By Arun Sudhaman
Muslim consumers give particularly high marks to food and personal care brands, according to the new global Islamic brand study from Ogilvy & Mather, launched this week in the U.S. Financial services companies, however, scored poorly.
The Ogilvy Noor Brand Index scores brands according to Shariah values and halal practices, which often align with Western notions of authenticity and sustainability. Lipton and Nestle topped the global study, while well-known banks—including HSBC, Standard Chartered and Citibank—made up the bottom five.
“A market of almost 1.8 billion people that has scarcely been tapped, Muslim consumers offer enormous potential to businesses around the world, but only if their values are fully understood,” says Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. “This index identifies behavioral trends and insights that will be valuable to marketers in developing meaningful relationships with this emerging global community.”
The index also found uncovered three learnings about Muslim consumers. Firstly, that origin matters less than sincerity—evidenced by Nestle and Lipton’s ranking above Middle Eastern brands Emirates and Etihad. Secondly, that halal practices—which cover sourcing and handling—are non-negotiable for food brands. And, thirdly, that consumer skepticism is rife, particularly where financial services brands are concerned.
“Despite the evident economic potential, Muslims are often overlooked by global brands for fear of getting it wrong,” says Nazia Hussain, head of strategy for Ogilvy Noor, the agency’s specific Islamic branding unit. “Today’s young Muslim consumers in particular are open to positive change and innovation just like consumers everywhere, as long as that change is aligned with their values from the start.”