Colombia: The Secrets of Local Brand Value

See the full report for insights from additional WPP contributors.

The Colombian Brands Achieving Stand Out

By Gabriel Enrique Castellanos
Millward Brown Andean Region


By Felipe Reyes
Research Executive
Millward Brown Andean Region


Critical to the success of any brand is the ability to empower people by making a difference in their lives, and how these customers spread the name of the brand to others. Successful brands, like the ones in the 2014 BrandZ™ Colombia valuation rankings, are characterized by meeting their customers’ needs and being more appealing than their competitors. They are also characterized by being different, and being top of mind when consumers think about what they need from a product or service.

The most successful brands in Colombia are found across different industries including oil, mining, alcoholic beverages, financial services, grocery stores, and communication providers. Their contribution to the unprecedented economic growth of Colombia accounted for 23% of total GDP in 2013. These brands shape the local economy by offering goods or services that consider culture, traditions, and social, physical, and economic characteristics unique to Colombians, in contrast to their European and American counterparts.

Advertising spending in Colombia totals 8 billion Colombian pesos. The industries that invested the most in advertising during the time span of this report were retail and tourism, personal care and beauty, food and confectionery, telecommunications, beverages and tobacco, and financial services, totaling 57.5% of total advertising expenditure. This comes as no surprise since these industries are the same ones that fall in the top ten of this year’s BrandZ™ ranking.

Consumers are increasingly mobile

Considering that Colombia has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Latin America, it comes as no surprise that consumers are using their internet-enabled cell phones when shopping. During the third quarter of 2013, internet penetration reached 9.51 million subscribers, while mobile communications reached 50.25 million, surpassing the country’s population. In the coming years, according to FENALCO, Colombians will be more aware of the impact of their purchase choices, with the potential impact of this being seen in ecological, health, satisfaction, and loyalty aspects.

TIGO, a cellphone provider, is penetrating the Colombian market by reaching new segments including small businesses, as well as increasing its investment levels. They aim to become the second largest operator in Colombia. TIGO stand out in the local market for giving their customers the opportunity to have pre-paid cell phones, to access the web when needed, and by offering flexible plan options. This makes TIGO a brand that is very different from its competitors, since the variety of options for customers has a broader appeal to a younger segment of users looking for flexibility from a cell phone provider.

Shared characteristics of leading brands

The most valuable brands in Colombia are characterized by being financially strong, delivering good customer service, and prompting positive feelings among Colombians. For example, given the quality of their practices and the transparency of its management, Ecopetrol is recognized by BrandZ™ as one of Colombia’s most valuable brands. It is also the most preferred place to work for Colombians and a front-runner given its technological developments.

Bancolombia, the largest bank in Colombia, has remarkable brand equity indicators, mainly because of its fundamental pillars: to be available in every Colombian region, which provides a higher Meaningful* level, a communication platform that emphasizes Colombian cultural assets, and a patriotic message that works well within the consumer banking category.

A few months ago, Bancolombia was highlighted as the most trusted local bank, a brand with a portfolio of high integral value, and efficient management of their resources.

Aguila is the beer of choice for Colombians and stirs emotions connected with Colombian icons such as the national soccer team. It is a brand with a historically consistent communication platform, similar to Bancolombia’s, tapping into Colombian patriotism with messages about the greatness and importance of the Colombian people’s cultural roots and their ability to smile despite the difficulties.

BrandZ LatAm Top 50 2014

BrandZ LATAM 2014 Report Top 50 Report

Top 50 Chart

Methodology and valuation by Kantar Millward Brown

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