To start off with, let’s define “unapologetic.” When we say you should build an unapologetic Muslim brand, we don’t mean one that never apologizes for a mistake, because every brand or business will face embarrassing gaffes from time to time.
Instead, we’re talking about developing a halal brand that fearlessly highlights its values, its culture, what makes it unique, and what kind of experience its customers can expect.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we must appear as our true, authentic selves if we are to survive. The lines between personal and professional life merged in 2020. Meetings were moved into our living rooms, making the environment far more intimate. We all benefited because it strengthened our bonds! We realized that our superpower is the fact that no one else is like us.
Making sure that your brand is unapologetically standing for its values, sends out an aura of authenticity – something that the majority of your target audience is looking for in a brand.
After all, we live in the age of authenticity and 88 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands to like and support.
How to Use Creatives to Bring Your Halal Brand Purpose to Life
Purpose Will Make or Break Your Halal Brand
Be Unapologetically Muslim
Do not hide or water down your Muslim identity. Sorry to say this, but if your name is “Mohamed”, the most popular and greatest name in the world, what are you doing calling yourself “Mo”, right?
In the same way, in a world of moral decay, where Islam offers solutions to many of the issues that are destroying families and society as a whole, you should be proud of your halal or Muslim brand.
We found this amazing and profound quote from the article, “How Inferiority Complex Is Hurting You and the Ummah (and How We Can Fix This”, which every Muslim brand and even individual must keep in mind.
Dazzled by the power and progress of Western nations, Muslims began to imitate Western social and economic institutions regardless of the consequences,… and consisted of little more than the ardent pursuit of material success. The prestige of religion was diminished. The teachings of the Prophet ﷺ were forgotten. All those ideals of life, which truthfully displayed within themselves both the spiritual and the temporal aspects of life and did not subordinate the former to the latter, ceased to impress the minds of the great mass of Muslim society.Islam And The World (pg 173) – Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi
Surely everything that makes us strong is in the belief of our religion of Islam, which would include your business and your brand.
Verily, we were a disgraceful people and Allah honored us with Islam. If we seek honor from anything besides that with which Allah has honored us, then Allah will disgrace us.Omar Ibnil Khattab – Source: Al-Mustadrak 214
Also, from a business perspective, the young generation of Muslims – who by the way make up the majority of the Muslim population – is looking for brands that relate to their identity as Muslims. You do not want to lose that business opportunity by not integrating Muslim values into your brand. You will lose out.
During the World Cup 2022 opening ceremony which was watched by millions around the world, Qatar did not shy away from exhibiting its Islamic heritage. A fine example of being unapologetically Muslim
Speak Unapologetically About Your Competitors
When you know for a fact that your product or service benefits Muslim consumers better, explain why to your followers and refer to some of the competition. This is known as “building selective demand”. In short, selective demand refers to the demand for a specific brand rather than a broad product category. Brands use this strategy when developing messages to strengthen their brand identity and generate interest in their products.
Be careful not to talk negatively about your competitors, but instead, highlight the positives of your brand in comparison to theirs.
It’s a good way to get people thinking about the advantages of what you have to offer and where your product or service outperforms competitors. If a competitor responds, you have the opportunity to solidify your claims. If the competitor knows that your claims are true they may not even respond as they fear losing their followers and customers to your brand.
Remember not to do this in paid advertising as your ads may be flagged for copyright issues when you mention your competitors’ brand names in your copy.
Do not make claims that you cannot support. And use a little clean humor to keep it fun and respectful. In 2016, Burger King did just that by dressing up the franchise building and products as “the ghost of McDonald’s” during Halloween and hanging the following slogan outside:
“Boooo! Just Kidding. We still frame-grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.”
As you can see from the above slogan, they are not mentioning their rival’s negative points and instead highlight their unique selling point to their audience. Although subtly they are telling their fans that they know that they would be terrified at the idea of eating a McDonald’s burger as it is not frame-grilled.
Deal Unapologetically With Unfounded Negative Comments
We live in a world where everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinion and be heard by thousands of people across the globe. This is a good thing in the name of freedom of expression and creating dialogue.
However, here is the issue. Before the advancement of technology and social media, and even before television, only a few designated people of high knowledge and wisdom had the attention of the masses. People had to earn their place on platforms where they could address the masses. They worked hard to make the credentials and get the privilege and opportunities to explain what’s good and what’s not.
Today, every Tom, Dick, and Harriet can comment on your social media post and have his or her opinion read by thousands of people. Those who are loud and disrespectful are, well, a loud minority.
If you are following the ethical standards of Islam in your social media posts and advertising, you should not get shaken by such incidents. You need to stay firm because the majority of your Muslim followers most probably agree with you, or else you would hear from them too.
Explain your stance and deliver proof of why you think your post was justified and move on. Do not get too hung up in the conversation.
Below is a recent example of our own brand on Instagram. It was clear to us that the person was insincere through their voice tone but also the fact that this was a newsletter item. He/she could have approached us through email but instead, he/she wanted to stir up some controversy and get some likes and so posted it on Instagram.
This was our response:
Yes, without a shadow of a doubt this post was appropriate. Here is why! In Islam, whatever evil a person has done is wiped clean when they become Muslim. We do not judge anyone, especially someone who has just accepted Islam. If you say we should judge him based on his past actions and statements before accepting Islam then why do we not do the same for the Quraysh who buried their daughters and used women as property – the same as camels? Isn’t that 10x more dangerous to women than what Andrew Tate used to say? Yet, the best of the Muslim nation came from them. Muslims idolize the worst of people (celebrities, politicians, etc.) who are not even Muslims and who contribute to destroying societies as a whole. Yet today someone repents and accepts Islam but we still want to judge them? Let us have the best of assumptions about people and not the worst assumptions. We are allowed to take the best of anyone and leave out the bad. At MAN, we are very particular in the content that we create and publish. We do that for the greater majority and not the loud minority.
You can see from our response that we mention facts, Islam’s take on such issues, and our general stance on creating and distributing content. And yes, we did not lose or isolate any of our female followers as the commenter had predicted.
Be Unapologetically Human
Show Your Face
Humanize your halal brand as much as possible. You can attain this by showing the faces behind the brand. This is especially important if you are a startup. For startups, the CEO’s personality rubs on to the entire business and people want to trust the man or woman behind the brand in order for them to trust the brand.
Bond With Your Audience
Make sure you answer as many relevant questions and reply to as many relevant comments on social media as possible. This makes your audience feel a sense of bonding with your brand. Do not shy away from using simple colloquial language and speak in the same style that your audience speaks.
It’s understandable that most businesses don’t want to appear too promotional. However, every customer is aware that you are a business attempting to sell them something. Tell them why you think your product or service is fantastic and why they should buy it from time to time. Do it in the same way you would tell your friend about your new business idea. The vast majority will appreciate your forthrightness. Many of your followers will thank you if you do it correctly because it can be refreshing.
Show Some Emotion
Although professionalism is essential in business, it does not require that you always act seriously. Displaying your emotional side on occasion is a simple way to humanize your brand and attract more attention. If you find uplifting news stories, share them with everyone. Why not tell your followers when something irritates you? Also, don’t be afraid to express yourself using emojis.
Do you want to learn more about the latest advertising trends? Sign up for the MAN weekly newsletter so you can be the first to know.start targeting muslim consumers