American Muslim Market 2011: Business Landscape & Consumer Needs Study

DinarStandard™ (DS), a growth strategy research and advisory firm focused on the global Muslim markets, will be releasing its “American Muslim Market: Business Landscape & Consumer Needs” study exclusively at the American Muslim Consumer Conference, Oct 29 2011.

AMCC attendees will get a special summary presentation of the study findings.  The full study will also be available at a special rate only for registered attendees.

This ground-breaking study will for the first time look at the state of business activity addressing American Muslim needs and show consumer perception of key brands on US halal food, finance, travel and select other sectors.  The study will also highlight American Muslim consumers un-met lifestyle needs.

The key questions this study will reveal:

  1. How is the Muslim demographic different across populations centers?
  2. Which are the major businesses and brands catering to American Muslims (halal food, finance, travel, fashion, media and other sectors)?  How do different brands compare?
  3. What is the brands image with consumers (food & finance)?
  4. What are the key influencing factors for purchase (channels, product attributes, services etc.)?
  5. What are the major latent needs of American Muslims not being met?

The study will be based on a nationwide grass-roots consumer survey across the major population centers and supplemented by DinarStandard’s market research and analysis.

June Newsletter: Featuring DinarStandard, Tom’s of Maine, Little Big Kids,

AMCC features a company every week on its social media outlets (FacebookLinkedin and Twitter) promoting products or companies which are meeting the growing needs of American Muslim Consumers. Companies/Products featured in the month of June are:


DinarStandard, a specialized research, advisory and business media firmempowering emerging Muslim markets for growth and global impact. “We believes that businesses are a critical force of change for tackling global human development challenges”, says Rafi Shikoh, Founder and CEO of DinarStandard.

Tom’s of Maine

Since 2006, all Tom’s of Maine products have carried the Halal endorsement, with the exception of bar soap and new Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash. The Halal endorsementcertifies that they are made in accordance with Islamic guidelines under the supervision of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA).

Little Big Kids

Little Big Kids is the first US brand to offer parents a wide range of Islamic Culture Inspired Products for Kids™. “Our goal is to incorporate beautiful culture specific themes into common products that are an everyday part of your child’s life”, says Founder and CEO, Omar Khawaja. covers the entire halal food chain. For ten years, has given the consumer more control over the quality and quantity of halal food. If you do not get the desired service in a Halal restaurant, this is the place to vent.

At AMCC we keep a pulse on the Muslim Consumer market. These articles which were on major media outlets talk about opportunities and the growing demand in the Muslim Consumer market:

Supermarket speaks language of halal

Sunny Foodmart has ambitious plans to be Toronto’s top multicultural supermarket. It’s off to a good start: The halal meat counter at its second branch has won approval from theMuslim community.

Turkey eyes greater share of pie in global halal market

The size of the total global halal products market ranges from $1.2 trillion to $2 trillion per annum, according to industry experts. Turkey currently only has a small share of the pie, but it hopes to become one of the leading actors in the sector.

Muslim students at Washington U. are getting food options

When the campus’ Muslim Student Association approached the school’s food service provider, Bon Appetit, and asked it to provide halal options — food prepared in accordance with Islamic law — the company agreed. In April, with the Student Union’s support, the Bear’s Den launched a halal food service, making Washington University the first school in the state to offer halal food, according to organizers.

Sharia-compliant bank products poised for strong global growth

Awareness of Islamic finance increasing in Japan, Europe and Australia. The Islamic finance industry can now be considered to be on the global stage. Leadership in the industry has been driven out of Malaysia and the GCC and there has also been significant take up in “non-Muslim” parts of the world, where Islamic finance is seen as “good for business” and a growth market. This is particularly true in Europe, Japan and Australia.

May Newsletter: Featuring Alsharifa, Elan, Abbott Nutrition, Azzad Asset Management

AMCC features a company every week on its social media outlets (FacebookLinkedin and Twitter) promoting products or companies which are meeting the growing needs of American Muslim Consumers. Companies/Products which were featured in the month of May were:


Where modern meets modest. Alsharifa’s mission is to bring its customers the best value on swimwear and other modest clothing lines for women.


Elan is the guide to Global Muslim Culture. The site features many Muslim bloggers who blog about news related to Muslim community. This could be the future for Muslim world. Moniza Khokhar is the founder of Elan.

Abbott Nutrition (NYSE: ABT)

Abbott Nutrition’s internationally recognized brands include the Similac® brand of infant formulas; the Gain® brand of growing-up milks; the PediaSure® line of nutritionals for children; and the Ensure® brand of complete and balanced nutrition for adults. Abbott products are Halal certified by IFANCA.

Azzad Asset Management

Azzad Asset Management is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since 1997, our mission has been to provide discretionary asset management services through smart solutions designed to help you enjoy optimum investment performance without compromising your values. We feel that ethical and socially responsible investment is what ‘Shari’ah compliant’ is and rather than use labels we try to outline what our guidelines specifically are says Fatima Iqbal, Investment Adviser and Financial Planner of Azzad Investments.

At AMCC we keep a pulse on the Muslim Consumer market. These articles which were on major media outlets talk about opportunities and the growing demand in the Muslim Consumer market:

Evolving Halal Certification Trends

The demand for Halal in the U.S. and abroad from consumers has grown in the last few years. From 2005-2009, Datamonitor Group has estimated that the number of global halal product launches has increased by 150%. The exponential rate of increased halal ingredients and foods hitting the global and U.S. markets can be attributed to some key factors. One of these factors include rising prominence of the Islamic consumer market – specifically in the realm of food products.

Islamic fashion: A modern makeover for Mum’s abaya

Modesty and religion are the cornerstones behind the fast-growing Islamic fashion industry, which is making a mark on runways from Indonesia and Dubai to Monte Carlo. Islamic fashion is part of a growing appetite for sharia-related industries and assets, ranging from finance to halal food.

What You Need to Know About Socially Responsible Investing

The number of Social Responsible Investing funds in the U.S. has grown to 250 with assets of $316.1 billion in 2010, up from 55 funds with $12 billion in assets in 1995, according to the Social Investment Forum. Some funds are devoted to investing based on religious beliefs or other social causes. The Ave Maria funds follow the doctrines of the Catholic Church, while the Amana funds abide by Islamic principles.

A high profile Maine business is reaching out to Muslim consumers

Tom’s of Maine has received certification that its personal care products are Halal–a term which means permissible under Islamic law. Business and Halal experts say the certification puts Tom’s in a category with very few other mainstream enterprises in America.

Entrepreneur Showcase at AMCC 2010 [Videos]

Entrepreneur ShowcaseWe introduced the Entrepreneur Showcase for the first time at last year’s American Muslim Consumer Conference. The objective was to look for companies, entrepreneurs and outstanding candidates to present their business, product, or service which are benefiting the American-Muslim consumer, either directly or as a byproduct. During this session, the selected candidates presented to the audience and a panel of experts who provided a guidance on furthering their company’s growth and exposure.

Last years session was a great success and due to the large number of applications we received, we encourage you to apply early for the this year’s Entrepreneur Showcase.

Check out the videos below of some of our presenters:

Little Big Kids

Muslim Ad Network

Zaiken Jewelry



April Newsletter: Featuring Guidance Residential, Edible Arrangements, HalalTrip, Misk Shoppe

AMCC features a company every week on its social media outlets (FacebookLinkedin and Twitter) promoting products or companies which are meeting the growing needs of American Muslim Consumers. Companies/Products which were featured in the month of April were:

Guidance Residential

Guidance Residential is the leader in Sharia-compliant home acquisition product that has been carefully designed to provide you some very unique benefits. Whether you are buying a homefor the first time or wish to replace an existing conventional mortgage, our Declining Balance Co-Ownership Program allows you to enjoy the benefits of home ownership with peace of mind.

Edible Arrangements

Celebrate the end of Ramadan and feast on delicious Ramadan arrangements, featuring traditional crescent moon and star shaped pineapples. Ramadan arrangements will make colorful andbeautiful table centerpieces that your family and friends are sure to enjoy. Tariq Farid is the Founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements.


Halal tourism has been the main growing part of tourism. The whole market is quite huge. “In the United States and the UK, there are a growing number of Muslims and a growing number of wealthy Muslims,” says Karim Saad, founder of

Misk Shoppe

Misk Shoppe brings Halal perfume to the United States. Be captivated by exotic aroma of the East. Perfected in the art of perfume making, oriental perfumes have been around for thousands of years. We introduce the best of these perfumes, made from the rarest and purest ingredients, shipped direct from the United States.

At AMCC we keep a pulse on the Muslim Consumer market. These articles which were on major media outlets talk about opportunities and the growing demand in the Muslim Consumer market:

Halal products and services have evolved beyond Shari’ah compliancy, into a coherent, issues-led brand philosophy

Values which Shari’ah encourages are emblematic of mainstream CSR-friendly themes, such as organic, fair-trade and going green. This takes us back to the point I made in the beginning about Halal being manifested in key trends such as localism, provenance and eco-ethical. This all begs the big question: Can Halal break into the mainstream?

Bloomberg L.P. Opens Its 10th Global Hub in Dubai

The Dubai hub will house Bloomberg’s expanding news operations and will provide support and development resources for Bloomberg’s recently launched Islamic Finance platform (ISLM), a comprehensive solution that increases transparency and provides analytical tools to maximize investment performance in the growing Shariah finance market.

Halal food index growing at fast pace and likely to overtake Dow Jones Islamic Index

The world’s first Halal food index, the Socially Acceptable Market Investments (SAMI) Halal Food, is anticipated to grow even faster than the Dow Jones Islamic Index (DJII) in terms of size, branding and spin-off products. This index is championed by Thomson Reuters Global head of Islamic Finance & OIC Countries Rushdi Siddiqui in cooperation with Ideal Ratings. It is backed by Thomson Reuters and supported by the World Halal Forum (WHF).

Towards a Halal economy – The Power of values in global market

The sixth World Halal Forum was held in Kuala Lampur on April 4th and 5th. In the past five years, Halal has become a global issue. Halal now plays a role in government policies, multinational corporate strategies, SME development, R&D and marketing. Halal has a major impact in the food sector and beyond affecting manufacturing, retail, restaurant, travel and hospitality sectors

March Newsletter: Featuring One Pure, Saffron Road, Shukr

AMCC features a company every week on its social media outlets (Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter) promoting products or companies which are meeting the growing needs of American Muslim Consumers. Companies/Products which were featured in the month of March were:

One Pure

OnePure is commited to providing an alternative of Halal certified products for discerning Muslims who value excellence and having a peace of mind has been the key to OnePure’s worldwide recognition. Following our successful launch of the OnePure Travel Collection on Saudi Airlines, the retail line has been launched with the famous French department store Galeries Lafayette.

Saffron Road

Halal is a tradition that has nourished billions of people over the last 1,400 years. Halal promotes the sacred tradition of respect for the land, fair treatment for farmers, humane treatment of livestock and clean, healthy food to eat. You’ll be amazed how good Saffron Road’s such carefully prepared food tastes.


Shukr is an Islamic clothing company dedicated to putting faith into fashion. Launched in 2001, Shukr was the first company to provide contemporary modest clothing which met the aesthetic and cultural needs of the new generation of Muslims living in the West. Shukr also aspires to be a model Islamic business, by applying sacred Islamic values to a contemporary, multinational company.

At AMCC we keep a pulse on the Muslim Consumer market. These articles which were on major media outlets talk about opportunities and the growing demand in the Muslim Consumer market:

Nestle suspends halal products due to pork traces

Food giant Nestle decided on Tuesday to suspend all production of its Herta halal products in France, a spokeswoman said, after a laboratory found traces of pork in sausages labeled as made from chicken.

The Future of the Global Muslim Population – Pew Research Center

The report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life seeks to provide up-to-date estimates of the number of Muslims around the world in 2010 and to project the growth of the Muslim population from 2010 to 2030. Changes in the political climate in the United States or European nations, for example, could dramatically affect the patterns of Muslim migration.

French Muslims Confused Over Halal Restriction

Bad news for halal food producers who want to build on the booming sector, currently worth $7.6 billion in annual sales in France. Though that only accounts for a tiny slice of the estimated $655 billion global halal market, experts say its growth in France has consistently been in double digits for nearly a decade.

Halal Cosmetics – Ethical approach

Analysts already predict that Halal cosmetics will be the next thing in the Islamic economy after Halal food and finance. Interestingly, Halal cosmetics are also gaining popularity amongst modern consumers of an Eco-ethical conscious, i.e. those willing to pay a premium for organic, natural and earthy cosmetics products to suit their modern lifestyle.

How Ethnic Brands Grow Beyond Their Niche

Tapping the cultural uniqueness of a product might not be conducive to appealing to a broader customer base.

January Newsletter: Featuring University Islamic Financial, Crescentrating, Midamar, Zayan Takaful

AMCC features a company every week on our Facebook page promoting products or companies which are meeting the growing needs of American Muslim Consumers. Companies/Products which were featured in the month of January were:

University Islamic Financial

Time to switch to Islamic Banking, University Islamic Financial offers Residential home financing, commercial financing, checking accounts, saving accounts, free internet banking, 37,000 sur-charge free ATMs. UIFC is a Shariah compliant subsidiary of University Bank which is member FDIC.


Crescentrating is an online destination for Halal friendly travel services and facilities. Halal conscious market segment is becoming increasing mobile for both work and leisure and as such there is a need to provide travel and tourism facilities and services catering to the unique needs of this group of travelers says Crescentrating CEO, Fazal Bahardeen

Midamar Corporation

Midamar is a pioneer and leader in Halal food services. Midamar provides Halal food production and distribution, export management for US companies, and export services to restaurant concepts located throughout the Middle East, South East Asia, the Far East. Bill Aossey is the CEO of Midamar.

Zayan Takaful Insurance

Zayan Takaful has Introduced the first ever home owner’s Takaful program in the US. Homeowners policies are provided through a strategic relationship with Lexington Insurance Company, a member of the AIG family of companies.

At AMCC, we keep a pulse on the Muslim Consumer market. These articles which were on major media outlets talk about opportunities and the growing demand in the Muslim Consumer market:

Spreading the Wings of Islamic Finance in India’s Emerging Market

The Bombay Stock Exchange has launched a new stock index of companies that are compliant with the Islamic legal code, encouraging Muslims to invest in India’s fast-growing stock market.

Testing a new market – The Muslim American Consumer

For most retailers, the holidays can be the same. Get shoppers in, entice them with special sales and extended hours, sell big and send happy shoppers home. But Best Buy electronic stores are trying something different. For the second year in a row, Best Buy is reaching out to the Muslim-American Consumer.

Eat, Pray and Tweet. Social-networking sites have taken off in Indonesia. Who will profit?

WHAT does the most populous Muslim nation do in its spare time? Increasingly, it swaps gossip online. Indonesia is now the world’s second-largest market for Facebook and the third-largest for Twitter, according to several web research firms.

First Illinois University to serve Halal food

What do you do when you want to change something in your school? Feel frustrated and throw your hands up in the air or seek scholarly guidance and take action? A group of Muslims chose the latter – and now attend the first university in Illinois with Halal food on their college campus.

U.S. Companies Urged to Tap Into $170 Billion Muslim Consumer Market

U.S. companies are loosing out by neglecting a rather attractive and overlooked consumer: American Muslims.

Halal beauty products appeal to wide range of customers — notably non-Muslims

Like most women, Samina Akhter loved being in style and keeping up with the latest makeup trends. She didn’t give much thought to what was actually in the products she put on her skin — until two years ago.

Global Muslim population gains will outstrip non-Muslim growth over the next 20 year

The world’s Muslim population will grow at double the rate of non-Muslims over the next 20 years, according to a broad new demographic analysis that is likely to spark controversy in Europe and the United States.

December Newsletter: Featured Companies

 AMCC features a company every week on our Facebook page promoting products or companies which are meeting the growing needs of American Muslim Consumers. Companies/Products which were featured in the month of December were:

Jaan J.

Jaan J. caters to the needs of those who appreciate quality vegan ties and cotton ties because they do not wear silk for health or personal reasons. “We at Jaan J. have made it our mission to produce the best non silk vegan ties for those who want the best neckties and need the best neck ties for their mind, body, and soul.” Muhammad Yahya is the head co-founder of Jaan J which specializes in designing halal non silk ties.


Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) plays an important role in the Halal consumer space and is a certifier of Halal products. Halal certification gives companies access to Muslim consumers. IFANCA’s Halal Symbol (the Crescent ‘M’) helps Muslims in choosing their goods, assured that what they are buying is Halal without doubt. Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry is a Founding Board Member and President of IFANCA.

ObN Skincare

ObN Skincare’s unique line of personal care products comes “Direct from Nature to You”. Every product reflects a dedication to excellence, a love of nature, and a love of fragrance. “In a world full of chemically altered products, we know “natural” is the way to go,” says Malik Abdul Zahir, CEO. Look out for OBN in the upcoming issue of Ebony and the Oprah show!

Crescent Halal

“We use no artificial ingredients, preservatives, coloring agents or hormones. Bottom line, all our fresh or frozen whole chickens, parts and patties are completely natural, premium Halal certified products, right from the farm to your family” says Ahmad Adam, President and Founder of Crescent Foods based in Chicago.

At AMCC, we keep a pulse on the Muslim Consumer market. These articles which were on major media outlets talk about opportunities and the growing demand in the Muslim Consumer market:

The Art of Investing, According to Islam

Nicholas Kaiser manages $2.5 billion in mutual fund assets that adhere to the law of Sharia, and his $1.7 billion Amana Growth fund has outperformed its peers.

Muslim Market Emerges as a New Global Target

According to Lee Donghun, chief researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute, “Although they have a strong image of being closed and stoic, many Muslim people are actually active in purchasing luxury real estate, cars, and other premium products apart from basic necessities. The Muslim culture, despite being geographically scattered, forms a huge market for their religious homogeneity,” he explained.

The Halal Food Market

6 to 9 Million Muslims in America consume $16.1 Billion in Halal food compared to 16 Million Muslims in India consuming $ 23.6 Billion in Halal Food.

Muslim American Artists Strive to Bridge a Chasm

Islam is not strongly enough associated, in this country, with design: with graphic design, with the arts, with fashion or creative design. And in this sense it differs from the minority Muslim communities in Europe and certainly from the majority Muslim communities. And let me tell you, art and design diffuse fear. They normalize, they soften …. Miles Young, Ogilvy and Mather CEO at 2nd AMCC

Malaysia Seeks to Export Its Halal Credentials to China

Malaysia is recognized for its stringent standards covering the production of halal goods, but when it comes to meat, Malaysia is not a major producer. China, meanwhile, has no shortage of land for livestock, but its halal accreditation procedures lack a well-established reputation, considered crucial in convincing Muslims that their food has been produced according to Islamic principles. Alcohol and pork, for instance, are forbidden.

Fragrances that make a cultural statement

Global brands increase use of localised product development and marketing in the Arab world. Marketers have to deal with a unique set of realities and challenges — purchase and consumption behaviours of consumers in these markets often tend to be interwoven with tradition, religion and culture.

A report on the 2nd American Muslim Consumer Conference by Associated Press was covered by 317 media outlets globally.

US Muslims: a New Consumer Niche

In the ballroom of an upscale hotel a short train ride from New York, advertisers, food industry executives and market researchers mingled — the men in dark suits, the women in headscarves and Western dress. Chocolates made according to Islamic dietary laws were placed at each table. The setting was the American Muslim Consumer Conference, which aimed to promote Muslims as a new market segment for U.S. companies.

All American, All Islamic: The Bright Future for Islamic Branding in America [Video & Transcript]

The following is the transcript of Miles Young’s speech from the 2010 American Muslim Consumer Conference.

Thank you so much for that introduction and thank you to the American Muslim Conference for organizing this informative, provocative and, I believe, hopeful and inspiring day. This is the second edition of this conference and I know I can say on behalf of all the sponsors that it has been an unqualified success. And I am confident that we will see this event grow year after year in size and stature as America and the companies that do business here come to realize the crucial role that the Islamic consumer will play in the future. On a personal note, I am very honored to be given this spot as a non-Muslim and conscious that I am presenting the views of an outsider. I therefore do present them with all humility.

Let’s just, as we close the day, take a moment to take consider the broader context. Because it is the broader context which every journalist asked me about during the lunch hour when I was doing interviews. The United States is in the midst of an uneasy period of relations with the Islamic world. Mistrust and misunderstanding flows back and forth, at the national level, and at the individual level. There is an emergence of some hardcore radicalism on the far edge of the political spectrum in American politics and reminders for some of us historians of the dark days of the post war period. As Sean Willets has recently argued in an article in the New Yorker, fears for security are being translated into fear of Islam as a whole. The United States’ battle against violent organizations seems likely to turn into a proxy war against Islam as a whole.

It could, but actually, I don’t think it will. And I give you that answer rather particularly as a European – for two reasons.

First of all, because what you have in the United States is certainly not what you have in the Netherlands, where a political party has been elected into a powerful position purely on Islamophobia. What you have in the United States are not riots in the streets between police and Islamic people as you do in France. So there is something very different here. There is a kind of psychological problem, and it seems to me to be born out of fear. And fear comes from ignorance and ignorance comes from what you don’t know – from a lack of knowledge. As a newcomer to the United States I’ve been rather astonished actually by the ignorance of Islam and the ignorance of Muslim people. But the good news is that while ignorance exists, ignorance can also be dispelled. And that I feel that is part of the theme of this conference and one of the reasons why it is so important. Secondly, because although we hear a lot of bad news in the media there’s also a powerful desire in the US and I think the Islamic world to tighten the links. Our friends at Gallup have recently pointed out that that both the majority of Americans and citizens of Islamic countries desire better understanding between the West and Islam. And given that fact, contrary to conventional wisdom, Gallup also found that people in the Islamic world admire the west.

So, time and time again, I’ve been asked by journalists today “why now?” and “why is your company involved in this?” “Isn’t it dangerous?” “Isn’t it risky?” And actually I have a very simple answer for that, which is that every multinational corporation I know of has got a diversity policy. Every multinational company I know of publicly states its commitment to inclusion. And how can you believe in diversity and inclusion if you practise rabid exclusion? If you treat in a pejorative way a community that absolutely has the right to be regarded as central to and included in society? So to me it’s absolutely not an option not to be involved. It is not an option.

Of course, it is not just altruism. We heard in the entrepreneurial session some really exciting, ambitious business plans. It has to make business sense. The global halal market is worth $2.1 trillion dollars and it is growing at $500 billion dollars a year. While we don’t know exactly, we can safely assume that American Muslims comprise a very attractive quantum of spending power. And we also heard today that they are the best-educated religious group in American. We know that over 40% have bachelors’ degrees thanks to Gallop. It comes as no surprise therefore that they are strong earners. It makes this community the richest Islamic population probably in the world and quite different in character from other Western minority Muslim communities. Now Islam is already the third largest religion in the States. It is a faith on the rise. As Meghrani reminded us, we don’t really know exactly how many there are. But let’s assume its somewhere between 6 to 8 million. I think that someone just mentioned that’s the size of a reasonable European country. Let’s say Portugal. Well, my own holding company has net revenues of $100 million dollars in Portugal. That is not something to sniff at. And intriguingly, the Islamic population, whatever it exactly is, is probably about the same as where the Hispanic population stood around 25 years ago. And you know around 25 years ago you started to have the set-up of Hispanic advertising agencies in the US. They still exist. They have multiplied. Which says to me that this community will go the same route, will follow the same direction, and will become increasingly central to American marketing and advertising.

Let me turn briefly to the bigger world, which I believe we need to understand. Nazia, my colleague, mentioned a landmark survey that Ogilvy Noor has done on Islam and the new Muslim consumer. Just a word on why we did it. We did it for two reasons. One, because we have a strong business in majority Islamic markets around the world. We employ many Muslims. We have relationships not just with global clients, but with local Muslim clients in the countries where we do business. Two, we also believe it was important to get this agenda on the desks of CEOs globally. We heard today about a tipping point. It is a disgrace that there are no clients at the forthcoming World Halal Forum. But one of the things we constantly have to do is to make sure that those CEOs realize that importance of the size of this opportunity. And if they fail to take advantage of it they are in fact neglecting their strong shareholders’ interests.

So to me there are a number of challenges, which we have to overcome. And the first challenge for Islamic branding is for there to be some coherent viewpoint of what Shariah-compliant branding actually is. There is no one-size-fits-all definition. But it is worth reminding ourselves of what the values are and we heard them today. The nouns. These are the nouns we have to sing out: honesty, respect, consideration, kindness, peacefulness, purity, patience, discipline, authenticity, transparency, trustworthiness, humility, modesty, community – above all of sincerity and sincerity of intent. And all those words sound very very familiar to us because they are the words that have come to the fore in the age of transparency, which has been driven by the internet. They are the words which are referred to when marketing gurus talk about the need for authenticity. They are the values that any smart brand would want to espouse. They have to be put in the context of the mainstream and not of the minority. There is a communication problem, because of the confusion of Sharia values with a very narrow association with Sharia law in the West. Islamic branding can help solve that problem by incorporating Sharia values into brands, and the creative properties that go along with brands and the ideas that communicate brands – and by doing so in an engaging way and not in a legalistic or formulaic way. So the starting point for understanding the Islamic consumer must be an understanding of the role that compliance plays in people’s lives as a set of practices that are lived in concert with religion.

The second challenge for us is to understand that the Muslim community is like any other – not homogenous. I believe this is not understood by those who are the detractors and opponents of the Muslim world. And I also believe that if it is understood that it will dramatically increase empathy. So part of the “othering” which stigmatizes this community today is based, I think, on the belief that it is just some kind of homogenous green block. And actually that’s not surprising when so little market research or classic segmentation work has been done into the behavior of this community. Part of the benefit of the sort of the research that we’ve heard today from a number of sources is that we can see the community in a much more intelligent way. And certainly it is possible to divide it into two different macro-groups based on generational factors and on the role of faith. One group are rather more traditionalist, collectivist more with a sense of belonging, more strongly aligned with Sharia values of compassion, quietly proud. But the second group is what we call the Muslim futurists. This is the group that we in the room today should really be thinking about. And as we heard the presentations just a few minutes ago I think that this is the target audience of the majority of those businesses. These are not just another manifestation of Gen Y or millennials: they are steadfast followers, according to our research, of Islam. But they do seek to engage in the West, to engage in society and to be proud of the society in which they live while not compromising their principles. As marketers, this is the group that here in America I surmise we need to be particularly focused on, fascinated by. Can you imagine though any other community in America that has to endure ignorance and sometimes bigotry from high-profile media commentators only to see those people rewarded with multimillion-dollar jobs? It is a challenge.

And the third challenge is to convey normality. I believe this can be partly be done by analogy. For instance there is an analogy in the United States of the kosher market – $12 billion dollars back in 2008, 13% of the American population purchases kosher foods even though Jews only account for 2% of the American population. And that market is growing like a topsy and is becoming quietly mainstream. There is a parallel here with halal. The Jewish population at 6 million is smaller than the Muslim population. But it is interesting to reflect some 6% of purchases of kosher food in America are Muslim. Probably an understatement; it may be higher. So I think there is a role for branding in the States that is very specific. Brands must inform, educate, reassure the Muslim consumer, but I also believe they have to reach out beyond the Muslim consumer and the very act of reaching out beyond the Ummah legitimizes their role as brands without in my view necessarily undermining them.

And my fourth and final point refers to the challenge of soft power. I think the context for all the discussions today is a lack of soft power of Islam in the United States. And therefore the hard power of Islam is diminished. And it is extraordinary, isn’t it, that all the charitableness of Islam is given no credit or not enough credit. The reason is the lack of soft power. At the end of the day it is all about cultural things. If you consider countries, for instance, Japan, during its economic rise, it also suffered from a lack of soft power and spent a lot of effort to trying remedy that. You had a phenomenon, which was called “Japanese National Cool”, which meant conveying Japan as a cultural entity, as a center of design of advanced of cultural assets, or even of cartoons. Pokémon was an ambassador for the cultural “cool” of Japan. China is going through the same issue at the moment. It is trying also to turn itself into a design, arts and creative center. I am on the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council in Turkey. The main concern of Turkey, which is a secular country with an Islamic population, is that it completely lacks the soft power that it should have relative to its hard power.

Now all research and experience shows that creative design is the major component of soft power. I suggest to you today that something that hasn’t really come out of the session is that Islam is not strongly enough associated, in this country, with design: with graphic design, with the arts, with fashion or creative design. And in this sense it differs from the minority Muslim communities in Europe and certainly from the majority Muslim communities. And let me tell you, art and design diffuse fear. They normalize, they soften. And as I reflect on my own industry I feel there is much more that we should be doing to encourage young Islamic designers to be proud of their Islamic dimension as well as their role as designers. So Islamic branding has to make no concession what so ever in terms of design sophistication. We saw today in the entrepreneurial presentations some references to design but the last mile, really walking the talk about design is the most difficult thing.

Today, I think the consensus was that we are at the beginning of a journey. There are some fantastic and encouraging steps and examples and we heard some of those today. I thought that the Best Buy example was really inspiring – what Steven Pilchak talked about. He wanted to do something big. He wanted to do something different. He believed in diversity. He wanted to find a creative way of connecting based on what the consumers around him wanted. I thought that his video deserves a much wider airing than just in this meeting. Adnan, Saffron Road, is an example of Islamic brand that has got creativity baked into it. And we also heard the role of research at arriving at that brand identity. So these are some great examples, but they do sit within something of a soft power vacuum. And if you want an illustration of something that I would regard as good practice in this area, we should look at the sort of branding that is done for organic and free-range products in Europe. It’s really smart. It has very strong design ethic. It is very sophisticated and it transforms the category.

So drawing all these strands together, I think there is an important point on branding to be made here today. It was Farhan [Tahir] who reminded us that he was a product as an actor and he also had a brand. And the difference between a product and a brand is something that actually my company was built on. It was David Ogilvy, who is our founder, who was probably the inventor of contemporary brand image thinking. And he made the distinction: a product is something that is hard, it is all about bits and bytes, it’s got features. You can feel it. It is tangible, it is made on a production line or it is designed in an office, but it is solid and it is defined. A brand is something very different. It is not so rational. A brand is fundamentally an emotional thing. A brand is a relationship between any manufacturer, any seller of services, and the customer. The brand is actually owned by the customer. It is such a mistake to imagine that it is owned by the manufacturer. So Coke is not a fizzy soft drink as a brand. That is what it is as a product. But it is more than that. Coke is selling optimism. Optimism defines the Coke-consumer relationship. Optimism makes it a brand.

Thus, for instance, I feel a bit uncomfortable about so-called halal branding. Because I think there is a dangerous of misunderstanding here. You know halal is a process, halal is an ingredient. At the very most it is an ingredient brand like Intel is to a computer. But it’s not in itself a complete brand. As one of the speakers asked today, and I thought it was possibly the most important question I heard, “what is the halal premium?” That is an important question. Because it asks that what makes one halal brand better than another halal brand? The answer lies of course in the brand, not in the compliance. It lies in the emotional triggers based on the consumer’s needs and attitudes and motivations. So halal products become brands when halal becomes just a subscript. It is a certificate not a brand. And at the point where we have normal competition between rival halal brands then we will have halal branding. Otherwise what we are talking about is frankly nothing more sophisticated than the sort of branding that existed in Eastern Europe in the communist period.

I do think there is a general deficiency of creativity in halal branding. It is seen as something that has been invented, nothing wrong with that, by producers, but actually the subject of this conference is about consumption. Maybe this is a message or a plea to The World Halal Forum. Abdul Hamid, you talked about the importance of finding a language. It is critically important. But it goes beyond that. It also means finding a narrative, which the language has to express. And it goes beyond that. It means defining the emotions, the imagery and the design, which walk hand-in-hand with the language. This is particularly the case, in my view, for local brands. Unless local brands embrace this, then I fear that the multinational brands will just take over and dominate.

But if we get it right, the consumer desire very definitely is there. There is no doubt at all. And I believe that it is perfectly possible for Islamic branding to exist, to be targeted, to be sophisticated, to be effective, to be empathic and to be appropriate. And in so doing, we should realize that the Islamic market has commercial potential to be sure, but it has a more important role perhaps to play in the future. Because those Muslim futurists I talked about, they are America’s children just as much as any other younger demographic.

Which brings me back to that critical role of branding. Branding normalizes. Branding explains. Branding elevates. Branding inspires. Branding is a former of soft power. I think that Islamic branding can help break that vicious change of “othering”, of dehumanizing, of demonizing which somehow is cinching around America’s soul. Islamic branding can de-other, it can re-humanize, it can give respect.

And it should in time begin to show that the flow of ideas in creative capital in the world is not one way, and that Islam is not a target but a resource, one of the well-springs of our collective future. So that we can say from our hearts, “all-American, all-Islamic” in one phrase, with a sense that it does indeed signal a bright future.

Thank you very much.