KUALA LUMPUR—Fleishman-Hillard has launched a specialist offering dedicated to engagement with the Muslim consumer market.

Called Majlis, an Arabic term referring to an assembly for dialogue, the firm’s new initiative was launched with a white paper entitled “The Next Billion, The Market Opportunity of the Muslim World,” in which authors Yusuf Hatia (pictured) and Paul Temporal point out that many companies are overlooking the opportunity presented by a diverse world population of nearly 1.8 billion Muslim consumers.

According to Hatia, Fleishman-Hillard Majlis lead and managing director of client services for the firm’s Indian operations, corporations are increasingly asking for reputation management counsel on how to best engage a large market that is geographically dispersed but unified by distinctive values and codes of conduct.

In addition to its size, the Muslim population is gaining attention because it is giving rise to an enormous emerging middle class, of whom a high proportion is relatively young: nearly half the global Muslim population is under the age of 25.

Paul Temporal, author of Islamic Branding and Marketing: Creating a Global Islamic Business, adds: “The overall challenge for companies and brands is how to form a relationship with all audiences that self-identify with Muslim values, while not disengaging other audiences. Listening and self-auditing is a starting point, but then it needs to be married to a true understanding and education around the community’s values and the brand’s values.”

Companies will need to engage knowledgeably and sensitively in areas such as Islamic finance and Halal certification via the media, social networking and corporate reputation building, the firm says.