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  • What is ‘Islamic branding’ and why is it significant?

    Why now?

    The Muslim consumer market, at 1.8 billion people is undeniably the next important (and largely untapped) global opportunity. The halal market alone is worth a staggering US$2.1 trillion a year and is increasing at US$500bn a year due to the growth of the global Muslim population.

    As China and India have captured the attention of the world’s marketers in recent years, a quiet but enormous business potential lies largely untapped in the global Muslim consumer market today, justifying a shift in focus to what Vali Nasr in Forces of Fortune calls the ’3rd one billion’.

    By 2050, more than half of the world’s population will be Muslim. Significantly, 52 per cent of the Muslim community are under 24 years old, pointing to the enormous cultural influence that will be wielded by Muslims in the years to come. Young Muslims are already starting to stamp their influence on the consumption habits of the wider global Muslim community, the Ummah.

    In recent years global marketers have started to enthuse over the size of this prize and ruminate on the importance of cracking it – but the challenge is in managing it knowledgeably, sensitively, and profitably for the long term.

    What exactly is ‘Islamic branding’?

    ‘Islamic Branding’ is a relatively new concept. Good Islamic Branding practice, that is, branding that is friendly or compliant with Shariah principles, naturally embodies many of the values that global businesses are feeling the pressing need to communicate today.

    Values such as honesty, respect, accountability and understanding are core to the principles of Shariah and resonate deeply with Muslim consumers across the world.

    Islamic Branding is not restricted to only brands who consider themselves Islamic, or want to be Islamic. At Ogilvy Noor, we believe that the principles of good Islamic Branding practice, as we define them, are good practice for all businesses the world over.

    From our research, we found that the Shariah values mentioned above, that Muslim consumers aspire to, are closely aligned with the existing universal ideals of good business practice.This has become particularly important for global business given the massive erosion of trust in bodies of authority, including corporations, in recent years. Shariah values can offer brands a roadmap back to the kind of practices that build credibility with all consumers. For example, 32% of Muslim consumers agree that ‘respect’ and ‘responsibility’ are still the fundamentals of a good brand. Islamic values, in fact, can champion the cause of corporate social responsibility in both the Muslim and Western worlds.

    We can therefore think of Islamic branding as:

    ‘Branding that is empathetic to Shariah values in order to appeal to the Muslim consumer, ranging from basic Shariah-friendliness to full Shariah-compliance in all aspects of the brand’s identity, behaviour and communications.’

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