In the Name of Faith and Fun - JWT MENA Intelligence Report - April 2014

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Meet the 'Mipsterz'.

A growing cultural phenomenon of young, hip and edgy Muslims, who rather than making a statement on what Islam is, or isn’t, are instead paving the way for a new era of Muslim integration. By breaking the monolithic stereotype of Islam as a symbol of archaism and oppression, through their non-partisan swagger and ability to merge faith and fun.

Their social minds, ethical consumption patterns and fervor for a more inclusive community, poses an opportunity for brands to integrate Mipster needs into a wider strategy that accommodates their spectrum of Muslim values – values which are in fact desirable by any societal measure.

While the Mipster subculture has just come to light in the West, we have been seeing this cohort (the New Age Muslim) grow steadily in the MENA and in Egypt particularly over the past few years, fuelled by a young, progressive and tech savvy Millennial Arab - a minority soon to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon.

In this report, JWT MENA Brand Intelligence takes an in-depth look at the logic and psyche of the 'Mipster' subculture and how they are projecting an entirely new, positive image of Muslims in the media. In both the fictional and real world examples, the positive archetype of these Muslim hipsters has been making waves in a growing number of cultural spheres - with their bold work and powerful messages on equality and self-expression - and we expect to see sustained energy and momentum of this trend onwards and around the world.

This is a report by JWT MEA Brand Intelligence.

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In the Name of Faith and Fun - JWT MENA Intelligence Report - April 2014

  1. 1. THE MIPSTERZ In the Name of Faith & Fun April 2014 Image Credit: The Guardian
  2. 2. THANK YOU TABLE OF CONTENTS About this Report................................................................................................................................... 3 Who are the Mipsterz? ......................................................................................................................... 5 Mipster Motivations ............................................................................................................................ 15 Mipster Challenges .............................................................................................................................. 24 What it Means for Brands .................................................................................................................... 29 What’s Next ......................................................................................................................................... 37 Thought Starters .................................................................................................................................. 39 IN THE NAME OF FAITH AND FUN
  3. 3. The Mipsterz are a growing cultural phenomenon of young, hip and edgy Muslims, who rather than making a statement on what Islam is, or isn’t, imposing their values onto the world, are instead paving the way for a new era of Muslim integration. By breaking the monolithic stereotype of Islam as a symbol of archaism and oppression, through their non-partisan swagger and ability to merge faith and fun. Following the September 11 bombings, Muslim communities everywhere faced a backlash of discrimination, with notions equating Islam to radicalism and violence. Muslims living in the West particularly suffered the consequences and stereotypical projections for many years to follow. By 2002, the FBI had already reported a 1700% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the US alone and in Europe, these discriminations even infiltrated the work place, where women were denied jobs for wearing religious forms of dress - the Hijab. The results of this oppression were also discernable within the Middle East. Whereby in reaction to what was happening in the rest of the world, conservative Muslims became even more conservative, driving a noticeable religious polarity across Middle Eastern markets. For Muslim women particularly, stereotypes of being meek, submissive, backward and bland, cornered them into social seclusion under the false assumption that to others, being devoted to one’s faith and adopting worldly interests such as music, art and fashion were in conflict. Yet, it is out of this conflict that the Mipsterz came to light. Their social minds, ethical consumption patterns and fervor for a more inclusive community, poses an opportunity for brands to integrate Mipster needs into a wider strategy that accommodates their spectrum of Muslim values – values which are in fact desirable by any societal measure. Many of the issues around which Mipster paradigm initiatives will be dealt need to be addressed at a systemic level and also need to take into account local and cultural traditions, thinking and nuances. To quote the Guardian, “This is perhaps analogous to a post African-American civil rights movement, where ‘black’ music, comedy, fashion, cosmetics and sports now transcend race and ethnicity.” While the Mipster subculture has just come to light in the West, we have been seeing this cohort (the New Age Muslim) grow steadily in the MENA and in Egypt particularly over the past few years, fuelled by a young, progressive and tech savvy Millennial Arab - a minority soon to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon. ABOUT THIS REPORT Source: BBC.co.uk; The Daily Beast.com: Meet the Mipsterz; The Guardian: Brand Islam is fast becoming the new black in marketing terms, 2014; Philips: Rethinking value in a changing Landscape 2011 IN THE NAME OF FAITH AND FUN
  4. 4. In this report, we take an in-depth look at the logic and psyche of the Mipster subculture and how they are projecting an entirely new, positive image of Muslims in the media. In both the fictional and real world examples, the positive archetype of these Muslim hipsters has been making waves in a growing number of cultural spheres - with their bold work and powerful messages on equality and self-expression - and we expect to see sustained energy and momentum of this trend onwards and around the world. This is a report by JWT MEA Brand Intelligence. ABOUT THIS REPORT… Cont’d. Source: BBC.co.uk; The Daily Beast.com: Meet the Mipsterz; The Guardian: Brand Islam is fast becoming the new black in marketing terms, 2014; Philips: Rethinking value in a changing Landscape 2011 IN THE NAME OF FAITH AND FUN
  5. 5. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? Source: Sheikh Bake Youtube
  6. 6. THANK YOU DEFINITIONS Mipster /mipsta/ noun 1. a combination of Muslim and hipster, Mipsterz have a social mind and a yearning for a more just order and a more inclusive community WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? Source: Google Dictionary; The Daily Beast, Meet the Mipsterz
  7. 7. Mipsterz are a growing subculture of (primarily female) vivacious, happy and dynamic young Muslims, who are living life to its fullest without compromising any aspect of their faith. They aren't trying to be something they‘re not. They‘re just being - and having a great time. We see them at the forefront of the latest music, fashion, art, critical thought, food, imagination and creativity. The perfect balance of faith and fun. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? BALANCING FAITH & FUN Source: Mipsterz Facebook Page Image Credit:Tmblr
  8. 8. While ‗sister‘ Mipsterz wear their Hijabs proudly and ‗mister‘ Mipsterz practice their daily prayers willingly, they neither impose nor expect others to follow these religious practices or any religious practice for that matter. What they want, is simply to co-exist harmoniously in the Western cultures they live in. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? UNBIASED OUTLOOK Image Credit: glamourparis.com
  9. 9. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? DEVOTED TO THE PRACTICE Image Credit: thetimes.co.uk They observe religious codes and are adamant about adhering to all that is ‗halal‘ and ethical, but this does not prevent them from frequenting places that serve non-halal products. Nor does it prevent them from hanging out in regular social places in any way. This differs from ‗liberal Muslims‘ who do not necessarily uphold Muslim protocol.
  10. 10. They mix what they believe is the best of both their worlds. They are highly educated, career driven and shine as trendsetters in their respective fields. Highly in-vogue and appearance conscience, they integrate traditional dress codes through stylish hijabs and gutsy attire to conjure up striking modern looks. Avid followers of fashion, which makes them stand out within their own Muslim communities. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? DARING TORCHBEARERS Source: Vision.aeImage Credit: Thehijablog.com
  11. 11. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? The Mipsterz are rapping, modeling, skateboarding and breaking global charts. They seek inspiration from any kind of music, art, logic and even the Quran itself for their fresh and exciting projects. Capturing the world‘s attention and inspiring Muslims everywhere who have not yet built up the courage to do so. GOT SWAGGER Image Credit: hibamagazine.com
  12. 12. They cultivate and flaunt their uniqueness, proving that they can be dynamic, stylish, and individual, while maintaining modesty at all times. They are not real hipsters or rebels, as they work within – rather than against – the rules. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? REBELS WITH A CAUSE Image Credit: globalpost.com
  13. 13. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? They are social activists who pay heed to ethical consumption practices. They reject blind consumerism since their activist mindsets sees them supporting causes that speak to them, as they yearn for a more just and inclusive landscape. Image Credit: muslima.imow.org SOCIALLY WIRED
  14. 14. They are strong media advocates and recognize the power of digital spaces to connect with other Mipsterz and change the prejudiced misconceptions of the West. WHO ARE THE MIPSTERZ? OPERATING WITH PERSPECTIVE Image Credit: glamourpics.com
  15. 15. MIPSTER MOTIVATIONS Liberation Daring torchbearers Transformation New era of Muslim rendition Integration Harmoniously co-exist Devotion Loyal to religious guidelines
  16. 16. MIPSTER MOTIVATIONS DEVOTION When Mipsterz go out to dinner, they still insist on the meat or poultry being ‗halal‘ and she will still cover everything but her hands and face. They make it very clear that religion comes first and they are not prepared to bend the grain for anyone or anything. However, despite being religiously devoted, they are not religiously fanatic and show a marked loyalty to their country of abode. According to a Gallup poll for the book, ‗Who Speaks for Islam; What a billion Muslims Really Think‟, about 93% of the world‘s 1.6 billion Muslims are moderates and only 7% are radical. Yet rather than succumb to the misinterpretations of Islam over the years, moderate Mipsterz happily work within the rules – rather than against them - to enjoy every aspect of modern day life to its fullest whilst remaining loyal to the pillars of both their faith and communities. Source: Gallup & The Co-exist Foundation: Muslim Americans, A National portrait.; Who Speaks for Islam?;What a billion Muslims Really Think Abu Dhabi Gallup & the Co-exist Foundation: Muslim Americans, Faith, Freedom & the Future Image Credit: www.theblaze.com
  17. 17. MIPSTER DEVOTION YASIIN BEY RAP ARTIST The artist formally known as Mos Def is a Muslim rapper and actor. Born Dante Smith in 1974, the 27-year-old from Brooklyn converted to Islam at the age of 19. Since then, Islam has been the inspiration of Yasiin‟s social life and career. MARWA ATIK VEIL DESIGNER Marwa Atik is the creator of “Vela”, where she merges her favorite accents, such as ruffles and zippers, with otherwise bland veils. Her passion for the veil, combined with her great fashion sense and design expertise, is apparent in her exclusive creations. MIPSTER SKATEBOARDERS Cool and confident, Mipsterz can be fashionable, sporty and arty and they can skateboard – without breaking the rules. MORROCO’S FEMALE BIKER GIRLS These images were shared repetitively by Mipsterz on their official Facebook page, inference to their endorsement of the biker gang Hijabis. Image Credit: Peerie.com, The Guardina, Sheik Bake Youtube Page, Queensizedflava.com
  18. 18. MIPSTER MOTIVATIONS INTEGRATION To most, a Mipster by sheer existence probably sounds like an oxymoron – how can a Muslim layered in shrouds of veils still be up to date, cool and in control? Yet, despite their religious zeal, the Mipsterz are well attuned to the requisites of global citizenry and co-exist harmoniously within their communities, neither imposing their values onto others nor caring for the religious orientation of others for that matter. This allows them to connect to, and blend in with, the rest of the world through the beauty and multiple cultures of Islam, all the while coming across as being ‗just like you‘. According to research by Gallup and the Co-exist Foundation, 89% of Muslim Americans are most likely to reject violent individual attacks on civilians (See fig.2). Their social and activist mindsets are the directive of Muslim ordinance that, ‗one good deed bestows reward‘, and this dictates their adherence to social codes and ethical consumption patterns. Source: Abu Dhabi Gallup & The Co-exist Foundation: Muslim Americans, Faith Freedom & The Future
  19. 19. MIPSTER INTEGRATION THE NARCICSYST Alsalman better known as The Narcicsyst is an Iraqi rapper. He released “A Bend in the River”, which shares the dilemma a person goes through when cultures clash in their lives. His fans feel as though his lyrics and sense of humor convey the complication of their own reality: that of being Arab, Muslim and Western in a post-September 11 world. KAMALA KHAN SUPERHERO The new Ms. Marvel is a 16-year-old Pakistani girl. She is Marvel Comics‟ new superhero gifted with the ability to change shapes. Kamala is a sweet, conflicted teenager whom everyone can relate to. Her struggles will be familiar to anyone who has tried to figure out where they belong.” MIPSTERZ XMAS Late last year, Mipsterz celebrated „A Very Mipsterz Xmas‟, in light of the fact that Jesus is a holy prophet to all mankind – Muslims included. Acknowledging and sharing the festivities along with their communities. FIFA FIFA the football world‟s governing body has just lifted a ban on head covers, allowing veiled female Muslim players to cover their heads during matches. According to Aljazeera, wearing head covers had been banned until 2012. Source: Washington Post Image Credit: Muftah.org, ibtimes.co.uk, Mipsterz Facebook Page, foxsports.org
  20. 20. MIPSTER MOTIVATIONS LIBERATION Although the Islamic faith still largely retains a code of conduct by which Muslims seek to be shaped, its practices and rituals are increasingly becoming a more individual form of expression that reflect a spectrum of Muslim ideologies, all of this driven by Millennial individuality. After years of religious or racial discrimination, these well heeled and well educated Mipsterz are breaking free from common prejudices and seeking out goods and services that accommodate the nuances of their Muslim habits into otherwise impractical lifestyle situations. By demonstrating that self-satisfying and successful lifestyles do not equate to living in sin or conflict, they are inspiring Muslim communities to break free from the stigmas bestowed upon them. And whether consciously or subconsciously, the Mipsterz have become torchbearers to those yearning for a more tolerant and inclusive existence, in a world that has held them back for so long. Image Credit: pinterest.com
  21. 21. MIPSTER LIBERATION ALA Ala is the world's first fashion publication for conservative Muslim women. The NY Times writes, “except for the religious headgear…it could have been any glossy fashion magazine” and is referred to as the „Vogue of the Veiled‟ in the Turkish news media. UNDERWRAPS Is the first global agency representing the Muslim female fashion model. Designer, Nailah Lymus created the agency after meeting various Muslim women who wished to model but couldn‟t from fear of being asked to wear clothing that would violate their beliefs. HIPSTER SHAADI A dating website that helps Mipsterz meet others from the same religious background without any pressure from family members. Today, the site has over 650 users, and has recently gone global, and is now available in cities like Washington and London, as well as in the Middle East, in places like Egypt and the Palestinian territories. LIWWA MENA‟s first Sharia‟ compliant peer- to-peer lending site, The platform's model is very careful about the way it structures its returns as it is forbidden in Sharia to "collect on the price of money.” On Liwwa, there is no mention anywhere of an interest rate; instead, the term “profit rate” is adopted, to reflect the investment‟s nature as a „value-added service.‟ Image Credit: hijabpictures.blogspot.com, Underwraps Agency, Hipster Shaadi Twitter Page, Liwwa.com
  22. 22. MIPSTER MOTIVATIONS TRANSFORMATION The Mipsterz are not just a group of rebels out to blindly challenge their societies or their faith. They are well on their way to making a difference in millions of lives around the world and impacting society in ways that will be remembered throughout history. Their ability to lead civilized and productive lifestyles in their communities is changing the way non-Muslims perceive Islam. Rather than making a statement on what Islam is - or what it isn‘t – or imposing their values onto the world, the Mipsterz are challenging the monolithic perspective of Islam, as a symbol of archaism and oppression through their non-partisan swagger and trailblazing accomplishments across various cultural spheres. From poets and scholars to pop stars and designers, the Mipsterz are excelling across the arts and overall academia, shining through with literature, awards and global acclaim. Hardly surprising, considering Muslims are the second most educated religious group in the US. As a result of social media, their voice and accomplishments are echoing around the world, paving the way for a new era of Muslim interpretation. Source: Youtube,; Gallup & The Co-exist Foundation: Muslim Americans, A National Portrait
  23. 23. MIPSTER TRANSFORMATION YUNA As a veiled indie-pop singer and songwriter in the US, Yuna is unique to the Western music space. She sings to inspire other Muslim women to pursue their dreams in the music industry or at least change Westerners‟ perceptions about Muslims and bring people closer together. IBTIHAJ MUHAMED Ibtihaj is the first Muslim woman to represent the US in international saber fencing competitions. But she hopes to go further than that and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2016 Olympic games. If she succeeds in doing so, she will become the first veiled U.S. athlete to compete in the Olympics. REZA ASLAN Aslan's International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, describes the history of Islam and argues for a moderate explanation of the religion. He blames past scholars for misinterpreting the Quran and creating controversies within the religion. His book was translated into 17 languages and voted as one of the 100 most important books of the decade. NOOR TAGOURI Noor Tagouri, wants to become the first Muslim hijabi anchorwoman in America. Tagouri defies all beliefs that Muslim women are not capable of holding such positions in society. She has the courage to do what no other Muslim woman before her was given the chance to do; to dream and work hard towards change. Source: Chicago Monitor Image Credit: Pinterest, coloulines.com, organlive.com, awamiweb.com
  24. 24. MIPSTER CHALLENGES Social Skepticism Hyper competitiveness Un-cooperative Brands Restrained lifestyle Radical Resistance Alienation from their own Rituals take the Spotlight Losing sight of their faith
  25. 25. MIPSTER CHALLENGES RITUALS TAKE THE SPOTLIGHT The Mipsterz are very fond of living. They try and experience everything that life has to offer. However, the new Muslim generation born in the West, doesn‘t have a sufficiently deep conception of their background and roots to draw the distinction between who they are and who society expects them to be. This leaves them subject to temptation on a daily basis, be it to attend their prom dance, spend a day at the beach with their friends, or simply, enjoy a relationship with another individual. Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs states that, one of the basic psychological human needs is ‗a sense of belonging‘ and the Mipsterz are adamant about fitting in. We see them pushing the boundaries (without defying them), with things like the ‗Mipster Christmas‘ event they organized late last year, outsmarting the critiques with the argument that Jesus is a prophet of the world. This internal struggle may or may not lead to them losing sight of their faith, as they try to balance their religious values with their social lives and what they see in the media, as they readily adapt to events and rituals that will help them stay on a par with the rest of the world. Image Credit: JWT MENA Marketing to Muslims 2008
  26. 26. MIPSTER CHALLENGES RADICAL RESISTENCE Historically, conservatives have been known to tighten the grip on the rituals and beliefs of their culture, when they feel that change is upon them. Whether true or not, they are convinced that their life is best the way it is and, therefore, there is no need to change or challenge it. To some religious devotees, ‗The Somewhere in America‘ video, portraying the Mipsterz as accomplished artists with a thirst for knowledge and a need for change, might have been lost in translation. Instead, what was perceived was a group of Hijabi Muslimahs wearing inappropriately tight clothes, make-up and high heels. Other veiled Muslims around the world felt insulted and objectified by the video expressing that; this is not how Women are liberated from oppression. The Quran dictates that women should be modest at all times and for many Muslim conservatives, the iconic fashion statements of the Mipsterz defy the notion of modesty referred to in the Holy Book. In fact, the mere notion that Mulimahs need to adjust in order to fit in, is unfathomable, as they refuse to compromise their faith or themselves for that matter, to prove to the world that they are not ‗not terrorist‘, nor do they feel the need to adopt Western mannerisms to erase the stigma bestowed upon them. Image Credit: frontpress.ro
  27. 27. MIPSTER CHALLENGES SOCIAL SKEPTICISM The Mipsterz are going all out to prove themselves in their societies - studying harder to get the higher degrees and working harder to get better jobs and generally claiming fame across various cultural spheres. In fact, they are the second most educated religious group in America, with the highest rate of employment. With the economy stuck in a rut and job scarcity as a status quo, this means that American Muslims are employing jobs that the Americans might feel entitled to. Up until this day, it still angers some Americans that their president has Muslim ancestors and it worries them that this might influence his political directive or foster more leniency towards the Arab world. The fact too, that Mipsterz are calling for more solutions that accommodate their lifestyle needs, might breed public resentment as they come to regard this as an intrusion of their Western values and their country. Source: Abu Dhabi Gallup & The Co-exist Foundation: Muslim Americans, Faith Freedom & The Future
  28. 28. MIPSTER CHALLENGES UNCOOPERATIVE BRANDS To date, many corporate brands have not yet taken the step to accommodate a growing Muslim audience and their need for halal nuances. This ranges from simple obstacles such as non-halal ingredients, e.g. gelatine, found in the majority of food products including coffee creamers, to more extreme barriers perpetuated by the religious veil itself. Brands are either slow to react, or worry that if they adjust their product, they will be alienating the bulk of their consumers. Whatever the reason, the lack of products and services that accommodate Muslim lifestyle nuances will definitely curb normal lifestyles for Mipsterz, hinder their growth and development, or prevent them from reaching their full potential altogether. Image Credit: sixteenr.com
  29. 29. WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS Create Tolerant Ecosystems Equal opportunity Address Lifestyle Nuances Muslim compliant alternatives Integrate Social & Ethical practices Shari‘a compliant consumption Make Ready for the Mipster Moolah Rise of Brand Islam & Muslim Shopper
  30. 30. ADDRESS MUSLIM LIFESTYLE NUANCES Mipsterz are often ‗technically‘ excluded from buying products they would like to be able to consume, because of restrictive ‗halal‘ limitations. Be it through non-halal product ingredients, e.g. gelatin or lard based foods, lifestyle products that nullify religious protocol, e.g. nail polish & swimsuits for women, in addition to unethical production processes, which do not fall within Shari‟a compliance, e.g. animal testing. By understanding the subtle distinctions of the Muslim lifestyle and making minor changes to a product‘s production process, from the ingredients that go into it, to addressing lifestyle limiting barriers, a brand‘s products can become easily accessible to the Mipster, who wants to practice his faith without sacrificing modernity. Observing the basics of terminology, food and holidays is especially important. ieat is a world-class brand which establishes for the first time, a British Muslim identity through upholding Muslim values as well as understanding what it means to be a Muslim today. At times, there may be no alternatives or direct substitutes for ‗halal‘, meaning that brands need to find creative solutions to the desired end goal. E.g. to replace the forbidden dice, a ‗random number generator‘ can be created, opening up the opportunity to a whole range of accessible board games or toys. WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS Image Credit: Ogilvynoor.com Source: Productmuslim.com; Ogilvy Noor: A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer
  31. 31. INTEGRATE SOCIAL AND ETHICAL PRACTICES WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS Companies wishing to target Mipsters need to integrate the principles of Shari‟a within their organization; a holistic business approach through ethical and sustainable business practices. In general, Shari‘a compliance has been misinterpreted. It‘s not just about meeting food or production requirements. Rather, It involves the Tawhid and Tayyeb approaches to an organization. Tawhid includes the obligation for man to serve the entire community, through services that ‗do good‘ and are necessary for the community to live and prosper. That means mobilizing the necessary business talent, capabilities and resources to address these issues, not through philanthropy (because it is not scalable), but through new ways of doing business and engaging partnerships. Under the concept of Tayyeb, production must be undertaken within a sustainable regime of practices, raw materials should be produced sustainably, and business should be done with good intentions. Therefore, in the strict sense of these concepts Tayyeb influences management styles, human resources policies, business ethics, raw material selection and manufacturing methods. Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit; The Shari’a Conscious Consumer Report 2012; JWT MENA, 8 trends for 2013 Ogilvy Noor: A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer Philips: Rethinking value in a changing Landscape 2011 Strong brands should model a coherent and universally desirable point of view that doesn‘t address a particular target or cohort specifically, but rather addresses the logic behind the Muslim faith. When you think of it, Muslim values, i.e. Sharia compliant values, are actually socially responsible values. That would be a broader tent of communication, which would actually appeal to more people.‖ - DALIA MOGAHED, Co-author of „Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think‟ “
  32. 32. INTEGRATE SOCIAL AND ETHICAL PRACTICES … Cont’d. WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS Brands don‘t have to directly adopt the faith itself but can extol the logic behind it, by making an effort to understand and clearly demonstrate their understanding of Muslim values. According to the Guardian, “Just as the Chinese have brought us new terms and concepts such as guanxi (social relations) and mianzi (maintaining one‟s face); and likewise the Japanese with Kaizen (improvement and change for the best) and Kanban (just-in-time production); the modern Muslim world has specific characteristics.” Mipsterz around the world share the same values that form the basics of Islam; peacefulness, humility, community and transparency, protecting and supporting the welfare of others, emphasizing collective family values and establishing justice in the face of oppression. These are all positive and beneficial by any society measure and furnish grounds for scalable business solutions. Full sharia compliance isn‘t necessarily required, but Mipsterz should feel that a basic level of understanding has been achieved. Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit; The Shari’a Conscious Consumer Report 2012; Ogilvy Noor: A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer; JWT MENA, 8 trends for 2013 The Guardian: Brand Islam is fast becoming the new black in marketing terms, 2014
  33. 33. CREATE TOLERANT ECOSYSTEMS WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS Think about how your brand may potentially marginalize these cohorts and how it can integrate Mipster identity into the public sphere. 75% of Muslims surveyed globally ―want brands which make Muslims feel like an integral part of the wider community, not a marginal group‖. Even little gestures, such as Crayola creating Ramadan coloring books for kids will make them feel acknowledged and welcomed. The report „How brands can engage the American Muslim Consumer‟, points out that, in order not to alienate either group, brands can emphasize the many shared values among Mipster and non-Mipster groups such as a high regard for liberty and equality, strong family values and a belief in hard work and continuous progress. Image Credi: Indulgy.com Source: Ogilvy Noor: A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer
  34. 34. CREATE TOLERANT ECOSYSTEMS … Cont’d. WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS Brands should go beyond respecting Muslim values, to portraying Mipsters in their communication. Think about how your brand can alleviate anxieties around extremist or stereotypical Mipster perceptions, by addressing; Appearance overload: Do not become fixated on the way Muslim women look – focus on who they are and what they are doing. (See video). Always the victim: Muslim women are portrayed in the mass media as voiceless, submissive, passive, and oppressed victims instead of the powerful and creative leaders that they are. Focus instead on their achievements. All the same: Mipsterz are global citizens, who seek inspiration from everything around them - diverse in their opinions, appearance, spectrums of faith, occupations, cultures, languages, heritage, and anything else you can think of. Show them as such. Better yet, shed light on their accomplishments. Source: Ogilvy Noor: A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer; Muslima Infographic, Muslim Women in the Media
  35. 35. MAKE READY FOR THE MUSLIM MOOLAH WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS With Muslim populations now estimated at a quarter of the global census and expected to rise to a third of the world population by 2030, the marketing world is making ready for Brand Islam. According to the Guardian, “If we look at Jim O‟Neil‟s acronyms for the emerging economies to watch – in 2001 it was BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and more recently in 2013 MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) – then it is clear that the economies with large Muslim populations are growing in importance.” While Shari‘a finance and ‗halal‘ food have been the main drivers of an Islamic economic paradigm, Brand Islam is expanding to include fashion, cosmetics, entertainment, tourism, education, and professional services under one narrative. As with other niche segments, there is evidence to show that people‘s patterns of consumption are higher and their loyalty greater, when aligned with Islam. Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit; The Shari’a Conscious Consumer Report 2012, The Guardian; ‘Brand Islam is fast becoming the new black in marketing terms’ 2014 We should be paying more attention to the 'third one billion' and the Islamic economic paradigm” - DR. JONATHON WILSON, Senior Lecturer in advertising and marketing communications, University of Greenwich “
  36. 36. WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS The global expenditure of Muslim consumers on ‗Halal‘ food and lifestyle sectors is valued at USD 2.3 trillion – rising by around 20% annually – yet, the Muslim ‗halal‘ segment remains an understated but enormously untapped consumer market. A currently discontented group, research by Solis shows that only approximately half of customers buying halal foods are satisfied with the products on offer. Coming from a highly collectivist society, the peer-to-peer word of mouth influence is strong in the Mipster community. Brands should be careful not to offend. In early 2011, France‘s Muslim community was taken aback after a popular brand of ‗halal‘ certified sausages made of poultry was found to contain pork DNA and was therefore haram. Few could have imagined how the boycott would shake up the market. The spectrum of mindsets and behaviors of the Muslim consumer, as clearly illustrated by the Mipster subculture, demonstrates the opportunity to cater to this increasingly important – yet diverse - Sharia- conscious consumer. First mover advantage plays a major role here and those brands bold enough to start now, will gain Mipster loyalty and advocacy for years to come. Source: The Guardian: Brand Islam is Fast becoming the New Black in Marketing Terms; The Economist Intelligence Unit; Shari’a Conscious Consumer Report 2012, The Ogilvy Noor: A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer Image Credit: turbanista.com MAKE READY FOR THE MUSLIM MOOLAH … Cont’d.
  37. 37. While the Mipster subculture has just come to light in the West, we have been seeing this cohort (the New Age Muslim) grow steadily in the MENA and in Egypt particularly over the past few years, fuelled by a young, progressive and tech savvy Millennial Arab - a minority soon to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon. Wearied by institutional oppression and muffled expression over the past few years, there has been a growing realization that the structures in place are of little to no worth to their progress. While last year there was still hope and optimism that governments would start moving with the times, we saw a strive towards individual self- betterment. However, the people found that their view of the world - their ideology - was not right. It was not working. The current (unstable) environment has accelerated the behavior of the MENA region. Moreover that accelerated behavior is greater than the worldwide consumer norm, where; while the world consumer is far more entrenched and still seeking to develop their full potential through individual empowerment, New Age Muslim cohorts by comparison, are starting to address collective issues and seeking to meaningfully contribute to and elevate their societies through transformative thinking. However, until brands and corporations realize, and act on, the good they can do to benefit the socially conscious Muslim (and society as a whole) the vast majority of people in the region are counterbalancing the lack of infrastructural support by going-at-it-themselves through product choices that embody socially responsible values and which accommodate lifestyle nuances. Many socio-economic issues are increasingly receiving attention on social network platforms and there is an increasing awareness and interest amongst businesses, entrepreneurs and ordinary people to act on shared regional issues such as poverty, unemployment, health and education. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the companies which will flourish, are the companies that are ‘doing good’, through new business approaches and by engaging the right partnerships. In a sense, one can argue that consumers in the region are outsourcing the management of their identity to trusted brands of choice. WHAT’S NEXT WHAT‘S NEXT Source: JWT MENA 10 trends for 2014 Philips: Rethinking Value in a Changing Landscape
  38. 38. A number of companies in the region (e.g. Danone Group) have started to implement new sustainable business models to effectively address specific socio-economic or societal issues. While new learnings and business models in this ideal are still being molded, there are a number of unmistakable guiding principles for companies that wish to explore future growth opportunities in this new marketing paradigm. WHAT’S NEXT.. Cont’d WHAT‘S NEXT Ethos has just launched with the belief that social leadership will be as important as what a brand sells; fundamental to consumer trust, loyalty and competitive distinction.” — DINA EZZAT, Executive Director, Ethos, a JWT Company.“ Source: Philips: Rethinking Value in a Changing Landscape
  39. 39. THOUGHT STARTERS Which Muslim specific cultural or religious nuances can your brand address or find alternatives to, ensuring more fulfilling lifestyles? If alternatives are not feasible, can your brand offer up creative solutions to achieve the desired lifestyle goal? Which social causes can your brand address in efforts to contribute to or elevate society as a whole? Which services that ‘do good’ can you provide, ensuring that communities thrive productively? Who are the stakeholders that you should partner with and what are the resources you might need, scaling up to encompass a growing Mipster cohort with diverse needs? Which shari’a compliant values does your brand happen to share that it can amplify amplify in order to demonstrate your understanding of the Muslim behaviors and create advocacy? Alternatively, are there any shared values among Mipster and non-Mipster groups, your brand can emphasize to create more tolerant environments? Get on board with celebrating Mipster achievements. THOUGHT STARTERS
  40. 40. THANK YOU JWT: JWT is the world‘s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to today, developing award-winning branded content today. For more information, please visit www.jwt.com and follow us @JWT_Worldwide Brand Intelligence MENA: Brand Intelligence MENA is the center for provocative thinking that is part of JWT, the world‘s best- known marketing communications brand that focuses on identifying shifts in the regional zeitgeist. Its aim is to bring the outside in—to help inspire ideas beyond brand, category and consumer conventions - and to identify emerging opportunities so they can be leveraged for business gain. For more information, please visit, www.jwt.com/mea and follow us @jwtmea IN THE NAME OF FAITH AND FUN

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