What do you think of when you hear Muslim?  …Islam?

Well, according to a study performed by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 35% of Americans view Muslims in a negative light.  Another 45% believe Islam to be more of a violent religion than any other.

 

Meanwhile, Islam is the second most followed religion in the world; that’s 21% of the planet’s entire population – nearly 1.8 billion people!  Stereotypes and world events lead most people to associate all Muslims with Arab extremists of the Middle East, while in reality only 10% of Muslims are of Arab descent.

Now is a more crucial time than ever to take advantage of marketing to the American Muslim.  With the recent defeat of Osama bin Laden, the American morale is up while stereotyping and negative feelings towards American Muslims are steadily decreasing.

Click HERE to view a video from the Wall Street Journal focusing on “The Muslim World After bin Laden.”

KFC, McDonald’s and Nestle are dominating the worldwide Halal market, but most U.S. locations do not serve Muslim-friendly items.

With one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the U.S., Dearborn became a test subject for McDonald’s, and for many other mainstream brands in the area, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and even IKEA.  The sale of Chicken McNuggets at the Dearborn location has more than doubled since they began serving a Halal version!  Not all “test subjects” are this successful.


This photo is of a protestor in the U.K. outside of a McDonald’s that recently began serving Halal versions of their meat items.  Companies still face struggles and must overcome obstacles when trying to appeal to the Muslim market, especially in the U.S.

Some companies, not directly marketed towards Muslims, are seeing a drastic increase in sales as American Muslims are buying $3 billion a year of Kosher foods; that’s more than Jewish people buy!

Even the Kosher food company, Manischewitz, launched it’s “Simply Manischewitz” campaign in 2006 to reach out to non-Jewish customers.

 

Below is a video that explains Halal in a bit more detail…

 

“At the end of the day, people will not buy Halal simply because it’s Halal.  They’re going to buy quality food.  Ideology does not fit in with a consumer mindset.”
– Zahed Amanullah, European managing director for the California-based Zabihah.com (online guide to Halal marketplace)

 

With a purchasing power upwards of $170 billion dollars a year and growing 10%-15% a year, American Muslims in particular are a prime target audience that is quickly learning it’s power.  This is a group that is better educated and wealthier than the general U.S. population.

“During the 1980s and ‘90s many Muslims…expressed their religious principles by voting Islamic.  Today, a growing number are doing so by buying Islamic, connecting to their Muslim roots by what they eat, wear and play on their iPods.”
– Zahed Amanullah, European managing director for the California-based Zabihah.com (online guide to Halal marketplace)

 

As with any market, American Muslims have specific needs and come with the definite possibility of incredible growth.  With a population that is expected to more than double in the next twenty years, American Muslims hold a lot of power in their pockets. Ogalvy Mather Worldwide recently launched their Ogalvy Noor division, the world’s first Islamic branding practice; between this and ongoing studies by JWT in New York, it won’t be long before companies begin expanding and reaching out to the American Muslim consumers and realizing the benefits that come with it.

Below is a video I made that provides an overview of the American Muslim Consumer Group.


 

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