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It was important to establish how to talk to the Muslim consumer: John Goodman on Ogilvy Noor

28-May-2010
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It was important to establish how to talk to the Muslim consumer: John Goodman on Ogilvy Noor

In partnership with TNS, Ogilvy & Mather’s two-year survey in the making reveals what drives Muslims as consumers, against the vast backdrop of ethnic, economic, political and religious diversity of the Muslim world. The report, titled ‘Brands, Islam & the New Muslim Consumer’ serves as the launch pad for Ogilvy Noor that aims to help brands better engage with Muslim consumers worldwide. The research included four culturally-distinct, major Muslim markets such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

In an email interaction, John Goodman, Regional President, Ogilvy & Mather South & Southeast Asia, explained more on the study’s impact on the Indian Muslim consumers. He said, “As we didn't include India as one of the four selected markets, we're unable to specifically differentiate the Indian Muslim consumer. However, we feel that it should be very relevant in helping to understand how Muslim consumers sometimes make brand decisions influenced by the principles of their faith and the Shariah. We recognise the secular principles of Indian society, but feel it may be helpful in achieving greater relevance for this large sub-group.”

According to Goodman the study intends to provide -- with broad brush strokes -- advice on how to talk effectively to the new Muslim consumer. He said, “Rather than talking to individual markets differently, we felt it was important to establish how to talk to the Muslim consumer effectively. This type of research has never been developed before.”

Ogilvy Noor’s Modern Muslim

According to Ogilvy & Mather’s survey on ‘Islamic Branding’, a new generation is redefining what it means to be modern and Muslim, creating new meanings of religious pride, economic progress and global citizenship. Researchers looked at Islam through the lens of the tangible effect that it has on how lives are lived and how that in turn affects brands and business. The research has identified trends and opportunities that are emerging from the world’s most interesting, dynamic yet controversial ‘marketplace’.

In addition, the survey provides insights into Shariah values and how brands can align with them. Significantly, the report sheds light on how these practices are closely aligned with the existing universal ideals of good business practices, such as authenticity and transparency, which have only become more important for global business in recent years. Similarly, despite the massive sums spent by financial services brands on Shariah-compliant banking services - Ogilvy Noor can reveal that the vast majority of consumers view this category as the least effective in terms of Shariah-compliance. Thus, Ogilvy Noor aims to clear up the apprehension by shedding light on what works and what doesn’t with the modern Muslim consumer.

According to Ogilvy Noor, The Muslim consumer is viewed as a critically important segment for marketers, with the halal segment alone worth US$2.1 trillion, and growing at US$500 billion annually. The report debunks many of the stereotypes that surround Muslim consumer attitudes towards brands and their marketing communications. For example, halal labels, while important to showcase certification, are no longer sufficient to persuade the New Muslim Consumer that the company behind the product conducts its business in line with Islamic values.

Ogilvy Noor is a multidisciplinary practice focused on Islamic branding, drawn from across the breadth and depth of Ogilvy& Mather Group's global network. Ogilvy Noor is led by a team of experts based across our key Muslim market offices worldwide which are Dubai, Pakistan, Malaysia and the UK. The core team includes John Goodman, President of Ogilvy Action Asia Pacific and President Ogilvy & Mather South and Southeast Asia, Nazia Hussain, Director of Cultural Strategy for Ogilvy & Mather globally, Tanya Dernaika, Planning Director for Memac Ogilvy across the Middle East, Zayn Khan, Regional Business Strategy Director for South and South East Asia, and Shazia Khan, Associate Planning Director at Ogilvy in Karachi.

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