The Insider’s View at Ogilvy Noor
OgilvyNoor’s newest recruit, Shelina Janmohamed comments on her first 3 months at the world’s home of expertise on Muslim consumers…
At first glance religion and shopping don’t seem very likely bedfellows. After all, religionists often rail against consumerism eating away at spiritual and social values. Having worked in marketing for fifteen years, I’ve always had a strong sense that products and brands can and should be partners in the lives of consumers. After all, even people of religion need stuff, right?
I also started to get involved in the rising voice and consumer power of the global Muslim population. The concerns that keep coming up are about having social and shariah-empathetic values at the heart of the products they buy, avoiding stereotypes, and showing respect to the Islamic mindset.
So when OgilvyNoor was launched last year, I was intrigued, finally a commercial enterprise had recognised in one go the size and spending power of the world’s Muslim consumers AND that Islam has a role to play in their lives. The proposal was clear: companies that wish to target Muslim consumers must recognise both of these simultaneously.
Three months in I can confirm that this is not a cheap marketing ruse, nor an empty pandering PR stunt. The folks here really believe with a passion that understanding the role of religion in the lives of Muslim consumers will make a difference to the companies that serve them as well as the consumers themselves.
I’ll be tweeting and blogging more about the inside view at Ogilvy Noor so stay posted for the insights on what it’s like here and the work that we’re doing to help better understand the importance, needs and nuances of the Muslim consumer.
One of my first tasks has been to look at the hundreds and hundreds of people who’ve been writing to OgilvyNoor to express their interest and admiration at the work we’re doing, and to see how we can get them involved (are you one of them?). That just proves to me that I’m right to be very excited about working here and that OgilvyNoor is pioneering a radical change in thinking.
And yes, even though I’m a Muslim it’s entirely safe for me to use the word ‘radical’. Muslims who shop? It’s true, they do.
And as for companies that want to better understand and serve their Muslim consumers? Now there’s a radical idea that I’m right behind.