Sample Case Study: Branding in the Nigerian Banking Industry: A case study of Zenith Bank Nigeria PLC (Demo)

History and Profile of Zenith Bank

The beginnings of Zenith Bank , located in Lagos, Nigeria can be traced to Founder Jim Ovia who established the commercial bank with a shareholder’s fund of N20million in May1990. 26 years later, the bank has grown profitably and branched itself out to Sierra Leone, Ghana, Gambia, and the United Kingdom, with a “total number of Three Hundred (315) branches with about 200 off-site locationsin its network, strategically located in various commercial centres of the country” (Zenith Bank, no date).

The rise of the company followed after the” deregulation of the banking sector by the Babangida administration in the late 1980s” (How Jim Ovia sowed Zenith Bank seed 25yrs ago,… days of little begining, 2015). Jim Ovia became the Managing Director after he pooled other entrepreneurs to start Zenith International Bank. The Nigeria-based company is primarily known to serve financial services such as “Corporate, Retail Banking and Pension Custodial services-Nigeria, investment advisory, financial planning services and investment product offerings to a range of institutions and individuals” (Reuters Editorial, 2016) to both corporate and individual customers.

In 2004, with the banking consolidation taking place which was designed to actively move the Nigerian economy to become a key player in the global financial aspect for Africa, resulted in the increase of mandatory capitalization of banks from “N2 billion to N25 billion” Thus, Zenith International Bank lead to reflectively achieve “total assets in 2004 which was N215billion, and the bank’s profit before tax had increased from N5.4bn in 2003 to N6.4bn” (How Jim Ovia sowed Zenith Bank seed 25yrs ago,… days of little beginning, 2015). By June 2005, branches had expanded to 95 around the country and reportedly gained “a profit before tax of N9.1 billion” (How Jim Ovia sowed Zenith Bank seed 25yrs ago,… days of little beginning, 2015).

In 2009, Zenith Bank was ranked as one of the 14 banks that passed the audit when the Central Bank of Nigeria tested the banking sectors to find out its stability in the country.

Customer Profile

Principally, the bank caters to local and foreign accounts, and business segments involved in: manufacturing, construction, general trade and commerce, logistics and services, and branding strategies. Hence, its customers are corporate representatives or subsidiaries of companies operating within and outside Nigeria. Deposit transactions are more closely tied to individual clients rather than lending which most corporations are inclined to do. The bank is also associated with large company lending and indigenous conglomerates. Its customer base also statistically accounted to more than 1.6 million accounts related to many sectors which includes: “oil and gas, power and infrastructure, ict and telecommunications, real estate, building and construction, transport, shipping and aviation, commodities and general commerce and entertainment” (Zenith Bank, no date).

Branding Strategies

Essentially, Zenith Bank Plc emphasizes on a branding strategy that dictates it is

“Driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices, the Bank has combined vision, skillful banking expertise, and cutting-edge technology to create products and services that anticipate and meet customers’ expectations; enable businesses to thrive and grow wealth for customers.” (Zenith Bank Corporate information, no date).

Increased growth of Zenith Bank is stressed on the corporation’s efforts in creating a reputation that is recognized for “innovation, superior customer service and performance while creating premium value for all stakeholders” (Zenith Bank: The success story of Nigerian banking – World Finance, 2012). This has led the company to be consequently and consistently evolving in terms of taking an aggressive move on innovation, reflection of a solid financial performance, focus driven management, highly-skilled personnel, leadership in the use of ICT, strategic distribution channels and good asset quality. This has also created key strategic growth goals for the company where an investment in developing and nurturing deeper relationships with customers are provided through quality services which is given to all its customers. The company also aims to understand individual and industry requirements and devise solutions for every changing and diverse customer need. Zenith Bank also evaluates its operations to expand and add new channels and discover new markets while at the same time, keeping the reputation and position as the “leading service provider in Nigeria, while expanding its operations internationally in West Africa and the financial capitals of the world” (Zenith bank: The success story of Nigerian banking – world finance, 2012) , and finally continually exert efforts to continuously improve the bank’s system and discover new capabilities to improve services and operations.

Additionally, the bank also takes corporate social responsibility seriously as its strategic drive to show concern for the community it involves itself in. Proof of these efforts are the many awards and the international efforts it engages itself in. The bank has also consistently maintained outstanding ratings from rating agencies in both local and foreign sectors such as the Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Agusto & Co. rating agencies.

Finally, the people behind Zenith Bank, Plc view corporate governance as important to the success of the company that they people behind the bank must take into account the values of honesty, integrity, trust, openness, accountability and more importantly commitment to the ideals and virtues of the bank. The company further recognizes the need to innovate in expanding the bank strategically by analyzing the needs for growth and development while at the same time meet all the stakeholders’ and shareholders’ needs and requirements.


How Jim Ovia sowed zenith bank seed 25yrs ago,… days of little begining (2015) Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Reuters Editorial (2016) Company profile for ${Instrument_CompanyName}. Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Zenith Bank (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Zenith Bank Corporate information (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Zenith bank: The success story of Nigerian banking – world finance (2012) Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Leave a comment