By Joy Abdullah
3:00PM—In the lounge of a 5 star hotel in downtown Kuala Lumpur a discussion is raging.
Can a halal certified brand become a mainstream brand?
This scenario is (slowly but surely) occurring in most cities globally, as today’s consumers are seeking basic values from brands and their organisations. Values such as honesty, transparency, community benefit and purity, that are inherent in the Shari’ah.
Some amount of available research (in the public domain) and some that’s customised (and that this author has had the priviledge of being consulted on as well as provide analysis) clearly show not just the global Muslim consumersbut other consumer segments are seeking these values and if brands communicate (and, of course, live these values) there is a very good opportunity for halal certified brands to go mainstream and thus be a profitable revenue source.
This recent article—Badge of Honor details excellently how consumers are desiring realness and authenticity in brands and increasingly seeking alternative options to mainstream brands. Quoting the article—‘Halalism’ is no longer just about Shari’ah- compliance. It has gradually evolved as a brand philosophy representing a set of values.”
Having just a halal logo is no longer proving enough. More and more companies are looking at how to be ‘fully Halal’ in everything they do – right from supply chain and product development, through to financing, marketing and communications.
Whilst the first global halal index is introduced and talks of a, probable, global standards keep mulling about at the WHF (World Halal Forum in KL) what’s important is to see action in terms of availability of financing (for SME’s primarily) and clear global standards in sectors such as hospitality, tourism, cosmetics and fashion.
With specific global standards made available (and more importantly, agreed too, and enforced across borders) the probability of a halal brand being accepted in the mainstream would increase exponentially.