Brand Story – Habib Bank Limited
The current logo of Habib Bank Limited is complete typography in English and Urdu to add branding advantage by attracting and targeting a larger audience. The logo is in green colour that is the corporate branding colour of the bank. It provides a direction to the voice and the logo’s message and significantly influences the audience, inducing the right emotions from both the readers and the viewers.
The bank used modern fonts to convey feelings of exclusivity, intelligence, and style. In addition, the modern fonts showcase the HBL brand name in a way that’s easy to read and brimming with contemporary flair, and the font type is strategically fit for the brand.
Category: Commercial Bank
Owner of the Brand: The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) with 51% shareholding while the remaining shareholding is held by individuals, local and foreign institutions and funds including CDC Group Plc, which holds 5% and International Finance Corporation, which holds 3%.
Founded: Founded in 1940 by the Habib Family, HBL became Pakistan’s first commercial bank.
Company Operations: The largest private sector bank in Pakistan with over 1,650+ branches, 2,100+ ATMs globally, serving 23 million+ customers in 14 countries.
Key Competitors: Muslim Commercial Bank, United Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan and Allied Bank.
BRAND STRATEGY ANAYLYSIS
Enabling people to advance with confidence and success. To make their customers prosper, their staff excel and create values for their shareholders.
- Customer Centric
- Value People
Originally established in 1941, HBL moved its operations to Pakistan in 1947 at the request of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, hence becoming the first commercial bank to lay its foundation in the country.
Embarking on a progressive journey, HBL continued to grow and expand in successive years. The Bank’s first international branch opened in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1951, while the iconic HBL Plaza building commenced its operations on 4 September 1971.
With a sizeable domestic share, HBL was nationalized in 1974. The Bank became a trendsetter in the banking industry, acquiring the lion’s share in inward foreign remittances and a major market share in loans to small industries, traders and farmers.
In February 2004, the Bank was privatized, and management control was handed over to AKFED. By April 2015, the Government of Pakistan divested its entire shareholding of 41.5% through the Privatization Commission of Pakistan, making HBL Pakistan’s largest private bank.
HBL has not just been a pioneer in the banking industry but has also been a platform that has enabled dreams for millions of people. It has time and again proven to be a catalyst for change by initiatives that have elevated Pakistan’s image and reputation. From bringing back international cricket to Pakistan through HBLPSL to helping strengthen the country’s economy through historic initiatives such as the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, HBL continues to enrich lives.[i]
- Habib Bank is part of my life. My first banking experience, and now I have three accounts in three different banks. Habib Bank is always a reference point, and I judge other banks by comparing Habib Bank standards, Mehboob, businessman.
- HBL has an association with everyone and in an emotional sense, the association is very positive.” Aurora Interview in 2007 with Aly Mustansir, ex EVP/Head Marketing & Brand Management, HBL.
- Every Pakistani, whether an account holder or not, has some association with the bank; it could be that their father banked with HBL, or that HBL came to their school with one of those little piggy bank boxes, or the fact that there was an HBL branch on the street where they lived as a child. There is an association for everyone and in an emotional sense, the association is very positive, Fatima, retired School Principal.
- Habib Bank is not like that it was once. The other competing banks have much more to offer in technology and other aspects of consumer banking. The fact is that Habib Bank lost a great deal at the time of Bhutto’s nationalized scheme. The development gap is still not filled to coup up with the competition. Habib Bank was a leader in banking, and now the bank is on the follower’s list, Mohsin, retired financial sector executive.
- Habib Bank is, to me, Pakistan. While living abroad for so long, my only cultural connection is the Habib Bank New York branch, where I always feel at home. The branch was closed in March 2020, and I felt I had lost my Pakistan connection. Indeed, there are many better banks there, but my bank is Habib Bank, Tariq, businessman.
- Living in Karachi who can miss iconic Habib Bank Plaza. I still also recall iconic jingle “meraa bhee tou hai” by a little beautiful girl. People of my generation used to have only one bank in mind, Habib Bank Limited with tagline “Serve you better,” Talat, retired bureaucrat.
“Jahan Khwab, Wahan HBL”
Rationale: “If you dream it, you can do it.” Innovations and successes are possible only because of those who had the courage to go ahead and achieve. Today the largest Bank in Pakistan is proud to live by the philosophy “Jahan Khwab Wahan HBL” in providing a platform to enable anyone’s dreams.
* HBL Rebranding 2007
Habib Bank had gone to a great deal to rebrand its brand image and brand positioning. The new logo was introduced, HBL in typography replaced its almost 60 years old HBL Lion symbol. That was a very bold move, but HBL managed to maintain its recall factor. The rebranding had a more significant focus on communicating HBL’s brand vision: “Enabling people to advance with confidence and success.”
The related campaign’s exciting part was using real situations and success stories to bring the brand vision to life. The challenge was to have people unlearn and relearn a few things about the brand.
Regarding the dropping of its famous icon, HBL Lion, the then Aly Mustansir, EVP/Head Marketing & Brand Management, rationalised the management decision in an interview to Aurora (March – April 2007 issue) by stating, “No, it was very much there. If it had disappeared, it would not have been on the entrance to the Habib Bank Plaza either. The lion has always been a symbol of Habib Bank. However, we felt it was time to refresh the logo. In practical terms, we were looking for something that would be easy to reproduce. The symbol is very intricate in every little detail, which makes it difficult to reproduce on different kinds of material while maintaining the consistency of the look.”
* Pakistan ‘70 years’ campaign
Being the ‘Bank of the Nation,’ it was inevitable for HBL to roll out 70 years’ celebratory campaign in 2019. At the core of HBL is its philosophy of enabling dreams and enriching lives. The theme is reflected in every brand communication and is vital in building the brand across their growing network. Taking their philosophy forward, the bank picked a theme that pays tribute to the nation at large by identifying all those dreamers who have made Pakistan a thriving country by enabling dreams and enriching lives in a significant way. JWT Pakistan designed the campaign.
* Samina Baig Campaign
HBL won the ‘Passion for Pakistan’ award at the PAS Awards held in April 2016 for the second time consecutively in a campaign featuring Samina Baig. At the age of 24, she happens to be the youngest and only Pakistani woman to have climbed seven summits, including Mount Everest. The upcoming campaign of HBL will feature Pakistan’s first scuba diving instructor, who has chosen this career path to fulfil her dreams.
* HBL NISA
HBL believes in gender diversity in the workforce, and from an institution that had a female ratio of just 2 per cent, it now stands at 12percent, with plans to further improve on this.
HBL NISA is also a recently introduced platform dedicated to females that will encourage, empower and motivate women by facilitating women banking in Pakistan.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
- Pakistan’s first commercial bank.
- The largest private sector bank in Pakistan.
- Quide-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s personal account is still active as a symbolic gesture.
- Quide-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah persuaded the Habib family to establish a commercial bank that could serve the Muslim community. His initiative resulted in the creation of Habib Bank in 1941, with head office in Bombay (now Mumbai), and fixed capital of Rs 25,000.
- Rebranding in 2007, the famous Habib Lion is out
- ‘Passion for Pakistan’ award 2016
- World Branding Award 2018
- In one of the Bank’s massive consumer study the bank found out that bank had a 32% top of mind recall, which is huge for any brand; it means that every third person on the street you ask to name a bank will think of Habib Bank.
- ‘HBL | About Us | Introduction’, accessed 7 October 2021, https://www.hbl.com/about-us/introduction.
- ‘Know Us | Read the History of Habib Bank Limited | Pakistan’, accessed 7 October 2021, https://www.hbl.com/about-us/history.
- ‘Vision | Mission | Goals | Habib Bank Limited Pakistan’, accessed 7 October 2021, https://www.hbl.com/about-us/our-brand.
- Mehboob Ali, Businessman, personal interview on October 6, 2021, Lahore.
- “HBL Has an Association with Everyone, and in an Emotional Sense, the Association Is Very Positive.”’, Aurora Magazine, 17 September 2019, https://aurora.dawn.com/news/1143525.
- Fatima Munawar, retired School Principal, personal interview, October 9, 2021, Lahore.
- Mohsin Arif, retired financial sector executive, personal telephonic interview, October 11, 2021, Karachi.
- Tariq Ali, Businessman in New York, USA, personal telephonic interview, October 11, 2021, New York, USA.
- Syed Talat Naqvi, retired bureaucrat, personal telephonic interview, October 10, 2021, Islamabad.
- Mehboob, ‘Naveed Asghar, CMO HBL Talks about HBL PSL, HBL NISA and Enabling Dreams in an Exclusive Interview’.
- ‘Know Us | Read the History of Habib Bank Limited | Pakistan’.