments from leading development finance institutions, venture capital funds and private equity funds. 

The demand for petroleum products in Kenya has steadily risen in the last decade, thanks to a strong economic growth. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Economic Survey of 2022 indicates that Kenya imported 6.4 million tonnes of petroleum fuel in 2021. This almost triples the volume in 2011, where 2.2 million tonnes were imported.

Being futuristic, KPC has taken a bold step to diversify its revenue streams to reduce dependence only on distribution and storage of petroleum products services. A key pillar in KPC’s diversification strategy is venturing into Fibre Optic Cable (FOC) infrastructure. A classic case study for all directors of SOEs in Kenya and globally, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Without pre-empting your read, the 25 top corporate brands listed in this edition, have earned their place, if not exceeding the expectations of all the stakeholders, including minimum the ESGs expectations.

For those who have not made the cut this time, 2023 is another year, and represents an opportunity.


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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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