The Cutting-Edge Approach to Attracting Private Investment in Retail Banking

How one of the largest Islamic banks in the world attracts private investment for their retail banking sector in Southeast Asia.

Inducing specific customer behaviour is a well-known challenge for every business. In the post financial crash landscape, this is even more true for banks. In times where only 32% of people say that they have confidence in banks, offering the best financial product and talking solely about its features is not enough. With negative perceptions and a general apathy persisting, financial marketers are already pursuing new ways to stimulate new and existing customers. The Malaysia branch of the global Al Rajhi Bank group are pioneering market leaders in this area, outplaying their competitors. How? By choosing to offer something to their customers they really care about.

The problem is apathy

Staying with one and the same banking institution from childhood to retirement is a phenomenon of the past. Increasingly tech-savvy millennials are twice as likely to switch banks as other consumers. At the same time, however, other consumer groups paint a slightly different picture: a general mistrust towards banks and their products and services has evolved into serious apathy that is now prevalent amongst most retail banking customers. The question is how it is possible to capture the imagination of both these consumer groups with a unique experience in a way that resonates with their values and lifestyle choices?

A starting point is the observation that today’s customers are more globally interconnected than ever, which also translates into particular lifestyle aspirations. According to a recent study, 9 in 10 Malaysians have been travelling abroad in the last two years; the bulk (93%) of those travelling are consumers aged between 25 and 34. Today, travelling is more than just luxury for a privileged few; it has become a lifestyle choice for many.

The answer is a lifestyle incentive

The international banking group Al Rajhi (headquarters in Riyadh, international presences in Malaysia, Kuwait and Jordan) realised this and now shows the financial sector in Southeast Asia how it is done: as the first bank in the region to offer a Free Flight Campaign. Al Rajhi customers receive a free return flight to selected destinations if they invest in Al Rajhi’s unit trust or gold. The nifty detail in the strategy: the higher the investment, the more destinations can be chosen from, creating a pull effect for customers to trust the bank with higher investments.

The fully Shariah compliant Al Rajhi Bank partnered up with the UK based Marketing Agency Inspire to deliver this extraordinary campaign to customers in Malaysia. Having an in-house travel agency, a recently opened office in Singapore and many years of experience in travel based incentive programs for banks and major blue-chip companies across the globe, this proves to be the perfect partnership.

After hugely successful free flight campaigns in Europe and the Middle East, free flight incentive programs have a great potential to change the face of customer retention and acquisition in Asia’s consumer faced banking landscape in years to come.

Have a look at the full case study  on Al Rajhi’s Bank and Fly Campaign and send us an e-mail to  if you want to find out how we can support your product and brand with a powerful sales promotion tool. If you want to stay informed on all what we do and what we are passionate about, sign up for our Newsletter below.

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