Tue, Jul 28, 2015
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Opalesque Islamic Finance Intelligence

The Islamic Window: Young but Disconnected Joy Abdullah

Friday, July 30, 2010

Joy Abdullah, Brand Strategist, has more than 20 years of experience across ASEAN & the Indian sub-continent in developing and managing national, regional and international brands in a wide variety of industries covering Islamic Financial services, tourism, B2b Halal, telecommunications, beverages, real estate, tobacco, hospitality and healthcare.

A recent article published in Marketing Week (see reference link) highlighted that "Muslim consumers are a growing, influential and extremely loyal group, making them a desirable market for mainstream brands. But reaching them requires more than launching Sharia-compliant products. Making inroads to this sector takes deep understanding of the values of this community and building the brand from there. They're young, ambitious and worth at least $2 trillion globally". This however seems to suggest there is something missing from Islamic finance offerings.

There are two key points that need to be scrutinized further:

  1. Understanding the implication of the values" of Islam
  2. Reflecting these values throughout the business model (for an organisation)

For the Islamic finance industry - and in particular the retail segment within it - the question to answer is "how ethical an entire banking brand is. It seems this is the question that needs to be posed to the growing segment of the global Muslim youth. These upcoming consumers want to know (or be reassured) that the financial institution is being run ethically and sustainably. Demographically this is an energetic consumer group, but it is a discerning one as well.  They are far less convinced by an Islamic banking 'window' from a brandname-bank (that runs the bulk of its business on conventional finance elsewhere in the world) or with hefty usage of "Shariah compliant" words on the product documentation.  They seem to be wanting something more (or perhaps something else altogether).

The partial answer to this is not just through mass-media communication or through Shariah compliant labeling but through "actions". Concerted actions such as:

  • Brand Reputation-a planned strategic reputation management plan should be in place  in order to generate "trust" with the consumer. Such a plan would encompass all stakeholders of the (concerned) brand and provide them "information/knowledge" of how Islamic values actually make up the brand's work culture and philosophy and is of benefit to them.
  • Financial management education-for the consumer & the organisation's staff who interact with all the stakeholders (of the concerned brand). This education, primarily, would have to communicate the intrinsic "benefit" of an Islamic Financial product, again, stemming from the values of the brand. And thereby, re-position the entire competitive framework of evaluating an Islamic Financial product vs a conventional financial product.
  • Creating perception: By actively delivering on the values claimed on a daily basis through interaction.
  • Learning through listening: And being in the learning mode by listening to what the stakeholders are saying/asking with regards to their needs and involving them in the brand's development process.

Understanding Islamic values and utilising it in developing a strong brand identity, the growing pride of being a Muslim amongst the young and taking into account their social clout in terms of global connectivity through social media, are key in developing strong relationships with the global Muslim youth who would be the future life-time customers of the Islamic financial industry (see reference link).

Showing a strong understanding of Islamic values at a non-superficial level is vital for any brand that wishes to target Muslim consumers.  Displaying this understanding instead of pushing the brand's own values would aid tremendously in creating brand preference and a base for a strong customer relationship.

Your feedback and comments are very important to us, please feel free to contact the author  via email.



Article Link

<< Go Back to Archive

Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing


  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Bridgewater turns bearish on China[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: The world’s biggest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and one of the most vocal of China’s potential is now turning its back against the world’s second largest economy as it joins a growing list of high-profile investors who are challenging China’s potentials.

  2. Launches - Ex-Brevan Howard star Rokos builds team for new fund, Former Och-Ziff manager’s firm starts health care hedge fund, Industry veterans launch commodity investment firm Aron Capital Management, Nikko Asset Management launches two UCITS funds, Capital Group plans to debut Asian investor targeted fund[more]

    Ex-Brevan Howard star Rokos builds team for new fund From WSJ.com: Chris Rokos, a former star trader at Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, has hired an economist from Nomura to join the team he’s assembling for his much anticipated hedge fund launch. Mr. Rokos, whose firm is due to b

  3. Institutions - Pension fund dismisses Texas consultant, Rhode Island pension fund gets 2.2% investment return, far below assumed rate of 7.5%, New Jersey pension investments see a drop-off in returns[more]

    Pension fund dismisses Texas consultant From Sandiegouniontribute.com: The county retirement board on Thursday terminated the Texas consultant who was given the reins of the $10 billion pension fund, and whose investment picks left many employees and retirees feeling taken for a ride.

  4. SWFs - Sovereign wealth funds paid around $14 billion in fees[more]

    From SWFinstitute.org: When it comes to the financial sector, asset management is one of the most profitable industries in the world. The Boston Consulting Group put out a 2014 figure saying there is US$ 74 trillion worth of professionally-managed assets. One of the fastest growing institutional inv

  5. Investing - Carlyle teams with TCW in push for ordinary investors[more]

    From Bloomberg.com: Carlyle Group LP isn’t backing down from its goal of offering alternative strategies to the masses, despite early setbacks. The Washington-based firm is teaming up with TCW Group, which is majority owned by Carlyle funds, to offer three vehicles that give ordinary investors acces

 

banner