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Established in 1991, Commercial International Bank (CBI) was suffering from a lack of brand standards, market differentiation or impact. While financially solid, the bank was not living up to its potential. With a change in management, we were asked to help define the brand and bring impact and clarity.

The banking industry in the UAE is highly competitive and complex, making it increasingly hard for consumers to understand what they are being offered or to make informed choices. Following a detailed brand audit, we began developing a new strategy for the bank based on a simple premise: Banking should be simple! As a smaller bank, CBI was in the perfect position to highlight the benefits of being small – personal attention; simple, easy to understand products and services; no jargon; fast decisions; friendly staff; financial experts and a more enjoyable branch and mobile experience. 

With the strategy agreed, we set about refreshing the brand identity starting with an evolution of the existing logo into a cleaner, more fluid shape to represent people and relationships. Following a competitive colour audit, we brought a fresh, differentiated colour scheme to the bank and developed a simple set of brand guidelines to apply to all touchpoints, including bank cards; stationery; brochures; website; mobile app and more. We worked closely with the bank and our associates, LOM Architects in London, to rationalise and simplify the branch experience, creating a welcoming and enjoyable experience, and we advised the bank on how to make its products, services and processes simpler and easier for both customers and themselves.

During the project, a 40% stake of CBI was acquired by QNB Group, Qatar. The rebrand was put on hold and eventually cancelled, in favour of using the QNB branding for the bank.

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