Landor leads digital-first brand transformation for Saudi Arabia’s oldest bank

RIYADH (4 January 2017) — Global brand strategy and design firm Landor, has developed the brand concept and supported the execution of a major, digitally driven rebrand of Saudi Arabia’s oldest bank to help it connect with a new generation of millennial consumers and business leaders.

Founded in 1926, Saudi Hollandi Bank became the first bank to operate in the Kingdom. It served not only the Hajj pilgrims but also acted as the central bank, holding the Kingdom’s gold reserves and receiving oil revenues on behalf of the government.

Marking the start of a multichannel transformation, the change to Alawwal Bank (Arabic for “the first”) is designed to reflect the bank’s history of delivering preeminent cutting-edge service for its customers and maintaining its long-standing commitment to support the Saudi Arabian economy.


The rebrand is also part of a wider strategy at Alawwal Bank to continue meeting the demands of existing customers, while also reaching out to the next generation of Saudis. Millennials have emerged as a powerful force for market transformation in the Kingdom, with 70 percent of the populace under 30 years old. This tech-savvy and well-traveled audience is increasingly looking for simple, on-demand brand experiences from the comfort of their palms—not just from their banks.

Saudi Arabia is also experiencing a national economic transformation spearheaded by the government’s Vision 2030 plan, a blueprint for the Kingdom’s future as an advanced, well-educated, service-based economy. Alawwal Bank recognized that amid this change, it needed to step up and become its own disruptor.

Shift to a better future  نحو مستقبل أفضل  #البنك_الأول

Bengt Eriksson, managing director of Landor Dubai, said, “As Saudi Arabia shifts toward becoming a digital, millennial-dominated society, Alawwal Bank proposed a real need for the banking sector to be shaken up. It wanted to create an identity that would reach out to the Kingdom’s future leaders, many of whom are well traveled and looking for local banks that can deliver the same level of service they’ve been exposed to in other countries.

“What we’ve helped to create is a true Saudi bank for Saudi millennials. The innovative, digitally enhanced experience Alawwal offers represents not just the future of banking in the Middle East, but the future of banking globally.”

Designed to help the bank achieve its vision, the overarching brand concept—People first, always—informs the brand expression the agency executed across Alawwal Bank’s digital and physical touchpoints. The brand expression and visual language are designed to protect Alawwal Bank’s brand heritage, while giving it a fresh, more vibrant, more engaging language to appeal to younger audiences. Landor worked with the bank and its suppliers to implement the revised identity both inside and outside the bank’s existing branches, while also updating it across all ATMs.


A refresh of the verbal brand was also key. Working alongside Alawwal Bank, Landor created a tone of voice and brand persona—that of a trusted peer—that is more relevant to millennials.

To design a cross-channel UX/UI experience, Landor partnered with integrated digital agency 4129Grey to develop a new website with AI technology that responds to consumers’ individual behaviors and preferences, fully reflecting the vision of Alawwal Bank.

For more information, contact:

Trevor Wade
Global Marketing Director, Landor

About Landor

As a global leader in brand consulting and design, Landor helps clients create agile brands that thrive in today’s dynamic, disruptive marketplace. Our work enables top brands—from Barclays to BMW and Tide to Taj—to stand for something while never standing still.

Landor’s branding services include strategy and positioning, design, brand identity and motion graphics, brand architecture, prototyping, innovation, naming and verbal branding, research and analytics, environments and experiences, engagement and activation, and interactive and media design.

Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Today, Landor has 27 offices in 21 countries, working with a broad spectrum of world-famous brands. Clients include Aeroflot, Bayer, BBC, BMW, BP, Citroën, Danone, Emaar, Etihad Airways, Procter & Gamble, Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Russian Copper Company, Tata Group, and UKTV.

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