The Islamic branding boom
Source: ABC Namebank , Author: Naseem Javed
Posted: 28-07-2008

INTERNATIONAL. Just as fast as the Halal food concepts grow at a phenomenal rate worldwide, the perceptions of its message, branding of its products and positioning of its image becomes an even more complex global challenge.

Historically, successful mega revolutions always rely on the incubation of very simple ideas, creating mass appeal and hassle free propagation of the master concepts leading to worldwide acceptance. But today, with global image shifts, even the best of ideas become trapped. It’s a chess game out there, and only the smart players who know all the precise moves will win, as most players are simply moving the pieces without knowing the rules. Welcome to the complex world of image positioning of Halal products and Islamic concepts.

Image leadership mandate

Creating a globally acceptable message, with built-in features so it becomes a self-propagating cyclonic brand identity and an unstoppable force now demands special rules of engagement. This is not achieved by logo-centric and slogan-happy branding, or by simply attaching the word ‘Halal’ to any product. To nurture a revolutionary movement, the study of global image-land-escape is crucial. These complex issues are often perceived as useless exercises of massive focus group studies or repeats of traditional prolonged research processes, where outdated case studies of some once-great Western projects only producing outdated results.

Today, this subject demands a commanding knowledge on how mass communication and global media strategies are managed, and how new fresh ideas are deployed. To create a world-class Image Leadership Mandate within any mega project is to define, design and own a master blueprint and to have the tools to x-ray the global landscape during its implementation. These processes, too, often get confused as being covered by a short-lived media blast or a quick fix ad-blitz, and when the dust settles, these processes do not leave any residual brand equity value. For this very reason, there are no major globally recognised brands to talk about that have arisen out of Muslim countries.

The national image

What took centuries for countries to create a status of superiority is now being seriously challenged by the global populace. Booming new economies are redefining themselves under new images through improved performance, claiming high status under the superiority of their new ideas. This whole game of image positioning was once exclusively reserved for the small handful of Western powers. This turbo-charged and hyper-accelerated mode of global image repositioning is causing shifts and creating new chasms of divides among countries. There is a void needing to be filled with new players, new ideas and new global icons.

A recently released short business documentary, available on the Internet entitled ‘The Oblivion Syndrome’, shows that where one is convinced that branding efforts are charging forward into global stardom, but in reality, they are slipping into decreased visibility in other words, total oblivion.

Out there is an undiscovered universe of billions of customers. The next challenge for the new gatekeeper of the national brands is the streamlining of global marketing and branding tools to achieve stardom in the fastest time, with minimal costs and maximum impact. As massive global shifts take place, this calls for drastic action. This subject is exclusively for CEOs who alone can bite the bullet and confront these issues head on. Implement evaluation, conduct audits and stop the confusion. 

During my lecture tours in Dubai and GCC, I was always overwhelmed by the response clearly and rightfully identifying the issues, but often respondents are not taking the bold steps to activate a process to immediately start altering the situation. The image blame game of the past must be replaced by massive training and grass roots incubation of image and brand savvy culture so that the nations become confident in knowing the art and start enjoying the benefit of its skillful application. There are series of such nationwide programmes already drafted that can alter the course under the right leadership.


For nations seeking a sharper image on the global stage, they must band their exportable competencies and create the ambassadorial brands that can go out and touch the customers of the universe, but they must play these games with great care and with a deeper understanding of icons under the established rules of engagement. For CEOs of major projects, take the Five Star Standard test available on the Internet today and open a serious discussion backed by professional evaluations while looking at world-class solutions to this dilemma.

Halal food concepts will become the most powerful global issues in a very short time ahead, but to turn them into a globally successful and highly respectable phenomenon, this game must be played with proper rules and it must incubate ideas that will help thousands of SMEs all along the way. A true mega revolution awaits.

Note: The author is an acclaimed global image expert. A world-renowned authority on corporate nomenclature, author of two major books, Naseem Javed is featured in over 100 articles worldwide, annually. Today, Naseem is invited to speak all over the world. His talks are always very insightful, provocative and serious and at times outrageously hilarious. He advises CEOs of Fortune 500 and other leading corporations on all matters of complex global naming in the e-commerce sphere.

 In 1993, Naseem wrote a major book entitled now in its fourth printing. This book points to the challenges of the current naming policies and to the failure and reflects on the future of naming for the global e-commerce. He is also the principal of ABC Name Bank, a Toronto and New York-based consulting firm.

Naseem Javed, is raising serious questions on the root causes of why Islamic countries do not have any respectable, globally recognised GCC brands. Naseem has personally created global name identities which, when combined, receive a turnover of US$40 billion per annum. He is currently lecturing in the Middle East.

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