What now for Pakistan?
In the same week that Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, there were adverts promoting a conference in Karachi entitled “Islamic marketing renaissance”, a bid to position Pakistan as a global leader in Islamic marketing. It was a strange paradox, and a baffling equation to unpack for anyone interested in marketing to Muslims.
But Pakistan should not be so easily dismissed – we need to peek underneath the newspaper headlines. Along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Malaysia, it was one of the countries that formed part of Ogilvy Noor’s research into “Brands, Islam and the new Muslim consumer.” That’s because it was important to identify Muslim consumers at various stages in the consumption and development cycle and to explore their needs. Pakistan is definitely a key component of our understanding of the wider Muslim demographic.
With over 170 million people, Pakistan makes up just under 10% of the global Muslim population, a figure which surprises many people who think Muslims are Arabs (and vice versa). What is eye-popping is that in 2007, the under-25 population was estimated at 63%. That means that for any brand wishing to build a loyal following as Pakistan continues to grow its economy, then this is the time to start engaging young people.
What such companies need to bear in mind is that (Bin Laden not withstanding), Islam is very important to these young Muslim populations. In our recent report on how Muslim youth are redefining leadership, it’s clear that building positive perceptions of Islam (82% of Futurists agreed) was important, and went hand in hand with integrating into the modern world (68% of Futurists agreed with this one).
Pakistan probably will not be the latest domino to fall in sequence of the Arab uprisings. However, these attitudes are important to note. With nearly two thirds of its population potentially holding attitudes which search for stronger leadership – commercial as well as social – that integrates modernity and faith, this is a group that is worth paying attention to, uprising or no.