Halal Branding; A New book About Muslim Consumerism in Christian West



Halal Branding is a culturally-centric approach to championing branded lived experiences and intersectionality.

Professor Jonathan Wilson offers a nuanced and fresh philosophical approach – packed with branding toolkits, practical advice and a touch of creative hip-hop/grunge flair, on how clusters of people, influenced by Muslims and Islam, can build authentic brands and profit from Prophethood.

“I think the desire for a system involving such scrutiny of products and practices and services combined with an appetite for rigor or enlightenment in some way is growing in the West simply because people want an alternative perspective, the possibility of a new way of doing or looking at things and which is based in day-to-day life and so feels accessible. Therefore, the notion of Halal, as a cool byword for ‘this is okay’ just as Kosher was used before it, is effectively fulfilling another cultural remit. And that’s why it’s starting to permeate wider culture,” he said to Forbes.

In a blog post on Halal Incorp, Wilson offers some insights about his analogy.

“This is a serious topic, and halal is growing far beyond meat and money – but you’ll find that my book aims to put the fun in halal, and stretch your creative thinking. This blog shares an extract from my book and photos from my recent trip to Russia.

“Nearly ten years ago, when I started researching how Halal products and services were being marketed and branded, it was very much a blank piece of paper moment – which was both challenging and exciting. Challenging, because beyond simply placing a logo on products, few had thought about how you could market and brand these offerings differently. Exciting, because here is an opportunity to shake things up and look at new ways of challenging convention.

“All too often, discussions on Halal focus on permissibility and compliance – and they are championed by Halal certifiers, religious clergy, sociologists and journalists. They lead you to the doorstep of the market, by raising a flag and citing large numbers indicating its potential – but less is said about how you can walk through the door and dominate the market. At times, I’d even go as far to say that in presenting Halal’s uniqueness, it reinforces a sense of alienation that hampers the overall objective of Halal – which ultimately is to go mainstream.

“Muslims don’t want to be aliens, they want to be themselves, and accepted on their terms.”

“The art of making your brand, text and images speak

“The apex of the Islamic tradition revolves around the words of the Quran and the Arabic language from which it is comprised. The poetic nature of the verses are praised for how they sound and the way in which they invite people to reflect; they have been used visually for art and calligraphy; and the grammatical structure of sentences have been used to derive legal interpretations, through deduction and induction.

“Halal branding has to bring all of these style elements and depth together, along with contemporary life, to present to the world a style of branding that categorically remains true to the essence and heritage of Islam. Following this, the ongoing branding challenge will be how to maintain this over time, remaining relevant and authentic. A way in which you can do this is by communicating the heritage of the brand, the values and aspirations of the founders and employees through iterations, and maintaining design style consistency throughout all marketing materials and packaging.

“This is a serious topic, and halal is growing far beyond meat and money – but you’ll find that my book aims to put the fun in halal, and stretch your creative thinking.”

“You have to be careful of too much repetition, as this will wear your message out. Also, it has to be more sophisticated than saying, ‘I am a Muslim’, ‘Our product is from a Muslim country’, ‘we have a Halal certificate and logo’, and using the colour green, or Arabic calligraphy and geometric designs. Those could be a starting point for your creative thinking, but they may not resonate with consumers when it comes to how they assess aspects of desirability, status, and quality.

“Muslims don’t want to be aliens, they want to be themselves, and accepted on their terms. It’s a nod to the fact that you’re acknowledged and part of the gang. It’s effectively a way of co-branding.”

Read Wilson’s full entry here.

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