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Islamic Branding – Brands, Islam and the New Muslim Consumer


Built on a bank of rigorous bespoke research conducted in key Muslim markets by TNS

Built on a bank of rigorous bespoke research conducted in key Muslim markets by TNS, this study offers detailed branding recommendations on how to forge stronger bonds with the new generation of Muslim consumers, through every aspect of branding, from business practice and philosophy to visual identity and customer service.

The ‘Brands, Islam and the New Muslim Consumers’ Report serves as the launch pad for Ogilvy Noor, a multidisciplinary global Islamic Branding practice that aims to help brands better engage with Muslim consumers worldwide. The Muslim market is viewed as a critically important playground for marketers, with the halal segment alone worth $2.1 trillion, and growing by $500 billion annually.

Research conducted in four key Muslim markets – Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, has identified the New Muslim Consumer as a critically important development for brands hoping to build successful relationships with the Islamic world. In doing so, the report debunks many of the stereotypes that surround Muslim consumer attitudes towards brands and their marketing communications. For example, halal stickers, while important to showcase certification, are no longer sufficient to persuade the New Muslim Consumer of a brand’s belief in Islamic values.

The research revealed that core Shariah values resonate with all Muslims - values such as honesty, accountability, community, peacefulness, respect and humility. We argue that any brand based on these values builds a strong ethical foundation for the future.

This report is based on up-to-the-minute facts and figures, with most of the research having been conducted in early 2010. With most businesses looking to regenerate themselves and their practices after the global economic crisis, there can be no timelier moment to look at the world of tomorrow’s consumers through this fresh lens.

The report is on sale for $9,450/-, plus shipping and handling. It can be purchased through the Ogilvy Noor website -

Why Islamic Branding?

The Muslim consumer market, at 1.8bn people, is undeniably the next important (and largely untapped) global opportunity. The halal market alone is worth a staggering US$2.1 trillion a year and is growing at US$500bn a year due to the growth of the global Muslim population.

As China and India have captured the attention of the world’s marketers in recent years, a quiet but enormous business potential lies largely untapped in the global Muslim consumer market today, justifying a shift in focus to what Vali Nasr in Forces of Fortune calls the ’3rd one billion’. In recent years global marketers have started to enthuse over the size of this prize and ruminate on the importance of cracking it - but we believe the challenge is in managing it knowledgeably, sensitively, and profitably for the long term.

‘Islamic Branding’ is a relatively new concept, and at the birth of this new field of learning, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide announced the launch of Ogilvy Noor, a pioneering consulting service for marketers seeking to appeal to Muslim consumers.

This Report has enabled Ogilvy Noor to formulate an effective definition for Islamic branding: ‘Branding that is empathetic to Shariah values in order to appeal to the Muslim consumer, ranging from basic Shariah-friendliness to full Shariah-compliance in all aspects of the brand’s identity, behaviour and communications.’

Brand, Islam and the New Muslim Consumer’ report provides invaluable insight into Shariah values, from the perspective of consumers and marketers, clearly explaining how businesses should navigate this area. Significantly, it finds that Shariah practices are closely aligned with the existing universal ideals of good business practice.

The study analyses the factors that drive beneficial relationships with Muslim consumers, distilling the findings into an eight-step toolkit for branding success and an invaluable list of do’s and don’ts.

1. A brand’s role in the community: including all aspects of a company’s corporate citizenship
2. Product: including both the range of offering, ingredients and manufacturing processes
3. The brand story and its PR strategy: focusing on the tactics brands can employ when talking about themselves, to better appeal to the New Muslin Consumer
4. Corporate business practice: every aspect of how the business is run internally
5. Visual Identity: the specific needs of the Muslim consumer when it comes to visual information and appeal
6. Brand communication: a success guide built on decades of Ogilvy experience in Muslim markets
7. External endorsement: who to partner with and who to avoid
8. Customer service and delivery: why getting this right is so important and how to do so.

Noor Brand Index

The groundbreaking Noor Brand Index benchmarks the appeal of specific brands to Muslim consumers, by ranking consumer perceptions of their Shariah-compliance. Chief among its findings are that global brands can forge highly successful relationships with Muslim consumers if they approach the task in a sensitive, honest fashion that is consistent with the core values of Islamic Branding.

The first Noor Global Brand Index throws up some fascinating questions. Why do Nestle, Lipton and Kraft all appear among the top five ranked brands? And why is Emirates, the flagship airline and pride and joy of the United Arab Emirates, in the bottom ten? Answers are to be found in sensitive analysis that starts from an understanding that Islamic Branding is not like any other kind of branding. The report reveals that branding success is less about provenance, and is instead based on whether brands can fundamentally empathize with the needs of the new Muslim consumer through tailored offerings and communications.

The Noor Category Index provides a similar analysis of category appeal to Muslim consumers, including such important areas as food and finance.

About the Research

Given the intricacies and varied interpretations of Islamic branding, we took a holistic approach to ensure we explored all possible angles. We started with extensive desk research to explore existing knowledge, hypothesis and interpretations on Islamic branding. Using these broad hypothesis and themes, we designed the primary research program which included qualitative and quantitative modules.

The qualitative module included 24 focus groups, 24 consumer safaris and 14 expert interviews across four key markets - Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The quantitative module focused on validating some of the qualitative hypothesis while identifying additional elements crucial for the success of Islamic branding. The quantitative sample size comprised 2,644 face to face interviews, conducted in key centers across the four markets listed above. Within this module, we were able to explore a total of 62 categories – consumption as well as service categories – to understand the different nuances and levels of importance in terms of Sharia compliance. We further tested a comprehensive list of local and international brands across those markets and measured their degree of Sharia compliance. This was used to develop Noor Brand Index and Noor Category Index.

The sample included Muslim consumers from different life stages, ranging from young individuals at 18 years to older families at 65 years, across different socio-economic backgrounds.

Ogilvy Noor is a multidisciplinary practice focused on Islamic branding, drawn from across the breadth and depth of Ogilvy & Mather Group’s global network. It is the world’s first bespoke Islamic Branding practice, offering expert practical advice on how to build brands that appeal to Muslim consumers, globally. For more details, visit

Ogilvy Noor is led by a core team of experts based across our key Muslim market offices worldwide in Dubai, Pakistan, Malaysia and the UK with key contacts highlighted below. A wide network of communications professionals supports the core team across all the Muslim markets in which Ogilvy operates across 450 offices in 171 markets.

The ‘Brands, Islam and the New Muslim Consumers’ Report was developed based on the research conducted in partnership with TNS Middle East & Africa.

TNS Middle East & Africa was established in 1980 and is the largest full-service custom market information company in the region with regional servicing hubs in Dubai, Riyadh, Cairo and Casablanca. Going beyond traditional research TNS has taken a number of initiatives to connect marketers with their consumers - through studies such as: Arab As Consumer, Persian As Consumer, Arab As Consumer Woman 2020, Shabab Tek. TNS has a specialised local knowledge across 19 countries in the Arabian Gulf, the surrounding Arab markets, North Africa, Iran, Iraq & Yemen.


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