Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

The rise of the ‘new Muslim consumer’

with 4 comments

Last year, this blog took a look at how brands are trying to engage and interact more successfully with Muslim audiences, following a feature I wrote on this topic in Media.

The area itself has been talked up for some time, thanks to some mind-boggling numbers: 1.8 billion Muslims, that spend $2.1 trillion on the halal segment alone. That last number, meanwhile, is growing by a cool $500 million a year.

So it is no surprise that brands, and their agencies, are catching on. None more so, it seems, than Ogilvy, which has released a very interesting research report that explodes some common stereotypes about marketing to Muslims.The report accompanies the latest stage in the rollout of Ogilvy’s Islamic branding offering, which I first detailed last year. It has a new name, Ogilvy Noor, and has partnered with TNS to survey Muslim attitudes towards specific brands and categories in several global markets.

There are several interesting findings, which I have condensed as follows:

1. The ‘New Muslim Consumer’ does not fit into any easy stereotypes.

They are young, proud of their religion, and ready to rock the boat if they feel they are being patronised. This defies the usual marketing logic around both older Muslim and younger non-Muslim consumers. There is no automatic acceptance of Western technology or brands. Furthermore, the Ogilvy report points out that “halal stickers are no longer sufficient to persuade the New Muslim Consumer of a brand’s belief in Islamic values.”

2. Get ready for that boycott

Already we are seeing Muslims boycott Facebook for perceived slights against their religion. This follows the widespread boycott of Danish products after newspapers in that country printed offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. That boycott cost Denmark $2.6 billion in lost revenues. The message is simple: brands that get it wrong can expect some serious consequences. It is this fear on the part of Western brand marketers, you imagine, that Ogilvy is hoping to tap into through the launch of this new unit.

3. Shariah values are good values

The values that make up good Shariah practice can effectively form the building blocks for a sensitive CSR strategy. “Values such as transparency, discipline, humility and purity are universal in their appeal,” reads the report. Shariah values can offer brands, even Western ones, a roadmap back to consumer credibility – regardless of country of religion.

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Written by Arun Sudhaman

May 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

4 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karthik S, Arun Sudhaman. Arun Sudhaman said: On my blog: The rise of the ‘new Muslim consumer' http://bit.ly/aLIyDk […]

  2. […] Forum. It’s an area I have a lot of interest in – not least because of my work on the Ogilvy Noor research. What I hadn’t bargained for were the protesters who gathered to target the Sarawak […]

  3. […] Marketing Forum. It’s an area I have a lot of interest in – not least because of my work on the Ogilvy Noor research. What I hadn’t bargained for were the protesters who gathered to target the Sarawak […]

  4. […] respect their values and cultures. For example, Danish brands suffered a revenue loss of $2.6billion[4] when newspapers in the country printed offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed; as Muslim […]


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