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Marketing & Halal Consumers

Successful marketing to a specific ethnic group requires a degree of cultural competence: an understanding of and respect for their values and beliefs. This requires a deeper sense of a particular group’s tastes and biases.

JWT claims to be the first al agency to identify Muslims as a consumer group, and compares it to the Hispanic market in America: “Twenty years ago, if you said 'Hispanic' I'm not sure people would even know what you meant. Today this segment makes up about 15% of American consumerism.” JWT's recent study, “Marketing to Muslims”, sees the faith group as Britain's largest untapped niche market, and one that is certain to grow: it comprises 3% of the population, is Britain's second largest faith group and has the youngest age profile. JWT is encouraging clients, including Unilever, Nestlé, HSBC, Esteé Lauder and Johnson & Johnson, to develop strategies to reach this al market.

Other companies, while not officially segmenting their customers by religion, are nevertheless seeking to reach out to the Muslim consumer. Coca-Cola, for example, runs a series of marketing initiatives each year during the holy month of Ramadan. One of their advertisements focuses on sharing food during 'iftar', the evening meal when Muslims break their daily fast, and has proved extremely popular.

A striking feature of Islam is its diversity, as recognised by an IKEA advertisement showing people from varying ethnic groups, some in traditional dress and some in Western attire. With the proliferation of satellite channels across Europe, reaching target audiences has never been easier. Many of Germany's Muslim citizens are of Turkish origin, and there are more than 40 Turkish-language stations available nationally, a number closely rivalled by Arab-language channels.

When advertising to Muslims, a more modest approach than that used for a non-Islamic audience is preferable. Because European Muslim communities are not homogenous, and have a variety of ethnic, linguistic and cultural characteristics, interpretations and attitudes differ.

Euromonitor International « Spotlighting Europe’s Muslim consumers »