Around mid-May to mid-June every year, Muslims around the world spend one month observing Ramadan to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. For the estimated 4.1 million Muslims living in the UK, this holiday is as important as Christmas to Christians.
Now, before I make the argument why brands should be looking at the opportunity around Ramadan, let’s address the elephant in the room.
There is a worrying trend of increased Islamophobia in the UK. In fact let’s face it, this is around the world. A 2016 study by ComRes revealed that 43% of those surveyed believe that Islam is a negative force in the UK, with 31% agreeing that Islam promotes acts of violence in the UK. With such negative sentiment, many marketers will baulk at the thought at the thought of attaching themselves to Ramadan however let me give you my key reasons why you should reconsider;
Ramadan raises MILLIONS for charity every year
Charity is a very important part of Islam and during Ramadan even more so. In 2013, 2014 and 2016 charitable donations were estimated to be over £100 million each year. That’s the equivalent of £38 a second! Recipients in 2016 were over 1 million with good causes supported including those affected by conflict in Syria, along with soup kitchens for the homeless and aid for flood victims in the UK. This REALLY needs to be amplified and celebrated!
There is a broader audience than you think
Whilst the core appeal would indeed be the 4.1 million Muslims in the UK, there is also a broader audience that could be tapped into around Ramadan that people are missing.
According to Global Web Index, 15.4 million people in the UK agree that they are interested in international events and like to surround themselves by different people, cultures & countries. Avoiding the mainstream media melee and taking a stand allows for effective communication with this vast group of people. 67% of this audience are in the top 50% of earners in the UK whilst nearly half hold a university or post-graduate degree.
So any brands wanting to target highly educated, high earners really should be taking note.
There is potential to build long term brand value
Almost half the muslim population in the UK are under 25 which, coupled with an ageing population makes them the fastest-growing group among young Britain’s. One in 12 school children in England & Wales are now officially classed as Muslim; developing a longstanding association with such an important occasion now could offer fruitful long term rewards for your brand.
You have the ability to help drive change
Counteracting the increasing Islamophobia in the world is something that needs to be tackled and brands can play a big part in this. I have always believed that marketeers have an opportunity, hell, an obligation, to look to help make a positive impact on the world. We deliver millions of messages to people will the full intent on impacting and changing their behaviour. Educating people around Ramadan could help develop a conversation, alter perceptions and drive positive change.
Get Ramadan Ready next year
While this year we will likely see the offers come rolling in from the Supermarkets, who were definitely early adopters, fashion and makeup brands are the next to awaken to the opportunities available. But these efforts aren’t going far enough; creating a unique Eid gift may shift a few more units, but is it really making the most of such a beautiful occasion?
So whilst this year it may be too late, I hope brands get to work early in preparation for next year and really look to invest so that, just maybe, alongside Christmas, Chinese New Year and Diwali, we can start celebrating another bastion of British multiculturalism in Ramadan and Eid.