Brand Ideas


  • 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.

    Courtesy Habib Bank Limited


    Brand Essence

    Enabling people to advance with confidence and success. To make their customers prosper, their staff excel and create values for their shareholders.

    Brand Values

    • Integrity
    • Customer Centric
    • Value People
    • Progressive
    • Excellence

    Brand Character

    • Trustworthy
    • Safety
    • Accommodating

    Courtesy Habib Bank Limited


    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]



    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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. 
    5. 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.
    6. 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.



    • 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,
    • ‘Know Us | Read the History of Habib Bank Limited | Pakistan’, accessed 7 October 2021,
    • ‘Vision | Mission | Goals | Habib Bank Limited Pakistan’, accessed 7 October 2021,
    • 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,
    • 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’.


  • Know the Digital Trends. Think the Brand Future.

    The conventional brand strategists and marketing companies may find it hard to believe, but there was a time when they thought they knew everything they needed to work in active marketing or build their brand strategy. Of course, they may have been naive, but they had decades of experience under their belt and tons of successes. But that all changed with digital and social media.
    Brand managers of marketing companies discovered that there were so many things they didn’t know or had to learn daily. They should feel overwhelmed, but they should decide to do something productive about it. They must start reading blogs and tech publications, following the platforms and thought leaders, finding out about the latest digital trends, writing about them, and testing them out. They should feel like a student again and must love that.
    In this hi-fi, technologically advanced world, one should be excited about experiencing and witnessing ever-progressing digital marketing trends. This era of brand builders needs to cover what’s new and how the changes affect brand business and what other companies are doing to adapt. Every day is a new day in today’s technically savvy brand world. A new video gives even more motivation to these brand warriors to keep up with the latest and greatest and share what they find with others. Never let your guards down to grab mobile devices, AR glasses, VR headsets, and ready to let jump on the digital trends express.
    Digital Trends, Ideas, and Insights
    Brands have a new superpower. Their presence in social media news nowadays has more relevance to their brand image and awareness than anything else. All brands, global or local, should spend time and resources to boost their aura in social media news by espousing the latest trends and changes. Most importantly, they must ready to shift their digital focus for the sake of the brand’s future. Some digital trends are here to stay for some time and brands should focus on gaining full benefits.
    Paying for follows and paying for merchandise, voice AI and book talk? These are some of the recent trends and changes that brands should benefit from them.
    Twitter just announced super follow, a new feature that lets users subscribe to a creator’s feed for a fee and then get access to exclusive content. The company’s also rolling out interspace communities which may be a way for creators to get up close and personal with those paying fans. But you have to wonder what it will take to create tweets so amazing users will be willing to pay.
    Regarding payments, Shopify’s opening up its shop pay system to more channels. Now, merchants can offer shop pay to customers who want to purchase Facebook and Instagram. It makes good sense for online stores to go the extra step for customers, let them discover a product on social and then get a no-hassle checkout right on the app.
    Microsoft’s launching its custom neural voice studio, which lets companies synthesise the voices of existing actors quickly and easily if, say, there’s a copy change, or your company could work with Microsoft to create an original synthetic voice. Availability is limited, and brands need to apply — this kind of takes the notion of a unique brand voice to a whole new level.
    Finally, TikTok’s customising adds to user interest, allowing brands to be more targeted with sponsored content. One of the newest viral hits on TikTok is something called book talk. In these short videos, creators post emotional reviews of their favourite novels, having a direct and positive impact on book sales and causing publishers to turn the page on their marketing plans.
    Zoom, the video conferencing app, is zooming in on virtual events. With the company’s new OnZoom platform, brands can host and record a conference, training, or other events for between a hundred to a thousand attendees. Brands can collect registrations and payments right on Zoom, making the process seamless for themselves and their target customers.
    Speaking of video, Instagram announced it’s extending the length of its live streaming from one to four hours. Brands will be able to archive a stream or upload it to IGTV. Perhaps that’s because more influencers are using live video to showcase and sell the products they’re promoting, or maybe Instagram wants to be the place for an old-fashioned telethon in case those ever get a digital revival.
    Snapchat’s latest offering is designed to help influencers get more business from brands. They’re letting creators show their follower counts right on their profile page. If a brand wants to work with one of them, they can see their reach at a glance. Snapchat also launched Snap Connect, a free certification that teaches digital marketers how to drive value from their e-commerce, gaming, or app direct response ads.
    Many companies don’t like to admit it, but the skills you have in one industry are often transferable.
    With LinkedIn’s Career Explorer, marketers can now discover related opportunities where they might be a good fit. The product looks at candidates’ profiles and compares current experience and skills with the expertise and skills companies may need in another field. It recommends training courses that could fill in the gaps. That makes marketing companies more hire-able and opens up a whole new set of future possibilities.
    An old App is trying to reinvent itself. Foursquare, known for location sharing, created Marsbot. This augmented reality voice app uses your location and whispers tips on the restaurants, attractions, and businesses you may be passing right through anybody’s AirPods.
    Taboola, the sponsored content site that recommends posts you may like, has just jumped into the stories fray. Now brands can create short posts with swipe-up links and Taboola will present them on top media sites and marketing companies will have another way to reach customers with visual content that lives directly on trusted websites rather than on social media or apps.
    Speaking of stories, brands can now embed swipe-up links right in their LinkedIn stories and measure how effective brand stories drive traffic to their site and helping achieve brand goals. On LinkedIn, the company’s new marketing labs offer free, curated courses on optimising ads and sponsored posts.
    In the seeing is believing category, the YouTube mock-up tool gives brands a simple way to see how a brand’s ad will be displayed before it runs, upload the video, choose the ad type, and then preview how it will look on desktop, tablets, and mobile devices. Marketers can share the visual with colleagues or in a client presentation because a picture can be more effective than a thousand persuasive words. Moreover, YouTube’s turning the page on hashtags, literally. The company recently introduced hashtag landing pages. Users click on a hashtag and are taken to a collection of similarly themed videos. This could provide another excellent avenue for potential customers to engage with the brand.
    Knowledge about digital marketing trends is an edge over other competing brands and companies stay on top of digital marketing trends, and it is necessary to share sight and sound experiences with others. But it isn’t just about what’s new. It is also collective efforts for the knowledge sharing sake to act upon that how marketers apply their strategic and creative minds to the latest digital innovations and how they test, learn, and adapt. Everybody must understand that this is a journey of discovery we’re all on together.

  • Nothing pays off Better Than Creating Brand Stories

    At any time look back at history, one conclusion is evident, almost all civilisations and even religions got grown-up on stories, shared stories which install themselves in the collective unconscious through oral or written transmission. Just think about holiest of holy text, Ancient Harapan culture, or the foundation of any faith. Beliefs, ideologies, and Cosmo visions have been shaped by an innovation shared through time, which established strong links with a family, a piece of land, a culture, et cetera.

    Good stories are a priceless asset, being spontaneously passed through generations as a way of coming to terms with mankind, the universe, or societies. If someone need more proof about the value of words, think for a minute about the power of satire, the use of words that ridicule someone or something, a person, a family, a corporation, a government, which in some cases casts a spell which may stick to their name for decades or even centuries.

    People forget facts, names, faces but remember stories, simply relate to humans more than we do to a message or a fact. People care for a narrative where we can find other human beings with us, or our loved ones can identify themselves with. It’s like the conversation so many times heard in the business section of newspapers, what will interest readers more? A highbrow and cold chronicle on the increase of petroleum prices? Or a story about the effects of the appreciation of wheat in some unfortunate communities? Both stories are necessary of course.

    Although we depend on the type of media we’re talking about and its audience, you can be pretty sure which one will attract more readers, and which one will stay longer in their memories. Because stories enhance memory, stories with emotions, hookup with our already existing knowledge, and engage with the same parts of our brain which are responsible for the keeping of our memory.

    Furthermore, stories create neural coupling in our brains. They synchronize the user’s brain with a teller’s mind. This happens mainly because neurons find the same patterns which ends up connecting them both emotionally. Stories also help to create vivid mental images.

    Processing stories lights up a larger part of the brain than pure facts, as the brain response to story events as if they were actually happening to the listener, engaging all the sensors and the motor cortex in the brain.

    Finally, stories have the power to even change the brain’s chemistry. Even the simplest one can trigger the release of neurochemicals like cortisol or oxitosin, that heighten our attention and make us more empathic. Happy endings as we know, trigger releases of dopamine that makes us feel optimistic towards the future.

    So, coming back to core arguments, instead of bombarding citizens with messages they don’t give a damn about, often people with attention disorders that will be watching TV while using other devices at the same time, why not invite them to be part of something which they’re really interested in?

    It’s more complex of course, but infinitely more rewarding. Creating a brand narrative stretches far beyond creating new Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. Paid media creates temporary buzz if it’s not sustained by a strong budget over several years. Nothing pays off better than creating good stories to engage our users at a different level. It’s tempting to think that new technologies will change marketing forever with some magical metric that consolidates a new business model.

    But online advertising still doesn’t work like the offline one, and technology won’t save you or build your cohesion narrative. You must have thinking about the user and often content here or she can bond with, like it happens nowadays in media, although, in some cases we must say unfortunately so.

    When it says that what’s old is new again, it is referring to the power of a good story, and it is referring to the word of mouth, a very old concept. In the end, it comes down to word of mouth with new and much more powerful dissemination tools. Nobody, not even the most traffic-oriented sites in the world know for sure what’s going to work content-wise.

    It is necessary for brands and their marketing companies to start planning strategically-fit editorial process, and learn step-by-step what works or does not work for target audience. If companies give enough time for some trial and error, the companies will probably find next year doing things companies had not even imagined.