Is Islamic Branding Stereotyped?

“Ramadan Best Time To Pitch Islamic Banking” — reading this headline made me wonder if the available Muslim consumer psychographic data is being used by the marketing heads in the Islamic financial service category and if new marketing practices, in order to have strong, meaningful brand relationships would ever materialise.

Looking at the “noise” created by the Islamic banks during Ramadan (the fasting month for all Muslims) one is amazed at how at how these renowned corporate brands play on the Muslim consumers Islamic sentiments to promote or sell their retail products. In spite of availability of vast consumer psychographic data one sees the same stereotyped approach to the Muslim consumer in this sector.

Why is this so?

Is it a continuous believe that the Muslim consumer only spends during Ramadan?
Is it because the Muslim consumer is only giving (gifts etc) during Ramadan?

Over the years such marketing communication only shows (and reinforces) the stereotype that marketers often think of when they think of the Muslim consumer i.e. that the Muslim consumer is in a “ halal buying mindset” only during Ramadan given his/her spiritual practice during this holy month.

Here’s some key points with regards to the Muslim consumers of TODAY:

1.Muslims exist beyond the Holy month of Ramadan: Their need and desire for Halal products, solutions and brands is present right round the year and not just in the Holy Month.

2.Move out of the Stereotype image of the Muslim consumer: Study the Muslim consumers mindset, by specific age groups, and see how similar they are with other consumer trends. Understand the mindset and craft brand communication to address that, NOT the Muslim consumers’ practice of Islam.

3.Understand, Appreciate and Utilise the GAP: The global Muslim community comprises of a huge number of socio-cultural groups. Understand these cultures and the social differences’ within the community and pick out the subtle nuances in order to enable the brand to develop a strong relationship with the target consumer.

4.Track and Understand the Evolving Value System of the Muslim consumer: Values evolve very slowly but this can be seen in the way the values are expressed. Muslim consumers have adapted to modern day life and have found modern ways of articulating their values beyond the (oft perceived) stereotyped image. It’s critical to track and understand this changing values of the Muslim consumer in order to obtain empathy from them and associate your brand.

For corporates, businesses and entreprenuers, who are willing to develop strong brands for the global muslim community and have the will to try new marketing approaches,move out of the comfort zones and try new strategic approaches that are based on treating the Muslim consumer as a modern day consumer, the sustainable financial rewards are there for the taking.

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One thought on “Is Islamic Branding Stereotyped?

  1. Alun says:

    It’s a fact that any business which targets Muslim consumers has an uplift in business during the Holy Month.

    As a parallel example, why is it every mortgage company has a big push to sell mortgages in March (in the UK) – well, because the Spring is the time that more people buy/sell houses. It’s a fact.

    So equally a business that offers products and services which have a specific relevance for Muslim consumers (who by the way are ‘ordinary’ consumers too) will step up their offers/promotional activity during Ramadan/Eid periods. I know some Muslims who are relative ‘lax’ most of the time, but will ‘make good’ in Ramadan.

    I would also hypothesise that Ramadan is a time when people revisit some of their personal affairs. For example whilst Zakat isn’t exclusive to Ramadan, this is a time when many people pay it, and this may stimulate a review of financial arrangements, and having some time to do something about it.

    Christmas and the New Year in the UK (for Muslims, Sheikhs, Hindus, as well as Christians) is a period when many people review their plans/arrangements, and there is an uplift in job search, financial planning etc. in January. So I suggest that Ramadan and Eid, in between other commitments, is a time for wider reflection beyond spiritual affairs.

    This is not to say the rest of the year is a washout for marketing to Muslim consumers, but the Holy Month is a good time to up the pace on promoting solutions and services.

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