M-PESA Solidifies Its Position As The Strongest Superbrand Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

Key Highlights

  • Top Ten Kenyan Brands ranking 2021 released by Superbrand’s East Africa.
  • The survey was conducted in the 2nd half of 2020 across key cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu by Kantar TNS.
  • The Kenyan consumer gravitated towards heritage brands perceived as ‘safe’ during uncertainty.
  • Relief organisations and household brands went up in ranking attributed to the pandemic.


Feb 2021 Nairobi, Kenya: Kenyan mobile payment brand M-PESA has been voted Kenya’s leading SUPERBRAND, ahead of parent company Safaricom, which placed second. This further solidifies the platform’s positioning as being integral and essential to the functioning of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This comes at a time when the COVID19 pandemic has hit this segment of the economy the hardest.

The results are derived entirely from a comprehensive survey administered to urban Kenyan consumers and undertaken by Kantar TNS in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.


In this survey, six new brands made an entry into the top ten for the first time, compared to the previous listing. These include: The Kenya Red Cross, Toyota Kenya, Samsung, Dettol and Betika.


Survey Insights

  1. Key takeaways from the Superbrands consumer insights survey indicated that consumers across different categories opted for more affordable brands because of budget constraints brought about by job losses or pay cuts due to the economic struggles as a result of COVID19.
  2. Top-of-mind for consumers was the gravitation towards brands ‘with purpose’. Those that were committed to supporting communities through COVID19 which is why The Kenya Red Cross features forth on this latest ranking.
  3. In uncertainty consumers turn to familiar brands, those that they have grown up with and ones that are dependable – ‘the trust factor’. Here we see long-standing heritage brands feature heavily on the list from Dettol to Weetabix and Toyota Kenya.
  4. Whilst the local gambling industry has gone through much turmoil, it remains an industry that forms a big part of Kenyan lives, particularly football fans. Through the pandemic, many consumers have been on the search for ‘quick money’. Whilst there is less loyalty to specific companies within this sector, overall loyalty to betting is extremely high. Consumers will frequently reduce spend across other sectors (entertainment or necessities) to continue spending on betting.


Jawad Jaffer, Project Manager, Superbrands East Africa said, “Now more than ever, credibility and value is critical to a brand’s success in the minds of the Kenyan consumer. We can see here clearly that those who have stood the test of the pandemic as a Superbrand have done so because they have earned the confidence of Kenyans. We heartily congratulate our top ten.”

So what do emerging and upstarting companies need to do to achieve this type of brand loyalty from the consumer?

David Ogara, Manager, Kantar TNS emphasizes, “To be a disruptor, emerging brands need to put in the effort to connect emotionally with consumers; insights tell us that consumers do not only look for physical functionality in a brand; it goes beyond functional to the emotional connect.”

The insights from the Kantar TNS are further mirrored by the PWC 2020 Global Consumer Survey. Consumers have gravitated towards (and will continue to do so) brands that showed consideration for their well-being and safety in every category. Additionally price and value will continue to be the paramount decision-making factor.


About Superbrands Consumer Insights Survey

Research was conducted in 2020 in compliance with MoH guidelines. Participants of this survey were scientifically selected at random with an emphasis on an urban population. Survey featured: 49% female and 51% male with over 70% under the age of 44. Conducted independently.


Who are Superbrands®?

Superbrands is the largest independent arbiter on branding and currently identifies and pays tribute to exceptional brands in over 88 countries globally. Superbrands is running its programme for the Seventh time in East Africa.


Consumer Superbrands Definition

When voting on the brands, both the expert council and consumers consider the following definition of a Superbrand: “A Superbrand has established the finest reputation in its field. It offers customers significant emotional and/or tangible advantages over other brands, which (consciously or sub-consciously) customers want and recognize.”

Besides, audiences are asked to judge brands against the following three factors:

Quality. Does the brand represent quality products and services?

Reliability. Can the brand be trusted to deliver consistently against its promises and maintain product and service standards at all customer touchpoints?

Distinction. Is the brand not only well known in its sector but suitably differentiated from its competitors? Does it have a personality and values that make it unique?


Who is Kantar TNS?

Kantar TNS is a leading market research agency in East Africa. It has been established in Kenya since 1988, providing both major multinational and local brands with precise growth strategies. Kantar TNS is a market research and market information group. Formerly listed on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The firm was acquired by WPP Group in October 2008 for £1.6 billion. Kantar TNS is WPP Plc’s data management division and one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Kantar TNS operates in Nigeria and Kenya, which are primary markets for WPP Scangroup, and other countries including Senegal, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.


For more information please contact:

Rowland Ng’eno
SHK Consulting
+254 (0)705949007