By Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President - Islamic Marketing at Ogilvy UK
The Muslim consumer is for life, not just for Ramadan. Or at least that's how it should be. While some brands are doing well to reach out during the Muslim month of fasting, there are other occasions to engage, built on deep and respectful understanding of a consumer audience that spends £20 billion in the UK and more than £2 trillion globally every year.
This week, Muslims will be marking Eid ul Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. For Muslim audiences, it's just as significant as Eid ul Fitr, the celebration that follows Ramadan. It also ties in with the hajj, one of the great global pilgrimages, and also probably the world's most diverse gathering. And yet almost nothing is said or done by brands. So what do marketers need to know and what should they be thinking about?
There are two key aspects to Eid ul Adha. The first and most well-known is the hajj pilgrimage. This is the religious obligation to travel to Makkah during the defined period of hajj at least once in a lifetime. It’s expensive, and arduous. Many see it as a turning point in their lives. And while it is a lifechanging moment for the pilgrims, those who remain behind also experience huge emotions.
For any big moments in community and individual life, there are places where support, engagement and celebration can be valued. As we always say at Ogilvy, it’s important that the engagement from brands is about supporting these moments, not exploiting them. Financial planning and savings both for pilgrims and those at home is vital. Having the right preparations in place for the trip whether it’s the practicalities, the finances or the technology to ensure a successful hajj trip is also important.
But what about those who aren’t going for hajj? For those who remain at home, but who have pilgrims in their near ones, ongoing support is important, along with a recognition of their experiences. Can spouses, children and extended families be offered help, acknowledgement and support?
The Festival of Sacrifice as the name suggests is about giving up something you love. So charity and donation, especially that of ‘Qurbani’ is huge. People are seeking effective ways of giving, so if you’re a charity, or seeking to build relationships through charitable initiatives, exploring what is an authentic way for your brand to support communities at this time would be much welcomed.
‘Qurbani’ means literally slaughtering an animal and distributing the proceeds to the poor, family and community. This is for many a sensitive and difficult issue, from the practicalities of procuring the slaughter and distributing the meat to those who need it, to those who feel that donations could be delivered in different ways, to those who might be vegetarian or might feel meat is not the right approach. These current hot button topics open the door to brands having sensitive discussions with Muslim audiences, along with offering innovative approaches to tackle these tensions.
Of course, all of this underpins the fact that this is still a celebration. So, buying new clothes, gifts, celebrating with family and friends and taking a moment out of ordinary life for festivities is still a central part of the rituals.
We wrote about the Ramadan economy and the life transformation that happens for Muslim audiences. This week’s Eid ul Adha festival needs to be recognised too, because for Muslims it is just as significant. Talking to Muslim audiences is a year-round conversation. So, keep it going with a simple Eid greeting in whichever language you choose: happy eid! Eid sa’eed! Eid Mubarak!
Read Ogilvy's report which shines a spotlight on the importance of the Ramadan economy in the UK , 'The Great British Ramadan', here.