hen it comes to big consumer
markets, Asia is not short of con-
tenders. China and India, with
their bi... October 2010 campaign 63
Muslim ‘Futurists’… responsible, curious, culturally-exposed and int...
campaignasia.com64 campaign OCTOber 2010
(headscarf)-wearing females. Similarly, Malaysian
auto manufacturer Proton is par...
campaignasia.com66 campaign october 2010
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New Muslim Consumer Campaign Oct 2010


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The New Muslim Consumer and how to create a relationship with this segment

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New Muslim Consumer Campaign Oct 2010

  1. 1. W hen it comes to big consumer markets, Asia is not short of con- tenders. China and India, with their billion-plus populations have led the way, while a number of large emerging markets are now also catching the eyes of marketers. But the region is also home to another sizeable consumer bloc, one not de- fined by country but by a shared religion. According to conservative estimates Asia is home to an almost 700 million Muslims, some 60 per cent of the global total. While Indonesia is often quoted as the world’s largest Muslim country — it accounts for an estimated 13 per cent of the number of Mus- lims worldwide — other countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and India can also boast Muslim popu- lations of more than 100 million. When even a country such as China can claim Muslim populations of between 20 million and 100 million, depending on which data is used, it is clear that this is a market to be reckoned with. Surprisingly then, save for one or two examples, most brands have been slow to directly target their products and services to this market. “Most MNCs have never really asked themselves whether those consumers have got anything special about them, whether they have got a different relationship with brands, for instance,” Miles Young, global CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, says. In the past, when Asian Muslim consumers have engaged directly with brands, it has tended to be for negative reasons. Though marked differences exist between Muslims in various countries across the re- gion, when the united Muslim voice comes together, it can be a powerful force. A number of US brands found this out in 2009 when Muslim activists in Malaysiaurgedconsumerstoboycottproductsfrom companies such as Coca-Cola, Colgate and McDon- ald’s over US support for Israel’s attack on Gaza. “The Islamic religion is a highly sensitive topic in Malaysia and must be addressed with respect and tact to avoid untoward incidences,” explains Tze- Lian Ng, Partner, Insights at Mindshare’s Malaysia operation. “One very clear insight is that Malays here are very much in solidarity with Muslims around the world. Any issues affecting Muslims in other countries which draw media attention here will affect local sentiments.” More typically, though, negative sentiment is simply a case of brands misjudging the Muslim con- sumer. It is not only Western brands that have suf- fered here. Bintang Zero, a non-alcoholic beverage produced by the Indonesian brewer Bintang, was WhilethereisnodoubtingthepotentialoftheMuslimmarketinAsia,it nonethelessneedstobehandledwithgreatcare,writesMichaelO’Neill Muslimconsumer Meetthenew gettyimages 60 campaign october 2010
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  3. 3. October 2010 campaign 63 GettyIMAGES Muslim ‘Futurists’… responsible, curious, culturally-exposed and interested in others “AbrandhastooffersolutionstotheMuslim consumersbeyondjusttheHalalaspect” AymanHamed,AlIslamiFoods meant to appeal to religious Muslims who abstain from alcohol. For obvious reasons, the marketing failed. As one commentator said at the time: “What next? Halal pork?” Itseems,though,thatbrandsarelearningquickly from their mistakes. Whether a result of the ad- spend slowdown in Western markets, or a recogni- tion of the growing affluence among many Asia- based Muslim consumers, brands — and their agency partners — are taking the Asian Muslim market far more seriously than before. A key part of understanding the Islamic market in Asia will depend on being able to segment the Muslim consumer. While religion is the uniting factor, Muslims across Asia are very different from one another and respond to reli- gious messaging in a variety of ways. “Brands need to be careful not to gen- eralise the Muslim community because they are not homogeneous, “ says Guy Hearn, director of Com- municationsInsights,Asia-Pacific,atOmnicomMe- dia Group. “In addition to the Islamic faith, race, na- tionality and education play a big part in defining what ‘intensity’ of Muslim the consumer belongs to. Muslims in different countries are exposed to and thus influenced by other cultures. Muslims in Ma- laysiaparticularlyareexposedtootherreligionsand are respectful of other faiths.” In a country such as Indonesia, for example, whereupto75percentoftheMuslimpopulationare either secular or non-practicing, Robbie Susatyo, managing director of Synovate Indonesia suggests brandssteerawayfromovertIslamicthemes.“Indo- nesia is very different from other countries such as Malaysia or Pakistan,” he says. “It has a different adherence to religion. If someone says marketing to Muslims, there is a risk you are labelling them as extremist or militant. Many Indonesians don’t want to be a part of this. They want to be in the main- stream. As soon as you label someone Muslim, they no longer feel part of the mainstream.” Similarly, in Pakistan, there are distinct differ- ences in consumer attitudes between the more mod- erate parts of the country and the conservative north. Sabene Saigol, the chairperson of Lahore- based Red Communication Arts, notes that adver- tising in Pakistan on the whole concentrates on im- ages of youth, vitality and modernity, without a burqua in sight. In nothern areas, however, commu- nications tend to be tweaked, with, for example, fe- male models in TVCs replaced by male ones, or sim- ply product shots. But while it can be argued strongly that there is no single Muslim market in Asia, there are nonethe- less generalisations that can be made. At Ogilvy Noor, for instance, the Muslim consumer market is divided between ‘Traditionalists’ and ‘Futurists’. While Traditionalists make up 60 per cent of the population in the markets surveyed, it is the Futur- ist group — which combines a modern outlook with a strong religious commitment — that is most inter- esting to brands. “We believe the Futurists will be responsible for shaping the future for marketers by virtue of the fact that they enjoy the deepest rela- tionship with brands today and are most willing to wholeheartedlyintegratebrandsintotheirownlives and wider cultures,” says Nazia Hussain, Ogilvy & Mather’s global director of Cultural Strategy. Lian Rosnita Redwan-Beer, the publisher of Aq- uila Asia, a fashion and lifestyle magazine and web- site for cosmopolitan Muslim women, agrees, point- ing to a generation of new Muslim consumers that are more connected and digitised than their ‘tradi- tional’ counterparts. “These are women who are re- sponsible, curious, culturally-exposed, and very in- terested in others. They love to share knowledge, info, tips, experience and problems,” Redwan-Beer says. “Within this community, word about an out- standing product, service, or place that meets their spiritual needs travels super fast.” S o if Asia is seeing the emergence of a new, modern Muslim consumer, how best to reach them? On the most basic level, more and more brands are ensur- ing their products meet Halal certifica- tion in various markets. This is under- standable. The global Halal industry was estimated by the World Halal Coun- cil to have been worth US$632 billion in 2009. In Muslim countries, though, Halal certification is a given rather than a differentiator. Even in Singa- pore, for instance, where the Musilm population is in the minority, McDonald’s and other food manu- facturers use Halal ingredients not as a marketing tool but because to not do so would mean isolating a significant part of its consumer base. “At a certain stage Halal branding is important to establish cre- dentials,” says Ayman Hamed, director of market- ing at Dubai-based Al Islami Foods. “But a brand has to offer solutions to the Muslim consumers be- yond the Halal aspect without losing [sight of] it.” A more direct approach has been for brands to focus on a specific religious or cultural need and to build marketing around that. Unilever did this sev- eral years back with the ‘Clean and Fresh’ campaign for its Sunsilk shampoo that targeted hijab NOOR GLOBAL BRAND 2010 brand NOOR INDEX SCORE Lipton 131 Nestlé 130 Kraft 117 Mirinda 110 7 Up 109 Lux 108 Sunsilk 105 Dove 103 Pantene 102 Head & Shoulders 101 Heinz 101 Pepsi 95 Coca Cola 94 Air Arabia 91 Emirates 85 Singapore Airlines 63 Cathay Pacific 62 Standard Chartered 54 HSBC 51 RBS 47 Source: Ogilvy Noor The above selection is from the Ogilvy Noor Global Brand Index, a preliminary exploration of the consumer perception of relative ‘Muslim-friendliness’ of certain global brands across the world. The scores are on a 100-point index, where brands above 100 are seen as being more Shariah- compliant and brands below 100 seen as less so.
  4. 4. campaignasia.com64 campaign OCTOber 2010 (headscarf)-wearing females. Similarly, Malaysian auto manufacturer Proton is partnering with com- panies in Iran and Turkey to develop an ‘Islamic car’ with a compass pointing to Mecca and built-in com- partments for the hijab and copies of the Koran. But these tend to be one-off product promotions and, it could be argued, do little to create a lasting brand equity in the market. John Goodman, presi- dent of Ogilvy Action Asia-Pacific and regional di- rector for Ogilvy & Mather ASEAN, argues instead that brands should take a broader approach to the Muslim market, adopting a marketing plan that sits comfortably with Shariah values, which Ogilvy Noor describes as “a holistic set of practices that guide every aspect of one’s life.” In its simplest form, this can be interpreted as taking a more ethical approach to the marketing of goods, being aware of the wider values and sensi- tivities of the Muslim community. In Pakistan, for instance, the Olpers milk brand places family values at the centre of its branding, without an overt ‘Is- lamic’ branding. This positioning is run out during the year, but is intensified during the peak season of Ramadam, when the brand communicates the more direct connection between the brand and Islam. “Muslims get together, they pray together, eat to- gether, make a lot of donations and help the commu- nity. These values sit well with our mother position,” says Ali Akbar, vice-president of the Global Business Unit at Engro Foods. Importantly, the Shariah commitment needs to go deeper than just sales and marketing, touching all aspects of the company,frommanufacturingand packaging to brand story and overall business prac- tices. Research carried out by Ogilvy Noor found, for example, that a commitment to charity and corpo- rate social responsibility chimed well with Muslim consumers. Charity and CSR may be universal val- ues, but they also align especially well with Islamic beliefs — zakaat (charity) for instance, is one of the four pillars of Islam. “When we say ‘Islamic’ or ‘Muslim’ brand, we mean that it’s a brand based on the ethics and values of Islam, in order to communicate to the Muslim community that this brand adheres to the code you live your life by, therefore associating with this brand would benefit you,” says Joy Abdullah, a di- rector at business and brand marketing consultancy Daily Baraka. This strategy has the advantage for brands in that they do not have to fundamentally change their DNA but instead need to make sure their business ethics and community outreach are consistent and well-communicated. Most of all, though, they need to be genuine and transparent. “People don’t like su- perficial reflections on their culture and religion,” says Goodman. “People react badly if they see com- panies paying lip service or being patronising.” While good news travels fast among the new Muslim consumer, so does negative sentiment As well as being more accepting of brands, Ogilvy found its Futurists to also be more challenging. “What this combined sceptisism, mistrust and doubt has done is create a class of consumers who ask more questions than ever before,” says Hussain. T his reaction to inconsistent branding can be seen in the Islamic finance sector. Al- though banking services that are consist- ent with Shariah law have grown in popu- larity, financial brands score low on the Ogilvy Noor Index, which measures per- ceptions of brands in the Muslim world. In particular, HSBC is poorly ranked as it is seen by many Muslims as what Goodman calls “a house with two doors” — one secular and one reli- gious. While HSBC may be offering Islamic finance, the perception is that once the transaction goes in to Islamic media HowmediaownersareappealingtothemodernMuslimconsumer In August this year, Malaysian TV threw up an unlikely new hero. In the grand final of Imam Muda on the Muslim lifestyle satellite channel Astro Oasis, Muhammad Asyraf Mohammad Ridzuan saw off rivals to grab the crown in the American Idol-style programme. Asyraf’s prize for coming up trumps in the 10-week show included a scholarship at a university in Saudi Arabia and a trip to Mecca. While the show created headlines across the region and beyond, it also brought attention to the changing nature of Islamic media, from its perception as a dull and conservative programming block to one that is embracing the needs of modern Muslims. In this, Oasis is taking its lead from the West, in particular the growth of ‘lifestyle’ Islamic TV in both the Middle East and countries in Europe with significant Muslim populations. UK-based Islam Channel, for instance, broadcasts across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and is streamed live on the internet, showing news, Islamic- themed quiz shows and even a Saturday evening light entertainment show. But while the Islam Channel claims it is watched by 50 per cent of the UK’s 1.6 million Muslims, similar channels have yet to take off in popularity in Asia. “Almost all stations In Indonesia have certain hours, certain blocks for Islamic content,” says Robbie Susatyo, managing director of Synovate Indonesia. “But viewership is very small. People prefer watching soap operas to talk shows discussing religious themes.” Still, Andreas Vogiatzakis, managing director at OMG Malaysia, identifies the potential for Islamic media, especially in Malaysia. “The market may be niche, but you will definitely reach your targets well. Muslims in Malaysia are working towards being progressive Muslims — to achieve modernity without letting go the spiritual aspect. For advertisers, this translates definitely to opportunity.” A good example of this marrying of Islam and modernity in the print sector is the Indonesia-based fashion and lifestyle magazine Aquila Asia.“We set ourselves apart from the mainstream by regularly touching on topics and subjects that pertain to Islam and modern-living, and delivering them alongside religious references so everybody gets the whole picture,” says publisher Liana Rosnita Redwan-Beer. The magazine and online portal is proving popular with advertisers. “Right now, the SMEs and regional players have been quick to join force with us. The Muslim market is by and large untapped, and more and more brands are aware of this fact.” “Peoplereactbadlyiftheyseecompaniespaying lipserviceorbeingpatronising” JohnGoodman,Ogilvy&Mather Aquila Asia… targeting the new Muslim woman
  5. 5. campaignasia.com66 campaign october 2010 gettyimages “AcorporaterebrandbasedonIslamicethics wouldnotjivewiththeMuslimconsumer” JoyAbdullah,DailyBaraka Case studies ThreebrandsthatusedIslamicvaluestobuildconsumerloyalty OLPERS Olpers entered Pakistan as a new brand in 2006 and has quickly taken the UHT milk market by storm. Within four years, it has crossed all predicted thresholds to command 30 per cent of the market share. Its success is due to a multitude of factors including an engaging brand presence, innovative sourcing and distribution systems, highly emotional communications and a general shake-up of the entire UHT milk category. In terms of a Shariah-friendly aproach, Olpers emphasises purity and authenticity in its people and products. Communications are deeply rooted in Pakistani heritage — the brand emphasises pure Muslim living, loving family bonds and intergenerational respect, and celebrations of cultural rituals in all its communications, carving out a special niche in the heart of the modern Pakistani Muslim consumer. With its striking big- budget communications and emphasis on innovation, it’s hardly surprising that many Pakistani consumers see Olpers as potentially the first global Pakistani brand. Global campaigns have featured international celebrities such as Canadian Pakistani artist Dawood Ali and depict Muslims across the Ummah celebrating the same rituals. PETRONAS Petronas in Malaysia is much more than just an oil and gas brand. It is seen as a key driver of Malaysian progress, and an embodiment of much that modern Malaysians, and especially Muslim Malays, want to see as the future of the country. Through emotional advertising grounded in family values, respect and inclusivity, the Petronas brand is seen as a brand for all Malaysians, and this spirit of inclusivity and progress is highly resonant with Shariah values. Recognising its role as a leader and Malaysian success story, Petronas is involved in all aspects of national progress and invests heavily in education, sports, arts and humanitarian efforts. Much of its communications involve children, both as a symbol of Malaysia’s future and to drive home the importance of family values. This kind of human inclusivity and focus on family resonates well with the Muslim consumer. Petronas also shows how even a brand in a relatively low- involvement category can strike a deep emotional chord with Muslim consumers by drawing on and tapping into rich cultural values. CIMB ISLAMIC CIMB Islamic Bank is the global Islamic banking and finance arm of CIMB Group. The brand is innovative in the finance category as it was the first standalone Islamic bank offering from a full-service bank — most other banks offered Shariah- compliant banking through Islamic ‘windows’. At the same time, the CIMB Islamic brand has been careful to remain very inclusive and pluralist in its communications, mindful of Malaysia’s cultural and religious diversity. Through both its products and its communications, CIMB Islamic has achieved the status of a progressive Islamic Malaysian bank in consumers’ eyes. CIMB Islamic brand has also been effective in communicating its overt Shariah compliant credentials, such as its CIMB Islamic Shariah Committee, which comprises the world’s leading Islamic scholars. Most of all though, the bank has been able to ensure that every aspect of its behaviour and communications feels grounded in core Islamic values, from using an Islamic green in its livery to using the language of community in its promotions. the back office, the practice is diluted, resulting in a fear of “contamination”. Abdullah believes such considerations are espe- cially pertinent for Western brands, which arrive in a Muslim country with a well-known back story. “A Western MNC is already an existing ‘corporate brand’ having an image, personality and history as- sociated with it ­— perceived or otherwise — by its stakeholders across the globe,” says Abdullah. “Therefore, a ‘corporate rebrand’ based on Islamic ethics would not jive with the targeted Muslim con- sumer.” But how much of Muslim consumers’ brand per- ception is based on respect for religious values and howmuchisbecausetheyaresuccessfulbrandsthat get their marketing right and produce good prod- ucts that consumers want to buy? Abdullah says that, at present, religion plays a secondary role. “Currently there are MNCs which are strong brands on their own that have been made available to the global Muslim community through the usual distri- bution channels,” he says. “But none of these brands were developed based on Islamic ethics. They are brands developed in the classical brand marketing framework wherein a product benefit has been highlighted and, process wise, they are currently ‘compliant” — that is, adhering to specific Halal standards.” Goodman feels it is a mixture of both: “These brands tend to reflect the core Muslim values very well, and therefore although they don’t ‘align them- selves with Islam’ consciously, they do in their value systems and the way they interact with consumers and society, becoming good local citizens in Muslim countries. A lot of the things you need to do to mar- ket to Muslims are things you would do to appeal to other consumers. The same values are relevant to non-Muslims as well.” While this may be a grey area, when it comes to the overall importance of being able to connect with the new Muslim the situation is much less opaque. And while religion will still be a benchmark, the in- dividual’s sense of identity and what they want to do with their life will become even more important. Ex- plains Abdullah: “There are successful multination- al companies and regional brands across categories that are fulfilling the needs of the Muslim consum- er. But, with the rise in awareness and understand- ing of Halal, and a growing consciousness of the ‘Muslim identity’, especially amongst youth, it is in- evitable that the need for brands to address this identity will be on the rise.” n Olpers… emphasises family bonds in Paksitan Petronas… is seen as a brand for all Malaysians