Your Halal Brand Must Stand for Something
In one of our previous blog posts: “Brands for Social Justice: It’s Not All About Profit for Muslim Businesses”, we mentioned the pressure on brands to speak up for social justice coming from protestors, customers, and employees.
Today, we can confidently say that purpose and standing for something are the most important elements of your halal brand.
As mentioned previously, in that same blog post:
60% of the US population, and 78% of those aged 18 to 34, expect brands to take a stand on racial justice.Source: Forbes
This is just one social issue in a myriad of issues that consumers of all walks of life find important for brands to have a say in. The Muslim consumer is no different.
Muslim consumers who are conscious of Islamic teachings expect Muslim businesses and halal brands to be more than just profit makers and revenue generators.
One of the most important things in a Muslim’s life is not going about business as usual while being ignorant of his or her Creator’s rules and regulations. This is true for all his or her actions, including the business they run, and that would include how he or she advertises and promotes his or her products or services.Source: “What You Must Know About Islamic Advertising Principles
Just remember, your stance will not be the silver bullet that will unite all Muslims to hold hands and sing kumbaya.
If you have been reading our blog posts regularly, you know that we keep emphasizing that not all Muslim consumers are the same.
In the same way that you are not selling a blanket “Muslim product” that every Muslim customer will want to buy or find interesting; what your brand stands for will not appeal to all Muslims.
A Lesson from Mainstream Brands for Halal Brands
We wanted to highlight this example with Subway because when you look at it as an outsider, you would think Subway would be proud of their spokesperson for finding a way to voice her disapproval for social injustice.
Recently, Subway found itself in hot water unexpectedly when one of their celebrity spokespeople – a soccer player – took the knee during the U.S. national anthem at the Tokyo Olympics.
AdAge explains that the pressure came from franchisees who started seeing sales drop due to the incident:
These partners argue that by associating with Rapinoe, her views are negatively impacting the company’s reputation and sales—and consequently their livelihoods as store owners.
But hold on a second; isn’t taking the knee against racism a good thing? Shouldn’t Subway just tell its partners to get with the program?
Well, they would have if they stood for something. According to the Sportbible, Subway franchises plan to axe the soccer player from TV adverts after the controversy.
Subway hired a progressive, outspoken activist and athlete to represent their brand, even though their values don’t align with theirs or their stakeholders which is why they are in trouble.
But what’s more important, aligning your values with your stakeholders regardless of what they stand for or aligning your values with what is right?
Your Muslim Business Values
Your halal brand or Muslim business must have values and stand by those values. Your communication must be clear and you must be steadfast. Your stance will not please every single Muslim consumer.
However, if you believe it is right in the eyes of your Creator and for the betterment of the Muslim ummah (community/nation) then stick to it.
O, my dear son! Establish prayer, encourage what is good and forbid what is evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a resolve to aspire to.Source: Quran 31:17
Scholars have mentioned that the phrase in the above verse, “and endure patiently whatever befalls you” comes after “encourage what is good and forbid what is evil” as advice that whenever you stand up for what is right you will face resistance and so be patient about it and keep at it.
The Arabic word used in the verse, for enduring patiently ‘Sabr’ is defined as follows:
Sabr (verance and persistence) … teaches to remain spiritually steadfast and to keep doing good actions in the personal and collective domain, specifically when facing opposition or encountering problems, setbacks, or unexpected and unwanted results. It is patience in the face of all unexpected and unwanted outcomes.Source: Wikipedia
What if you were in the same position that Subway finds itself? Let’s say your Muslim brand ambassador spoke about the recent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in a way that upset some of the Afghan Americans despite being right.
Let’s say Afghan Americans made up a considerable part of your customer base. What then?
This is where the concept of ‘Sabr’ is tested and the Prophet peace be upon him has the solution for that:
You will never leave something for the sake of Allah, but Allah will give you something better in return.Narrated by Ahmad
Your halal brand will have to stick to its guns, do what’s right, and leave behind the notion of wanting to please everyone when you know what is right in front of your Creator.
What Muslim Ad Network Stands For
It would all mean nothing if we, at Muslim Ad Network, did not practise what we advocate in this blog post.
This is why we want to share our values and what we stand for as an example to help you do the same for your halal brand, Muslim business, or Islamic organisation.
Notice that your values need to be in line with the strengths and functionalities of the entity you run. That way you can use your resources to make a difference.
Muslim Ad Network aims at improving the Muslim ummah (community /nation) by helping Muslim businesses thrive. We do this in a manner that utilizes our strength – through online advertising.
We want to make sure that:
1- Halal brands, Muslim companies, and Islamic organizations reach their Muslim online audiences in the most impactful and cost-efficient manner. At the same time helping Muslims to be exposed to Islamic services and halal products to help improve their lives here and in the hereafter.
2- Help mainstream brands and companies reach their Muslim audiences so that Muslim consumers get the best products and services out there and get their voices heard at the same time.
3- We want to give back to the community consistently and during times of crisis; like we did when we offered $25,000 in free advertising for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We invite your brand, company, or organization to partner with Muslim Ad Network as an Advertiser or Publisher to maximize your business opportunities with Muslim audiences while standing for human values.start targeting muslim consumers