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When we last published the Best Russian Brands Rankings in November 2008, the world economic crisis had just hit Russia. Nevertheless, the overall brand value of companies had risen by 6.4% compared to 2007, which mirrored the ongoing investment of all industries in “branding” as a company asset.

Today – two years later and taking into account the full impact of the crisis on the Russian economy as well as the entire world – we see that the total value of the 40 Best Russian Brands has decreased by almost 8% compared to 2008. Delving a bit deeper into the details, we have observed more or less two different behaviors during the past two years: one group of companies slowed down their brand communications activities (or even stopped them all together), whereas the other group took advantage of lower media costs and competitor silence to invest in rebranding and/or greater communications intensity – and thus significantly increased the value of their brands.

This resulted in a distinct divide between a number of industries: we see clear winners but also equally clear losers in financial services, telecommunications, beverages, dairy and retail. Looking at our recent rankings on a global scale (BestGlobalBrands.com), we see that this is also pretty much what happened around the world as well.

Despite these very difficult past two years, it remains an indisputable fact that the role and importance of brands in consumers’ lives is a constant. Brands – in their ability to create choice, build trust and loyalty and drive a premium price – are as important today as ever before. And as our short-term outlook on Russia’s situation within other BRIC countries already shows, Russian brands are clearly on the right track and will eventually enter the global arena – as long as the rules for professional brand building and management are followed. Until this happens, we will continue to watch the market closely and to provide our rankings in order to help raise awareness about the importance of branding.