The importance of building a reputable and trusted brand can hardly be overstated. While numerous brands enter the market every year, the ones that capture a customer’s attention and confidence end up winning their trust. A customer judges a brand on multiple parameters like quality, service, pricing and desirability, and only those products that can live up to exacting standards, over time are able to win their trust.
While there is no magic wand to build a trustworthy brand, it is largely a function of a brand’s core principles. World-wide trusted brands enjoy international appeal, but they also establish a strong local connect, by imbibing and adapting to various cultures. Such brands have individual relevance for consumers across geographies and cultures.
OER-Arabian Research Bureau’s survey of ‘The Most Trusted Brands in Oman 2015’, is a definitive listing of the brands that have established an emotional connect with customers, by winning their loyalty and trust.According to the survey, the brands that have won the trust of customers in Oman and are most deserving of your emotional attachment, respect, patronage and loyalty are:
TOYOTA – AUTOMOTIVE (GENERAL)
Toyota is the undisputed leader in the general automotive category with its nearest challenger being Nissan. Toyota leads the pack both in the top management and executive segments. The success of Toyota in the Sultanate is also the result of the trust that Saud Bahwan Automotive has been able to generate due to its high service standards. Respondents’ confidence in Toyota is also reflected in the list of brands for each sub segment. Nissan is a consistent second in all sub-segments except amongst women executives where its place is taken by Honda.
BMW – AUTOMOTIVE (PREMIUM)
In the premium automotive category, BMW is the leader in both the executive and top management segments followed by Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Audi and Porsche. Not surprisingly, the same five brands also dominate each of the sub segments. In the top management category, Mercedes-Benz comes as a close second to BMW. Put together, the two brands dominate the charts in the top management category. The results indicate a marked preference for the technology, comfort and engineering standards set by these brands. The recall is in line with international choices.
OMAN AIR – AVIATION (GCC AIRLINES)
In the aviation sector, Oman Air is the most trusted brand amongst respondents in all segments and sub-segments followed by Emirates. Qatar Airways takes third place amongst executives, with Etihad being the third in the top management category. The top-of-mind recall for Oman Air comes from service, quality and on-time record set by the airline. The national carrier’s expansion drive, fleet upgradation and infrastructure upgradation in terms of airports have had a positive impact on Oman Air’s brand image.
BANK MUSCAT – BANKS
Bank Muscat is the overwhelming leader in the commercial banks category with its nearest challengers being BankDhofar in the executive segment and National Bank of Oman in the top management segment. NBO is named as the third most trusted brand in the executive segment while HSBC is the third most recalled brand amongst respondents from the top management category. Even across sub-segments, Bank Muscat is the clear leader. Amongst Omanis, Bank Dhofar is the second most preferred brand, while National Bank of Oman is placed second among expatriates.
GALFAR – CONSTRUCTION
Galfar Engineering and Contracting Company has been named as the most trusted brand in both the executive and top management segments. The company’s contribution to infrastructure development in the Sultanate, market size and visibility have helped Galfar to emerge as a clear favourite amongst construction companies. Despite the company’s domination, it is not a one-horse race. In the executive category, Bahwan Engineering Company is placed second with a comparative score of 11 per cent, while in the top management category, Consolidated Contractors Company is second with a similar score.
SAMSUNG – CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
In this sector, Samsung is the most trusted brand amongst all respondents by some distance. In the executive segment, Sony is second with a score of 11 per cent while in the top management segment, Apple is at No. 2 with a comparative score of 16 per cent. In the sub-segments, Apple comes second amongst Omani executives, while it is fourth in the expatriate executive segment after Samsung, Sony and LG. There seems to be a marked gender divide too. So while Apple is placed at No. 4 among male executives, it is the second most trusted brand for female executives.
SULTAN QABOOS UNIVERSITY – COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
Among the educational institutes, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) has emerged as the leader in both the top management and executive segments, followed by Majan College which scored 14 per cent in the top management and 12 per cent in the executives categories. College of Banking & Financial Studies takes the third spot among executives while Waljat College is placed third in the top management category. Waljat College also gets the third place among the executive and top management expatriates.
SHANGRI-LA’S BARR AL JISSAH RESORT AND SPA – HOTELS & RESORTS
Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is the most trusted hospitality brand in the executive and top management categories. Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton Hotel, is neck and neck with Barr Al Jissah in the executive segment and is also second to Barr al Jissah in the top management segment, with a comparative score of 16 per cent.
LULU – HYPERMARKETS/SUPERMARKETS
LuLu is the leader in this category followed by Carrefour, which has a comparative score of 27 per cent in the executive segment and 25 per cent in the top management segment. Other supermarket/hypermarket brands have comparatively lower scores in both the executive and top management segments. LuLu is also the leader in all the sub-segments followed by Carrefour. The Sultan Center is the third trusted brand overall with favourable scores coming from the top management segment.
DHOFAR INSURANCE – Delighting customers
Dhofar Insurance is the leader in both executive and top management segments. Al Ahlia Insurance is chosen as the second most trusted brand in the executive segment with a comparative score of 12 per cent while it is third in the top management segment with a score of 9 per cent. Axa Insurance is the second best among the top management respondents with a comparative score of 14 per cent.
SAMSUNG & APPLE – MOBILE PHONES
Samsung is the top trusted mobile phone in the executive segment followed closely by Apple which has a comparative score of 31 per cent. In the top management segment, Apple is the most trusted brand with Samsung coming a close second with a comparative score of 31 per cent. The same results are mirrored across the sub-segments albeit with Apple being the top trusted brand among executive Omanis. Nokia is the third most trusted brand across all sub-segments except for executive Omanis and executive females where Sony takes its place.
SAMSUNG – GENERAL
Samsung is the most trusted brand in general among respondents in all segments and sub-segments. Among executives, it is followed by Apple, Sony and Toyota. In the top management segment, Toyota is the second most trusted brand with a comparative score of 10 per cent followed closely by Apple. Sony is placed fourth with a score of 6 per cent. In the sub-segments, the category of ‘Others’ has higher results reflective of the large pool of general brands trusted and preferred by the respondents.
BANK MUSCAT & OMAN AIR – OMANI BRANDS
When it comes to the most trusted Omani brands in general, Bank Muscat is favoured by 12 per cent of executives, while Omantel comes a close second with 11 per cent and Oman Air is placed third with 10 per cent. However, 13 per cent of top management respondents opt for Oman Air as their most trusted brand, followed by Omantel and Amouage who score 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively. Among Omanis in the top management, Amouage is a clear leader with 20 per cent.
SHELL & OMANOIL – FUEL RETAILING COMPANIES
Among fuel companies, Oman Oil Marketing Company and Shell Oman Marketing Company are level pegging in the executive segment with 38 per cent each, while in the top management segment, Shell scores 41 per cent, notching up a 6 per cent lead over Oman Oil. Among expatriate consumers across the segments, Shell enjoys a slight edge over its immediate competitor. The third contender Al Maha scores 24 per cent in both segments.
AL RAFFAH&MUSCAT PRIVATE HOSPITAL -HOSPITALS & CLINICS
In the private healthcare sector, Al Raffah is the most trusted hospital brand amongst executives, scoring 20 per cent followed by Badr al Samaa at 18 per cent and Muscat Private Hospital at 16 per cent. Al Raffah is the top choice among Omani executives while Badr al Samaa is the most trusted brand among expatriate executives. In the top management segment, Muscat Private Hospital is a clear leader with 30 per cent, while Al Raffah is a distant second with a 15 per cent score.
AL HABIB & CLUTTONS – REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT
Amongst real estate management companies, Al Habib is neck and neck with Cluttons scoring 15 per cent each in the executive segment, while Cluttons leads the top management category with 24 per cent followed by Al Habib which scores 20 per cent. However, various operators not listed here are favoured by a total of 17 per cent executive and 11 per cent top management respondents.
OMANTEL – TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Omantel tops the Telecommunications category in both executive and top management segments and across all sub segments. While as many as 42 per cent executive and 46 per cent top management respondents opt for Omantel as their most trusted brand, Ooredoo comes a close second with 40 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. Friendi Mobile is the third most trusted brand across all segments and sub-segments.
ROLEX – WATCHES
Rolex is preferred as the most trusted brand by both the executive and top management respondents, followed by Rado and Citizen. Rolex is also the leader across the Omani, expatriate, male and female sub segments. Amongst female executives, Titan and Tissot come second and third respectively, while Citizen is the second most trusted brand for executive expatriates. However, various brands not mentioned here are favoured by 40 per cent executive respondents and 22 per cent top management executives.
OER’s ‘Most Trusted Brands in Oman 2015′ survey is an attempt to track the strength various brands’ relationship with their consumers. OER intends to understand the dynamic market environment and its impact on both Omani and multinational brands. The survey was conducted from January 4 to April 2, 2015 by Arabian Research Bureau (ARB) on behalf of OER.
The survey is an effort to measure the recall that brands enjoy with consumers, in an increasingly cluttered market.
How we did it
For the ‘Most Trusted Brands in Oman’ survey, responses were obtained through open-ended questions for each category. Each respondent had the freedom to name from memory the brand which they trusted the most, without any external triggers or pointers. The questions were completely open-ended with no brand name being mentioned to consumers. Respondents named the brands spontaneously, according to their recall.
Respondents were asked to name the first brand which they trusted the most in each category. They were then asked to name their second and third most trusted brands in that category. All responses were gathered in one sitting from a respondent, to ensure unbiased brand recall.
The survey was conducted across a random cross section of employees working in Oman. They were classified into two categories, namely top management (TM) and executive choice. The top management category comprised senior executives including CEOs, managing directors, general managers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers and business owners. The executive choice category contained mid-level employees and executives working in different sectors and fields. From large companies, a maximum of three employees were interviewed, while only one employee was interviewed from smaller companies. This was done to ensure that the sample was not biased in favour of employees of a particular company. The total sample size of the survey comprised 772 respondents. Out of this, 398 were Omanis and 374 were expatriates.
Arabian Research Bureau used the Rank Sum (RS) weighting method to calculate and arrive at the final score for each brand.
For each category, the top ranks were obtained. Then each rank was given an inverse score. For example, the first rank was given a score of three, the second rank a score of two and so on. Then each rank score was divided by the sum of the ranks to obtain a weighted score for the brand in its respective category. Rank Sum weighting ranking was utilised to give appropriate weightage and importance to the higher order brands to arrive at the final score for each brand.
1) The percentage figures present in the report in the pie charts and bar graphs have been rounded to the nearest unit.
2) In the top 10 charts where two or more brands appear to have the same percentage, one brand is above another because it has more fractional value in its percentage.
3) Male and female cross tab analysis in the top management segments has not been given because the sample size obtained for top management females is not statistically significant to derive legitimate conclusions.