Global brands also see the market potential in digital space. For example, mobile phone manufacturer LG launched handsets in August, with a number of special features, including a Qiblah indicator, and prayer time alarm functions as well as Quran software, the Hijiri calendar and a Zakat calculator. And the growth of the networked society presents many opportunities in the area of social media, where brands such as Muxlim. Financial products and services: Over the last twenty years there has been a proliferation of banks offering Islamic finance, and countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and others are competing to capitalize on this trend and become regional Islamic finance hubs.
Following the recent global recession, issues regarding lack of trust in the conventional banking system have added impetus to the growth of Islamic finance. While the breakdown of the conventional global finance between and caused havoc in most countries, the Islamic finance industry in general was relatively unaffected, although there were some sukuk Islamic bond defaults in places such as Dubai.
The continued rapid growth of Islamic finance is also partly due to the fact that it is based on principles that are accepted widely by non-Muslim as well as Muslim consumers. Islamic finance remains a small percentage of the global financial industry, but fast growth is continuing and there is plenty of room for product innovation.
Lifestyle and fashion products: In addition to the categories of lifestyle media magazines and beauty products, the world of Islamic clothing and fashion has started to blossom globally, offering women a vast array of products that combine fashion with Islamic principles. It is interesting to note that an increasing number of Western brands are already providing products in many categories alongside brands that are indigenous to Muslim majority countries. They have succeeded to date because of their global brand awareness and reputation.
What they must do is understand the local context within the markets they are in.
However, for companies from Muslim countries there are different challenges to tackle before they can take advantage of these opportunities. One of the most fundamental obstacles to the growth of brands from the Muslim world is simply how to achieve brand awareness, gain consumer trial, purchase and preference for their brands when established Western brands have achieved strong brand equity and loyalty?
Challenges for brands from the Muslim world. One of the most fundamental obstacles to the growth of brands from the Muslim world is simply how they can achieve brand awareness and gain consumer preference for their brands when established Western brands have already achieved strong brand equity and loyalty.
Linked to this challenge is the issue of how to gain access in cluttered markets. In order to become successful as an international brand, especially in fast-moving consumer and retail goods, it is important to get critical mass in terms of distribution. In established markets this can be difficult. Thirdly, in entering new markets, brands need acceptability by consumers, especially with respect to the country-of-origin. The country-of-origin effect can be highly influential when it comes to consumer purchase decisions.
In the absence of powerful branding, consumers are very risk-averse, and tend not to buy products from countries about which they have doubts or prejudices.
The biggest educational challenge for marketers of brands from Muslim countries is to move consumer attention away from where products have come from to what they are actually are and the qualities they possess. The management of perceptions is a vital branding skill. Immediately after the War that label meant cheap copies of Western products; now it connotes high tech products of high quality and reliability. China is currently going through that same process.
Muslim brand owners thus have to take decisions whether or not to play up or down the country-of-origin of their products, and determine what national associations might transfer to their brand images.
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Only then can a company prioritise, create, and tailor its campaigns accordingly, and negative perceptions can be successfully avoided with carefully planned communications strategies. A further challenge arises when building international brands in Halal-related categories such as food, as companies have to produce products and services that are of top quality and acceptable to their intended markets. There are two aspects to this, the first of which is that for brands to do well in Halal markets they have to possess the correct accreditation from the relevant authorities.
This can be problematic in international marketing as there is no one globally acknowledged accreditation system, and what is acceptable as Halal in one Muslim country may not be approved by the authorities in others; in fact, there are well over a hundred Halal accreditation systems in existence today, with many conflicting standards.
The second issue is that Halal accreditation is not always connected to product quality, and in some countries, despite government support, many companies from Islamic countries have not made it to the international stage because their products only satisfied the accreditation part of the criteria, and not the quality criteria demanded by foreign markets. Achieving this combination of gaining proper accreditation and meeting international quality standards is imperative.
The final challenge is competitive attack from major Western brands that have moved quickly and deeply into these markets with powerful positioning, strong brand names, good value propositions, and that are already known and respected both globally and in the Muslim world. The success of big brands in Muslim markets is not because they possess technical superiority in their products, although they do meet very high quality and accreditation standards, but because their brand names are so well known and trusted that success is almost guaranteed.
Can Islamic companies perform in the global branding arena? The above challenges lead some people to say that companies from Muslim majority countries will find it difficult to build international and global brands, especially in those markets already dominated by powerful global brands. Western brands have the marketing and branding expertise but often lack the cultural awareness and local knowledge to penetrate Islamic markets successfully.
They have to work harder with local market research and accreditation agencies. There is no shortage of Muslim business leaders with the vision necessary to harness technology and innovative ideas, both of which are freely available, and global niche markets exist for those who can move in quickly.
Speed and agility are not strengths possessed by many of the existing global giants, and there are always segments in markets where needs and wants are not catered for by large global corporations. The global Muslim market represents enormous opportunities for companies from any country, whether Islamic or non-Islamic, but all face challenges.
Companies from Muslim countries have an array of branding opportunities, ranging all the way from products to companies and organizations and even national identities, and their advantage lies in their understanding of what Muslims want. But they admit to not having enough branding and marketing knowledge and skill to do the job properly and executive education is a key priority for them.
My view is that these challenges will be overcome on both sides. Western brands are already moving ahead with some force and the huge multinationals will undoubtedly continue to gain market share if they learn to understand Islamic values, and there are early signs of success that brands developed in the Muslim world are quickly gaining experience in international marketing.
There is no doubt in my mind that the next wave of brand development and success will come from the global Islamic market. Go to top. About the author. Paul Temporal is a leading global expert on brand creation, development and management with over thirty years of experience in management consulting and training, and is well known for his practical and results-oriented approach.
I am the marketing manager for a book publishing company that specializes in books written by Muslim authors or involving themes of Islam. We are seeking resources on how to market our books, to Muslim and non-Muslim audiences.
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How to create a link in the similarities of these two countries, holding the uniqueness of Indonesia muslim population and culture. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Leave this field empty. The European Financial Review. Food Union taps into rapidly expanding Chinese dairy market.
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Islamic Branding and Marketing: Creating a Global Islamic Business
The global Muslim market is now approximately 23 percent of the world's population, and is projected to grow by about 35 percent in the next 20 years. If current trends continue, there are expected to be 2. Author Paul Temporal explains how to develop and manage brands and businesses for the fast-growing Muslim market through sophisticated strategies that will ensure sustainable value, and addresses issues such as: How is the global Muslim market structured? What opportunities are there in Islamic brand categories, including the digital world? What strategies should non-Muslim companies adopt in Muslim countries?
Author Bios Dr. Paul Temporal is a leading global expert on brand strategy and management. He has over 30 years of experience in consulting and training, and is a much sought after international speaker. He has consulted for many of the top corporations and governments around the world, and is well known for his practical and results-oriented approach. As part of his work at Oxford University, Dr.
Temporal directs a research and education project on Islamic branding and marketing. Free Access. Summary PDF Request permissions. Tools Get online access For authors.