08 August 2020 20:27

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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The Muslim population is currently more than 20% of the global population and marketers have been quick to segment them as an audience. But is religion alone ever a strong enough driver to categorize consumers, or are there other elements which are more relevant?

Marketing to Muslims has been an issue discussed in marketing terms for a few years now, due to the specific requirements of the Islamic faith which does affect some key product categories such as banking and food. But beyond this, the categorization seems somewhat redundant. There are almost 1.6 billion Muslims across the world making up about 23% of the world population. By 2050 they will be almost 30%1. They form the majority in more than 50 countries of the world and large minorities in many others including the US, UK and many important western countries.

There is massive diversity among Muslim cultures based on weather, topography, local norms and languages. Globalization is a factor in play here as well with inter-marriages and migrancies further evolving these cultures and creating newer and more varied societies. The only thing that all Muslims share among each other is their faith (with their ritualistic practices in greater variations too). This makes what we refer to as “Muslims” a group as diverse as all humanity.

Can we come up with one “formula” to market to such a diverse group of individuals? I don’t think so. There are many things that Muslims share globally like their core faith and basic acts of worship. But then, in all other matters they might behave differently from one another. Even among Arabs (who are a minority ethnic group among Muslims) there is a lot of diversity. In Saudi Arabia, for example, it is etiquette to wipe one’s plate after eating, whereas in Egypt this is considered rude.

I have personally experienced these challenges as a marketer. Early in my career I worked for a company that launched a “feminine care” brand in Pakistan. We thought that simply adopting the Saudi model in Pakistan would work. In Saudi, this brand was marketed on TV and displayed openly on store shelves. Under our “search and re-apply” philosophy we made an ad which we thought would strike the chord of Pakistani consumers. Lo and behold it did. Women were out on street! Not buying but protesting. We were challenged in the Supreme Court that the company was promoting “un-Islamic norms”. We were told that sisters could no longer watch TV with their brothers. It became one of the most difficult legal battles for the brand. Somehow, the brand overcame this challenge. But it also made the team realize that Pakistan is in some ways “holier than Saudi”.

This project fueled a further study to better understand “shopper habits” for the personal care category in the Middle East. The company chose to conduct the study in Dubai as this is a country where you can find people from all backgrounds. An interesting learning that came out was that “feminine care” products in an Arab supermarket like the Co-operative were placed on the shelf. Arab women were not shy to pick the products up and throw them in their trolleys. On the other hand, in South Asian stores like Lulu, these products were discreetly displayed. A brown paper bag was closely placed near the product. This allowed the buyer to wrap her purchase in the bag before throwing it in her shopping basket. This was similar to what was happening in Pakistan. This eureka moment in the study made it clear that Pakistani shoppers’ behavior was similar to Indians rather than Arabs. It was not the religion that was governing this habit but rather the South Asian cultural norms.

A recent examination of the Millward Brown Link ad testing database allowed us to compare global norms to Muslim countries (Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi, Turkey and Malaysia) in an effort to see if they have any significant similarities which would be useful to marketers. Our information backed-up the findings of the “shopper study” mentioned above. The Muslim countries generally fell in with the global views on key things like the use of children in advertising contributing to enjoyment and persuasion. In other measures there was more than one country behaving differently to the others. So in summary – there is no one formula for what makes a great ad for Muslims just as there is no one formula which targets all people.

It’s a fact of the modern world that due to increased geographic mobility and the proliferation of digital communications, marketers need to regard all audiences as multicultural. The best marketing formula is always to think global and act local – taking into account what local means in any particular context. This would mean for example that understanding Indonesian or Pakistani marketing nuances is much more important than understanding Muslims. This is what global brands like Apple, Coke, Levi's, Kit Kat, Zara, and Dunhill have successfully achieved.

These companies are able to cater to a universal insight that exists for a global consumer. Apple’s brand idea around “simplicity” caters to a universal need of avoiding “complexity”. This empowers a person to be part of the future. And this is the reason why Apple is such a great brand.

One thing that managers of these great brands are able to do is localize the context of these universal ideas. They are able to fit these brands in the cultural context of different societies. And this is why we might see a South American taking a selfie while discovering the Aztec monuments, and on the other side of the world an Arab taking a selfie while circumambulating the Kaaba in Makkah.

To make a brand “global”; it is vital to satisfy a universal need and then localize the offering by keeping local culture in mind. This is the formula for marketing to Muslims. This formula is true for the rest of the world too.

Key Takeaways

The Muslim community is over 20% of the population, but beyond their core faith and acts of worship there are many differences between them.

Local culture is an important influence on the behavior and preferences of consumers and can have a greater effect than religion.

The most successful brands satisfy a universal need and adapt their marketing to local culture.


Witten by Noaman Asar Country Manager, Pakistan Millward Brown

Marketing is not a cost. Marketing is the most important investment any company should make to ensure long-term financial success. Brand strength leads to superior shareholder returns. At BrandZ, we’ve proved this connection: if you’d invested $100 on the stock market (the MSCI world index) in 2006, your return in 2015 would be $30.

However, if you’d picked your portfolio from the BrandZ Top 100 the return would be $103 – three times greater. Brand building also brings resilience in challenging times. While the share price of all brands dropped during the economic downturn, it took strong brands just six months to recover – versus three years for average brands.

In China, it is widely acknowledged by businesses that strong brands help to generate a price premium and increase sales volumes. For many of the stock market’s leading performers it is the ‘brand’ that those businesses have built up that drives their market success. More organizations focus on building great brands so that they can benefit from market share, premiumization and business longevity.

While brand is not a passive asset, like the goodwill that is left over when the value of other assets has been subtracted, its role in business success is too important for financial analysts to ignore.

Prize asset

Brand is one of the most valuable financial asset types of modern corporations. It contributes more to shareholder value creation than any other tangible or intangible asset. Millward Brown research shows the additional value realized by brands to be as much as 50 percent of intangible capital.

Apple (AAPL:NDQ) is a good example of a tech business that uses brand to command a price premium and drive business sales. As one of the highest-ranking brands in our BrandZ Top 100 ranking of the Most Valuable Global Brands, its brand is valued at $148 billion. But in 2014, a growing perception that Apple was no longer redefining technology for consumers – which was reflected by a lack of dramatic new product launches – contributed to a 20 percent decline in Apple’s brand value. In 2015, the success of iPhone 6 and the launch of new products such as Apple Watch, Apple Pay pushed Apple back to the position of most valuable brand in the world.

Autohome Inc. (ADR: NYSE): Autohome Inc. is the leading online automobile news, social media and purchase site in China, providing independent and interactive content to automobile buyers and owners. Its brand was valued at $120 million at IPO. Autohome Inc’s CEO, James Qin, believes that IPOs are the time to focus the business away from products and toward the needs of existing and future customers, and what a brand will do to support and grow this base. With the support of BrandZ methodology, the Autohome board decided to expand into auto e-commerce and the used car business, with an aligned brand vision “Lead everything Auto” to be executed through brand development plans. Revenue year-on-year increased by 82.1 percent to $100.5million for the first quarter of 2015, reflected by stock market growth of over 72 percent.

The number of Chinese brands in the BrandZ Global Top 100 has risen from just one in 2006 to 14 in 2015, and their total Brand Power has increased 1,004 percent. Chinese brands have learned from and followed Western brands, and now they have started to lead. The majority are not yet truly globalized, but they’re ambitious and growing in value extremely fast – and they will change the global competitive landscape.

To win in the next decade, building difference is the must-do for Chinese brands

Here's one big challenge Chinese brands are facing: compared to multi-national brands in China, Chinese brands are lagging way behind on “being different”. For example, in consumers’ minds, local brands are less trend-setting and lack experience of telling compelling brand stories. In a world with so much product similarity, brands which consumers view as “different” achieve higher value. Those that have remained in the top half of the BrandZ ranking over the last 10 years are scored very highly on “difference” by consumers, and have grown 124 percent in brand value. In contrast, brands in the bottom half of the ranking score lower and have increased only 24 percent in value.

Difference can enable a brand to command a higher price and yield a higher profit. It isn’t just about the product; differentiation can also be found through purpose, personality, values, and design. Category leaders like Coca-Cola and BMW need to guard leadership and keep refreshing their brand messages to be always unique.

As China is experiencing the historical Internet+ technology explosion, it’s a critical time for technology companies to build strong brands. Chinese brands should consider a comprehensive review of the brand’s value proposition in order to answer two important questions: “What does my brand stand for” and “What purpose can we fulfill to make a positive difference in people’s lives”. We need to move beyond the product functional benefit – “what”, to emotional benefits and purposeful benefits – “why” – why we do what we do? As a good recent example, Smartizan T2 phone created a “pair-up solution” to help senior citizens fix smart phone issues via the remote “same-time” help app on their children’s phones. This is not just a smart solution, but more importantly, it serves a greater social purpose to make seniors’ lives easier and give them the opportunity to truly enjoy the mobile world.

To remain competitive through the next decade, and to develop into the world’s most valuable brands, Chinese brands should stop seeing brand building as a cost and view it as an investment in future financial success. They need a holistic brand building system that focuses on every aspect – from communications to CRM to creating the whole experience – to make consumers’ lives better, build meaningful difference and embrace disruptive technologies. Brands are a fabulous investment, and need to be nurtured and cared for accordingly.


Written by Doreen Wang, Global Head of BrandZ Millward Brown

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had organized a Conference on Wellness with the theme “The Global Wellness Industry- Witnessing a Change” on 22nd April 2016 at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida, under the sidelines of Global Exhibition on Services.

Dr. Blossom Kochhar who is a pioneer in the beauty industry, a visionary way ahead of her time. She has been practicing and researching the science of ‘Aromatherapy and Herbalisim’ for well over 25 years. Dr.Kochhar was the special guest and addressed the audience on “Towards Organization of the Wellness Sector: Key Challenges and Best Practices”.

She spoke at length on how the wellness market in India is estimated at INR 700 billion and how the same is driven by the country’s current demand and supply dynamics. She feels the industry will grow at double rate in the next ten years especially in the sectors like – the spa treatments, fitness and slimming.

On the occasion of the conference Dr.Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic said, "The Beauty and the Wellness Industry is witnessing a growth of nearly 20% per year. However, in order to harness and sustain this spectacular growth we will need to have an organized industry with skilled manpower for delivering quality service at all times. I foresee a dynamic growth in this sector in the next 10 years."

Dr. Blossom Kochhar is the President, Organisation Mondiale Coiffure (OMC) – Paris, Inter Coiffure – India and National Hair Dressers Association (NHBA). She is also the Education Director at Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts and Design (BKCCAD). BKCCAD owns Pivot Point India – A Hair & Beauty Academy, Style Inc.– a grooming academy, MUD – Make–up Designory and Blossom Kochhar Aesthetics & Spa Academy.

Dr. Blossom Kochhar, was recently awarded the Universal Humanity Award 2013 on World Humanitarian Day. In addition, Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts and Design was awarded ‘The Best Hair Academy Award’ at The Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Couture Awards recently.

Budapest100 is an urban civil festival organised annually to celebrate the 100 year-old buildings of Budapest. In April 2016, Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard) was the focus of the program, which turned 120 years old. CIB Bank, with 5 branches on the Grand Boulevard, is a proud inhabitant of this prominent street, so they decided to commemorate the occasion going back in time.

Saatchi & Saatchi Budapest came up with the unique concept of a 120 year-old ATM. Two different steampunk style machines were placed outside two of CIB Bank’s branches. During a 2 day event, these cash machines took people’s photos and instantly printed them on an old banknote, the Pengő. Cogwheels were spinning, steam was huffing and liquids were boiling during the printing process, giving the illusion of what innovation must have looked like 120 years ago. 2,000 visitors kept their personalised Hungarian Pengő banknotes. The message was clear: modernisation does not depend on the era, but rather on innovative thinking: CIB Bank has recently released their new mobile banking application.


Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Budapest
CD: Andrea Toth
AD: Korinna Tánczos, Tamás Szalkai
CW: Orsolya Nagymáté
Account director: Zsuzsanna Döbrei
Account executive: Edit Pálfi
Project coordinator: Orsi Kmetty
Production designer: Magdolna Varga / Prop Club

Aren’t there mornings when you wake up with a song stuck in your head? You are so comfortable and so full of energy that you can’t hold yourself back. Jockey India’s latest film captures those mornings when you can’t help yourself, but start moving spontaneously.

Jockey, the American innerwear and leisurewear brand has been making waves in the Indian market for the last couple of years with multiple and innovative product lines like USA Originals and POP Color. They also introduced newer technology and styling options in their Women’s range.

Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi, has conceived its latest campaign ‘Feels Like Jockey’ which consists 4 individual films and one 60 second montage version, along with radio and outdoor executions. With this campaign, the brand reaffirms its American lineage.

The films feature young men and women waking up and starting to move to the soundtrack of ‘Feelin’ Good’ by the legendary Nina Simone. Choreographed by Dena Thomson (best known for Sia videos) the films have been directed by Indian-American director Isaak Ravishankara (also known for Hozier videos). The films were shot in Los Angeles by an all American crew.

Talking about the campaign, Rahul Nangia, Jt.NCD, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi said, “These films have brought together an interesting bunch of performers and artists. It was great to see so much talent and skill working together to create this piece.”

Vedji Ticku, COO, Page Industries said, “With this campaign Jockey further builds on its international lineage and strengthens its core of comfortable innerwear. The campaign also ensures the brand continues to stay relevant to the everyday lives of the evolving younger generation."


Agency: Law& Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi

Creative Team: Rahul Nangia, Pritam Shettigar, Ruchika Parab, Clyde Galbao, Shahid Shehzad,

Account Management: Debarjyo Nandi, Reshmi Ganguli, Himali Shetye

Director: Isaak

Production House: Lightbox Films, India and Benetone Hill, USA

Producers: Junaid Herekar & Imran Khan

US Producer: Daemon Hill

Line Producer: Lauren Baker

Production Manager: Devin Reeve

DOP: Katelin

Choreographer: Dena Thomson

Steadicam Operator: Ari Robbins

Sound: Anu Pujari, Shankh

Offline editor: Shweta Venkat Mathew

Online editor: Jitendra Kalwani, Pixion


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