Is CSR a helpful tool for a brand in the Muslim consumer segment?

| 03/02/2010 | Reply

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Is CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) a helpful tool for a brand in the Muslim consumer segment?

In today’s changed economic scenario & social media connected, consumer groups, can CSR play a meaningful role in establishing a strong brand identity amongst the global Muslim community?

The growth and acceptance of various social media platforms (professional and personal) have given rise to, interest based, online communities. Communities that hold a strong ‘recommendation/influencer’ power over their members. Trust in the recommendations of a fellow group member goes a much longer way than the advertising and traditional marketing communications of a brand.

Is this an opportunity?

The global Muslim Ummah is huge, numerically. But when the income and purchasing power filter is used, the concentration comes into perspective across certain markets. But the beauty of it is that these ‘able-to-afford’ the price groups are talking amongst themselves on various brands, recommending, spreading through word of mouth, and text messages the reputation of the brand or killing it.

Have specific brands targeted to the Muslim consumer segment, used a CSR type program in a planned manner to grow themselves? Or is it foolhardy to do so, as the returns would not be visible in day 1 but possibly in day 10?

Across categories, brands targeting the Muslim community segment, globally, can actually utilise CSR programs as a strong complementary way to protect brand value and deliver brand promise in order to increase brand loyalty. But the catch lies in identifying programmes which clearly portray benefits both to the consumer and to the society (as a whole) and not appear as a ‘lip-service’.

A recent McKinsey Quarterly article titled ‘Making the Most of Corporate Social Responsibility’ (http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Making_the_most_of_corporate_social_responsibility_2479) highlights how many companies are now seeing CSR as an opportunity to strengthen their business.

In crafting CSR programs that are beneficial, the key is to be able to develop an implementation plan that delivers on the program objectives.  A brand that truly
does develop and implement this, in the long run (of a year of dedicatedly following the straight path of the program’s objective) will, undoubtedly reap the benefits of ‘loyalty’. And that would, in turn, bring about a strong, trusted brand relationship between the brand and its customers.

For the global Muslim segment, brands currently operating in it, and brands evaluating to come in, such a CSR program could be a great tool to build up the brand.

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.

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http://www.linkedin.com/in/abdullah190862

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Category: Asia, Opinion

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