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Building a brand for a digital-first private bank aimed at Switzerland's mass affluent market

The Challenge

Creating a brand for a disruptive digital start-up

We were tasked by Swiss Private Bank Reyl to name, brand and position a groundbreaking all-digital start-up they were backing. The key would be to do so in a way that would allow a completely disruptive company to be accepted - and ultimately licenced - by the famously conservative Swiss Private Banking Authority, FINMA.



First wholly digital Swiss Private Bank

To be the first wholly digital Swiss Private Bank was a key component of the business from the moment it was first conceived. Before it even had a name, this positioned Alpian as a massive changemaker in an industry that prides itself on being largely unchanged and unchangeable for centuries. What the branding needed to do was reassure both the Swiss banking authorities and potential customers that a digital Swiss Private Bank could offer all the benefits of a traditional one - security, expertise, outstanding service - whilst delivering all the convenience and connectivity that a state-of-the-art digital interface brings.



The importance of a well-thought out brand

The Mediablaze Brand Builder product is designed to identify and deliver the key elements of a brand in just four weeks. As such, it was the ideal framework for Alpian who were working to a presentation deadline set by FINMA. Bringing the Mediablaze team and client stakeholders together, the highly collaborative nature of Brand Builder proved the perfect way to build out all the elements of a truly premium and innovative brand well before FINMA’s deadline and Alpian’s first confident step towards gaining full Swiss Private Bank status.



Brand Workshop: Exploring inspiration and aspirations

The core Mediablaze team travelled to Geneva where we ran the intensive one day workshop that is the foundation of our Brand Builder offering. During this session with all the major client stakeholders we explored their aspirations and inspirations at a brand level, the values that would shape and guide their business and the behaviours they wanted to put in place to have a disruptive but definitely positive impact on their chosen sector. Taking all these considerations into account we also did some initial naming and visual identity exploration.


Progression 01.

Naming and positioning

During this session we explored a range of names and corresponding positioning statements. Of four options presented, ‘Alpian’ was selected for its clear link to the Swiss Alps which overlook Geneva, the solidity those mountains represent and how they can and have been used as a clear navigational point. The name was also liked for it’s classical - almost Latin - construct which blended the traditional into something totally new, in much the same way this new digital bank intends to.


Progression 02.

Building a brand identity

Having established the name and the reasoning behind it, this session focused largely on the logo and brandmark. Of nine options presented, the final logo was built using a font sourced from a Swiss foundry, again reinforcing the brand’s Swiss provenance even at the most subtle levels. The typestyle was coupled with another unmistakably Swiss element the ‘+’ which can be seen to represent the Swiss flag, the brand’s stated aim to use wealth for good and as a symbol of positivity and growth.


Progression 03.

Discovering a voice

With the name and logo in place, this session was used to refine the written and spoken elements of the brand focusing on a tone of voice that fit the visual style and delivered the brand values with reassuring confidence and clarity. The brand values were also established at this point, using the refined tone of voice to express them.


Progression 04.

Delivering brand guidelines

This session was used for the presentation and client approval of the full Alpian Brand Guidelines. This was a culmination and distillation of all the collaborative efforts between client and agency in the previous sessions and a comprehensive and actionable guide to how the brand looks, acts, speaks and appears both on and offline.


“The brand is absolutely a perfect reflection of what we are trying to achieve with Alpian. It is pretty rare that design aesthetics meet the standards I set, but this brand does. Simple, clean, elegant, and meaningful. I want to thank you again for bringing this to us.”

Schuyler Weiss


Dynamic growth

On a trajectory of growth Alpian has secured FINMA status, been noted as a start-up to watch in 2021, and secured Series B funding.


In 2020, Alpian's FINMA application to operate as a FinTech was successful and they subsequently undertook a €11.5M Series A funding round.


Alpian have been listed as one of 10 'Swiss Start-ups to Watch in 2021'
EU Startups


In April 2021 Alpian announced it had secured $18M of Series B funding to launch the bank in the Swiss market.

Supporting Insights.

Roger Barr

Ten brands that play a pivotal role in enriching customers' lives

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