Islamic marketing and the creation of a “Muslim brand” is becoming a new marketing sub-discipline, as well as generating growing global interest in the worlds of industry and academia, writes Jonathan A.J. Wilson in The Guardian (Feb. 17), a British newspaper.
Concerns particular to Muslims, such as wearing head-coverings, might have been dealt with under the banner of multicultural or ethnic marketing, but now “Islamic marketing seems ready to become another must-have in a growing portfolio of marketing degree and professional courses on your CV.” As economies with large Muslim population (with large proportions under the age of 25) are growing in importance in the global market, catering to an Islamic identity is becoming popular with both marketers and governments.
In 2010, business leader Miles Young described Muslims as the “third one billion” in terms of market opportunity, and bigger news than the Indian and Chinese billions. Wilson reports that at the end of 2013, at the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), held for the first time outside of the Muslim world in London, and at the first Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES), “speakers stressed that Muslim majority and minority markets, while rooted in Islamic principles, transcend faith.”
Thus there is considerable attention paid to the Muslim consumers on halal food and lifestyle products (estimated at $2.3 trillion). Islamic financial assets are growing at 15-20 percent a year.
He adds that an “Islamic identity has risen as something that homogenizes diverse audiences and governs key behavioral traits. Furthermore, as with other niche segments, there is evidence to show that there are patterns of higher consumption and greater loyalty, when aligned with Islam…Brand Islam is joining sectors together, including fashion, cosmetics, entertainment, tourism, education, pharma, professional services and others under one narrative.”
He cites author John Grant as drawing parallels between the Muslim world (which he calls the Interland) and the rise of Japanese brands, like Sony, which showed a desire to change negative world perceptions towards Japan after the postwar occupation in 1945. “We are seeing Muslims searching for a way to reach out and harness spirituality in a post 9/11 era.”
One contribution of Islamic marketing is the idea that professionalism cannot be judged by products and services alone. Islam exacts that individuals, in both their professional and private lives, stand beside their offerings and audiences – you practice what you preach. This is not unique to Islam or Muslims, but they are at the forefront of this wider agenda.”