Charting HBL's brand odyssey.
HBL was the first commercial bank to be established for the Muslims of the subcontinent in 1941. As the bank evolved with the nation, so did the brand and its communication. At the time of its inception and soon independence, HBL’s communication focused on introducing the benefits of banking to the public. The communication was aimed at promoting its product suite in line with the economic needs of the time.
The idea behind building the brand was introduced in the 1970s when HBL Plaza was built as the tallest building in Pakistan and in South Asia. The Plaza was inaugurated to mark the 25th anniversary of the bank and was advertised to enhance brand equity and establish Habib Bank as the industry leader.
When the bank was acquired by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development in 2004, a conscious effort was made to differentiate the brand and lead from the front. The brand name was changed from Habib Bank to HBL. Investment behind building brand equity became the priority. The phrase ‘Jahan Khwab, Wahan HBL’ was coined to reflect the brand promise of enabling dreams. Over the last 10 years, HBL launched a series of corporate campaigns, which helped it gain the highest brand equity score in the industry, and made it a household name in Pakistan. HBL has positioned itself as an organisation that aims to better the lives of its customers. HBL’s communication delivers a message of financial inclusion and enabling dreams. In 2015, HBL launched a campaign featuring Samina Baig, Pakistan’s first woman to climb Everest and seven of the world’s highest peaks. Its subsequent corporate campaign featured Rosheen Khan, a woman who pushed the limits to achieve her dream of becoming Pakistan’s first female scuba diving instructor.
As a bank that has always been linked to the history of Pakistan, HBL partnered with Dawn to launch a campaign celebrating the dreamers of Pakistan and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the country. The ‘Ek Khwab Kay Naam’ print campaign pays tribute to our nation by identifying all those dreamers who have made Pakistan a thriving country.
Naveed Ashgar is Chief Marketing Officer, HBL.
First published in THE DAWN OF ADVERTISING IN PAKISTAN (1947-2017), a Special Report published by DAWN on March 31, 2018.