Brand Identity Factors: Developing a Successful Islamic Brand

©2013 Academic Paper 103 Pages


The market for Islam-compliant products is getting more and more important, due to the high impact of religious obligation on Muslim consumer behaviour. According to studies, the market for Muslim-compliant brands has increased dramatically, with a global worth of $1.5 trillion a year. However, the market for Islam-compliant brands seems to be underdeveloped in Europe when compared to the rest of the world. Surprisingly, little research is conducted in this highly attractive segment, although Islam is assumed to be the fastest growing religion, with a total of 1.6 billion followers. Furthermore, especially young Muslim consumers constantly demand brands which enable an Islamic lifestyle.
When creating brands, the concept of brand identity is highly important as it provides brand uniqueness and the main idea of what a brand stands for. Furthermore, this concept is a fundament for making target-group-specific decisions in brand management. The central question within this study concerns the fact that within the global environment, Muslims especially in non-Muslim countries do not know whether a brand is compliant with Islamic standards and can thus be consumed.
This study contributes to close the gap in this segment by identifying several brand identity factors which can help to create an Islam-compliant brand identity. A model is created which helps to manage brand identity in order to attract Muslim consumers. Furthermore, it allows balancing each brand identity according to the needs of a target group and, consequently, enables Muslim consumers to identify a brand as Islam-compliant.


Contents Page

List of figures


Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 Importance of the topic
1.2 Aims and Objectives for the study
1.3 Topic Overview
1.4 Hypothesis
1.5 Summary

Chapter 2 Contextual Background
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The influence of Islam on consumer behaviour
2.3 The concept of Halal
2.4 The consumer perspective
2.4.1 The “new” Muslim consumer perspective
2.4.2 The non-Muslim consumer perspective
2.5 Principles in Islamic branding and marketing
2.6 Conclusion

Chapter 3 Literature Review
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Conceptual framework
3.3 Consumer Behaviour
3.3.1 Motivation
3.3.2 Perception
3.3.3 Attitudes
3.4 Brand Identity
3.4.1 Intangible brand identity factors
3.4.2 Tangible brand identity factors
3.5 Marketing communication
3.6 Conclusion

Chapter 4 Methodology
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Research Philosophy and Design
4.3 Research Methods
4.4 Sampling
4.5 Questionnaire design
4.6 Piloting
4.7 Data Analysis
4.8 Reliability and Validity
4.9 Ethical Considerations
4.10 Research Limitations
4.11 Conclusion

Chapter 5 – Findings and Discussion
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Findings in Consumer Behaviour
5.3 Findings on Brand Identity
5.3.1 Brand origin
5.3.2 Brand values
5.3.3 Brand personality
5.3.4 Brand relationship
5.3.5 Brand logo
5.3.6 Brand name
5.3.7 Brand slogan
5.3.8 Testimonial
5.4 Conclusion

Chapter 6 – Conclusion and recommendations
6.1 Conclusion
6.2 Contribution to theory
6.3 Contribution to method
6.4 Contribution to practice


Appendix 1 – PEST analysis Muslim majority countries
Appendix 2 – The Halal concept
Appendix 3 – Values according to Shariah and Islam
Appendix 4 – The value chain according to Halal concept
Appendix 5 – Brand Identity concept
Appendix 6 – Description of Sample

List of figures

Figure 1: Shariah values- derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, influencing consumer behaviour

Figure 2: Characteristics of “new” Muslim consumer segments by Ogilvy Noor and JWT

Figure 3: Aspects of Islamic Marketing with a focus on Marketing Mix

Figure 4: Conceptual framework, connecting all chapters and theories

Figure 5: Distribution of responses on Q

Figure 6: Distribution of responses on Q

Figure 7: Classification of consumers based on survey

Figure 8: Comparison of responses on personal (Q7) and brand values (Q15)

Figure 9: Importance (A+SA) of personal values (Q7)

Figure 10: Importance (A+SA) of brand values (Q15)

Figure 11: Comparison of responses on personal (Q6) and brand characteristics (Q17)

Figure 12: Frequency (A+SA) of personal characteristics (Q6)

Figure 13: Frequency (A+SA) of brand characteristics (Q17)

Figure 14: Frequency (A+SA) of importance of brand relationship (Q19)

Figure 15: Frequency of responses on brand names (Q17)

Figure 16: Frequency of responses – First picture

Figure 17: Frequency of responses – Second picture

Figure 18: Frequency of responses – Third picture

Figure 19: Frequency of responses – Fourth picture

Figure 20: Frequency of responses – Fifth picture

Figure 21: Frequency of responses – Sixth picture

Figure 22: Overview research objectives (RO)

Figure 23: The Core layer of Muslim Brand Identity Model

Figure 24: Key findings on brand values

Figure 25: Key findings on Halal certificate

Figure 26: Key findings on brand logo

Figure 27: Key findings on brand origin

Figure 28: Key findings on brand name

Figure 29: Key findings on brand relationship

Figure 30: Key findings on further factors

Figure 31: Muslim Brand Identity Model



Degree of either positive or negative feelings towards an object or towards an intention of performing a particular behavior (Fishbein, Ajzen, 2000).

Intention to respond positively or negatively to a certain object or a group of objects over a longer period of time (Banytė et al.; 2007).


Distinguishing name and/or symbol intended for identification of specific products, seller or for differentiation to competitors (Aaker, 1991).

Distinguishing name and/or symbol (e.g. logo, trademark, or package design) with the purpose to either identify seller’s goods (or services) or/ and to differentiate those from competitors (Ghodeswar, 2008).

For more definitions see Wood (2000).


Creating distinctive benefits for a product, service, person or landmark beyond price and function (Alserhan, 2010a).

Brand Identity

Unique set of associations with a brand implying a specific promise to customers which includes core and extended factors. (Ghodeswar, 2008)

Controllable elements such as tag line, core essence, positioning, brand name, logo, message, experience (Perry, Wisnom, 2003), values, brand origin and brand personality.

Brand Origin

Place, region or country which is associated or perceived by target consumer that a brand is coming from (Thakor, Kohli, 1996).

Brand Personality

Set of human personality traits (such as young, sincere, competent) which are also applicable to brands (Azoulay, Kapferer, 2003).

Consumer ethnocentrism

Consumer beliefs about foreign-made products which results in likelier purchase of home-made products (Shimp, Sharma, 1987).


Complex concept which includes acquiring and changing of knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals and law, customs or other habits by a member of that society (Lindridge, Dibb, 2002).

Food neophobia

Fear or reluctance to try novel foods (Pliner, Salvy, 2006).


Lawful and permitted action (or product) according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Rezai, 2008).


Unlawful and prohibited food (or product) (the opposite of halal) (Rezai, 2008).


Absolute surrender to Allah (God) (translated from Arabic). Islam is not only a religion but more a lifestyle lived by Muslims who believe (Hanzaee, Ramezani, 2011).

Islamic Branding

Islamic branding can be defined in three different ways (Alserhan, 2010b), namely Islamic brands by

Compliance: Brand follows the Islamic rules and values

Origin: Brand comes from a mainly Muslim country

Customer: Brand is made for Muslim consumers.

Branding that follows shariah values, in order to appeal to Muslim consumers. Can include a range from basic shariah-friendliness to full shariah-compliance in all aspects of a brand’’s identity, brand behaviour and marketing communications (OIBMF, 2010).

J. Walther Thomson (JWT)

One of the first advertising agencies in world.


Graphic representation or image which aims to trigger memory associations of the target brand (Walsh et al., 2010) and which company uses to identify itself (Pittard et al., 2007).


One who submits to will of God in belief and actions (Wilson, 2011), who believes in God, His prophets, His book, the last judgment and who follows the rules of Qur’an and Sunnah.

Oxford Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum (OIBMF)

First Forum about Islamic Branding and Marketing


System of beliefs and practices by which people responds to what they feel is supernatural (Rezai, 2008).


Donation of property, dedicated to God for all time, which allows public use of this good and thus benefits the society (Temporal, 2011).


Annual tax which means to support the needy (Rarick et al., 2011).

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Importance of the topic

The concept of brand identity is highly important (Kapferer, 2008), as it provides brand uniqueness and the main idea of what a brand stands for (Kästner, 2009).The central question within this study concerns the fact that within the global environment Muslims do not know whether a brand is compliant with Islamic standards and can thus be consumed by them, especially in non-Muslim countries (Rezai, 2008). A strong brand provides many benefits for the company, such as differentiation to competition and creating customer confidence (Omar, Ali, 2010). Thus, strong brands are becoming more important when communicating to the consumer (Goodchild, Callow, 2001) in a highly globalised and competitive market (Zakaria, Abdul-Talib, 2010).

Islam is not only a religion but a comprising lifestyle which provides rules for every situation (Arham, 2010) and thus determines a consumer’s behaviour and brand choice (Zakaria, Abdul-Talib, 2010). Research has shown that religious values and beliefs have a high impact on the way consumers behave, purchase (Ellison, Cole, 1982; Jamal, 2003; Ahmed, 2008) and make decisions (Zakaria, Abdul-Talib, 2010). Therefore, it is important to address this perspective in brand identity. Moreover, it can be argued that religion is the main aspect of branding products in the Muslim market, because of consumers’ high risk aversion and involvement (Wilson, Liu, 2010).

Studies have shown that companies do not take the Islamic market orientation into account when entering Muslim markets (Zakaria, Abdul-Talib, 2010). This is more surprising when considering the high attractiveness of the market: Islam is the fastest growing religion (Rarick et al., 2011), with a total of 1.6 billion followers (PEW, 2011). Countries with a Muslim majority, such as Morocco or Pakistan, are some of the youngest (see Appendix 1 for PEST), with more than 750 million people under the age of 25 (OIBMF, 2010) who experience higher incomes and empowerment in choice decisions (Temporal, 2011). Furthermore, the awareness of Muslim brands, and brands which enable an Islamic lifestyle, has risen (Rezai, 2008; Mohd Dali et al., 2008). According to Alserhan (2010b), the market for Muslim-compliant brands has increased dramatically, with a global worth of $1.5 trillion a year. However, the market for Islam-compliant brands seems to be underdeveloped in Europe compared to the rest of the world. With the highest Muslim population, the Halal (see glossary) food market in France is only worth €3 Billion (Ali, Wanwang, 2002). Due to the expected increase in the Muslim population by 2030 (PEW, 2011), the production of Muslim-compliant products has to increase (Rezai, 2008) as the market is not served enough (Nadeem, 2010).These facts show the necessity to explore this area as it contains high profit opportunities (Al-Harran, Low, 2008), not only for Islamic but also for Western brands (Hanzaee, Chitsaz, 2011), especially when taking Islamic values and lifestyle into account when entering the market (Omar et al., 2008).

1.2 Aims and Objectives for the study

The overall central aim of this study is to investigate a set of brand identity factors which are crucial for a consumer in order to identify a brand as Islam compliant. This study will carry out research, with a large sample of Muslim and non-Muslim consumers, to find out how Muslim brand identity factors might influence perception of a brand.

This overall aim is divided into the following research objectives:

1) Identify set of relevant brand identity factors
2) Investigate influence of these factors on perception
3) Analyse difference between Muslim and non-Muslim consumers
4) Based on analysis, design a brand identity model
5) Make recommendations for designing brand identity of an Islam-compliant brand

The objectives for the study are:

1) To outline in Chapter 2 a background concerning Islamic values and the Halal concept
2) To write a critical literature review concerning motivation, perception and attitudes to various brand identity factors in Chapter 3
3) To justify in Chapter 4 the methodological approach taken within the study
4) To present and discuss the findings from the data collection in Chapter 5
5) To discuss the key findings and contributions of the study and form recommendations in Chapter 6

1.3 Topic Overview

The image of Islamic companies as non-branders (Alserhan, 2010a) is not surprising considering that Islamic companies are not doing well (Temporal, 2011). Furthermore, Hanzaee and Chitsaz (2011) point out that Muslims actively seek Islamic brands as non-Muslim brands are often not compliant with Islamic values and do not support consumers in their lifestyle.

Chapter 2

The second chapter first discusses what Islamic values are and how they influence consumption. Secondly, Muslim consumer characteristics need to be discussed. In order to reach the research aim of investigating factors which are relevant to identify a brand as Islamic, the effect on non-Muslim consumers needs to be evaluated too. Thirdly, this chapter also provides insights into the principles of Islamic branding and marketing as they are important in order to operate target-group orientated (Rice, 1999) and develop a brand identity.

Chapter 3

The third chapter provides a literature-based discussion on several intangible and tangible factors, which were extracted from the leading brand identity concepts. The most discussed intangible factors are brand origin and brand values. Muslim brands must not necessarily originate in a Muslim country in order to be compliant for Muslim consumers (which can be seen in the Noor Brand Index) (Ogilvy.com, 2012). Furthermore, brand values are an important factor to consider as brands provide different meanings to different consumers (Alserhan, 2010a), and values influence how a brand behaves (Zakaria, Abdul-Talib, 2010). The discussion on tangible factors provides perspectives on brand visual (including logo, testimonial, symbolism, colour) and brand name (including semiotics, slogan, typography).

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 provides a detailed explanation of the methodology. In order to investigate brand identity factors which influence the perception of both Muslim and non-Muslim consumers, a mixed methods approach is taken. Expert interviews will provide in-depth research on possible influencing brand identity factors. According to Cooper and Schindler (2006), quantitative methods are used in particular to measure attitude and perception. A survey seems to be appropriate in order to get a variety of answers and thus a more objective and more general perspective regarding factor choice.

Chapter 5

This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the data using descriptive statistics and discussion on the results.

Chapter 6

The sixth chapter provides contributions to the theory and recommendations to marketers, advertising agencies and consultancies; they might benefit through understanding the tool of how to change or develop brand identity in order to increase profits.

1.4 Hypothesis

Based on Chapters 2 and 3, the following hypothesis (H) can be derived:

H1: Muslim consumer behaviour is influenced by religious obligation

H2a: Brand ownership is important to Muslim consumers

H2b: Brand values need to reflect personal values

H2c: Brand personality needs to reflect personal characteristics

H2d: Brand relationship is important to Muslim consumers

H3a: Brand logo needs to include Halal certificate

H3b: Religious terminology positively influences the choice

H3c: Brand testimonials positively influence the choice

1.5 Summary

After showing the importance of the topic and the overview of the study, the next chapter will discuss the contextual background, including insights on Islam and the Halal concept, the nature of Muslim and non-Muslim consumers, and basics on Islamic branding and marketing.

Chapter 2 Contextual Background

2.1 Introduction

This chapter will focus on important background information about Islamic values, the Halal concept and Muslim consumers and will provide a discussion on the potential effect of Islamic brands on non-Muslim consumers. The chapter will end with insights and principles regarding Islamic marketing.

2.2 The influence of Islam on consumer behaviour

The monotheistic religion Islam (Baligh, 1998) is based on five pillars, which build the fundament of this belief and which every Muslim needs to follow regardless of his origin (Rarick et al., 2011). The most important pillar is the belief in the oneness of God and that Mohammad is his last prophet (Haneef, 1997). This has many implications to the way Muslims behave, as they are required to follow what God said and to follow the practice of the Prophet. All pillars provide a direction and portray some of the most important values, and thus influence the lifestyle of each Muslim. For instance, the third pillar Zakat (i.e. fee on unused possession), which aims to help the needy, implies the values of humanism and the wellbeing of society but also encourages investments (or consumption).

The Islamic system of life is called Shariah (Rehman, Shabbir, 2010) and has two sources, namely the Qur’an (the written word of God) and the Sunnah (the practice and approvals of the prophet) (Beekun, Badawi, 2005). From these two sources the Shariah derives all duties, morals and behaviour covering all aspects of life, and determines what Halal is (Luqmani et al., 1987) (Appendix 2 for explanation of the Halal concept). Moreover, Olayan and Karande (2000) point out that Shariah is the source of all Muslim values. As can be seen in Figure 1, many values, such as honesty, truthfulness or friendliness, can be extracted from Shariah (Appendix 3 for more values).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Shariah values- derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, influencing consumer behaviour

Temporal (2011) points out that consumption in Islam is governed by consciousness of God. Material possessions are necessary (ibid.), but should not lead to extravagance (Bendjilali, 1993). However, all things are believed to come from God (Hanzaee, Ramezani, 2011) and thus should be saved, invested and consumed rationally and with regards to environmental resources and the wellbeing of others. Furthermore, Bendjilali (1993) points out that possessions are consumed in order to maximise the reward in the hereafter. Thus, consumer behaviour is influenced by a balanced satisfaction of both (Rice, Al-Mossawi, 2002) the resource-based view of consumerism (Temporal, 2011) and the spiritual and moral development.

The influence of religious values on consumer behaviour is a notion supported by many studies (Hirschmann, 1981; Delener, 1994; Arnould et al., 2004; Mokhlis, 2006), especially considering food (Musaiger, 1993; Abdul et al., 2008) as many religions have specific dietary laws. It can be argued that religion defines rules which are reflected in certain values. These determine societies’ thinking and thus influence individuals’ attitudes, perceptions and behaviour (Fam et al., 2004). On the other hand, some studies found that consumer behaviour is not affected by religious beliefs (Rosly, Baker, 2003; De Run et al., 2010). This can be explained through the degree of religiosity (Bonne et al., 2007). De Run et al. (2010) argue that consumer behaviour is not influenced as the belief system does not affect the consumer’s attitude. Rarrick et al. (2011) explain this effect through the difference in practicing a religion; this is also supported by Regenstein et al. (2003b), who argue that the effect on consumer behaviour can also be explained through interpretation and individual circumstances.

However, it can be concluded that Islam affects every part of Muslim life and thus consumption, and revolves around the concept of Halal, as it determines what is allowed and what is prohibited (Mohd Dali et al., 2008).

2.3 The concept of Halal

The Arabic word ‘Halal’ means permissible (Hanzaee, Chitsaz, 2011) and mostly refers to food, especially meat, which is allowed by Islamic law (Omar et al., 2008). Oppositely, ‘Haram’ means prohibited (Riaz, Chaudry, 2004). In general, all food can be seen as Halal except that which is explicitly declared as Haram (Mohd Dali et al., 2008). In order to be accepted as Halal the animal must be from an acceptable species, it must be treated well, it must be slaughtered in a specific way and after slaughtering, the meat must not come into contact with Haram meat (Bruil, 2010). Appendix 2 shows all requirements according to the Halal concept. On one hand, Halal implies values such as cleanliness, safety, healthiness, reliability and quality (Rezai, 2008), which increase consumer trust in a brand and confidence in consumption. Therefore, it can be assumed that this concept is attractive for non-Muslims too (Temporal, 2011). On the other hand, Halal has implications for companies too. This concept requires the strict adherence to rules during all processes (Field et al., 2009) and not only in branding (Wilson, 2010). As can be seen in Appendix 4, the Halal concept can be applied during all activities in the value chain. Therefore, it can be said that Halal is about processes and standards (Rezai, 2008) and has thus become a symbol for quality assurance (Ali, Wanwang, 2002).

Hanzaee and Ramezani (2011) compare Halal with organic food, whereas Wilson (2010) differentiates it from concepts like organic food or Fair Trade and compares it more to specialist labels such as “suitable for diabetics” or “suitable for vegetarians”. It can be assumed that his comparison is more appropriate, as Halal food is not only about the origin, but is also processed in a more specific way. Many non-Muslim companies, such as Tesco and ASDA (Fischer, 2010), Carrefour, Casino, Auchan (Ali, Wanwang, 2002) Unilever and Nestlé (Rarick et al., 2011), are introducing new brands which are compliant with the Halal concept. Indeed, Nestlé is the leading brand, with estimated sales of €3 billion annually (ibid.). These companies have recognised the huge market and see especially Malaysia (Rezai, 2008) and Brunei (Temporal, 2011) as the main hubs.

However, the concept of Halal refers to more than just food. According to Hanzaee and Chitsaz (2011), the Halal industry includes lifestyle products (such as cosmetics) and services (such as finance). The fashion industry, for instance, becomes Halal through using Halal materials (Miremadi, et al., 2011); the cosmetic industry does so by avoiding the usage of Haram ingredients such as alcohol . Thus, the Halal concept can be expanded to more than just food, as Halal means a safe, clean and healthy production which encompasses everything permitted (Omar et al., 2008). However, the Halal image should not be overused where it does not make any sense (Wilson, 2010) (e.g. Halal pencil), as this can lead to consumer confusion and reactance. This is especially a problem as Halal rulings are interpreted and lived differently across many countries, which might bring problems when entering a market (Rarick et al., 2011). Therefore, it is important to clearly state whether a brand is Halal as, for Muslim consumers, it is difficult nowadays to determine whether a product is compliant with Islamic standards due to additives and different ingredients (Omar et al., 2008).

2.4 The consumer perspective

2.4.1 The “new” Muslim consumer perspective

The necessity to know the consumer who is served (Böhler, Scigliano, 2005) leads to various segmentations of Muslim consumers. For this research, the most interesting segment is the New Age Muslim (JWT), which can be compared to the Futurist (Ogilvy Noor). Figure 2 shows the characteristics of both.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Characteristics of “new” Muslim consumer segments by Ogilvy Noor and JWT.

Both segments describe themselves as Muslims who are loyal to the core values and follow the Islamic requirements strictly. However, they also follow Western values and consume Western brands (ibid.). Thus, this segment balances both perspectives without seeing a conflict between them (Vohra et al., 2009). The balance between both lifestyles is also dependent on the religiosity of a consumer. Depending on the degree, the influence on attitude and thus on the behaviour is different (Alam et al., 2011; Rehman, Shabbir, 2010; Hanzaee , Ramezani, 2011; Fam et al., 2004; Michell, Al-Mossawi, 1995). However, Gentry et al. (1995) argue that more collectivist cultures (such as most Islamic cultures) can handle a discrepancy between attitude and behaviour better than more individualistic cultures.

According to Hanzaee and Ramezani (2011), 70% of all Muslims strictly follow Halal standards and thus might choose a brand only because it is Halal (Awan, Bukhari, 2011). However, it can be argued that this is not enough anymore, although the “new” consumer has a strong Muslim identity (Hussain et al., 2011). As can be seen in Figure 2, they are better educated (ibid.), globally orientated, connected through the internet (Ali, Wisniesk, 2010) and more critical (Temporal, 2011). Consumers can choose between a wide variety of brands and thus they decide on a brand which fits their identity (Pink, 2009) and supports their lifestyle. Beurger King Muslim (“Beur” means Arab) is a good example of a brand which targets this segment successfully, as they offer hamburgers (Western lifestyle food) which are Halal (Islamic lifestyle values) (Abdul et al., 2008). Therefore, Upshaw (1995) recommends focusing on the identity of consumers when creating brand identity.

2.4.2 The non-Muslim consumer perspective

The Halal concept is not only limited to Muslims, but could also benefit non-Muslims through strict quality standards (Ali, Wanwang, 2002). Many people fear the unknown (Johns et al., 2011); this might have a negative impact on the purchase. This consumer ethnocentrism (glossary) (Shimp, Scharma, 1987), or food neophobia (glossary) (Pliner, Salvy, 2006), can be viewed, for instance, within German food retailers who fear providing Halal food to the large Muslim population because of the unknown effect on non-Muslims (Rarick et al., 2011; TNS Emnid, 2010). Thus, it has to be analysed whether the stereotypes held by many non-Muslims consumers (Abdullah, 2008) negatively influence the perception of a brand. This perception could be a threat to Muslim brands. However, studies have shown that both Muslims and non-Muslims purchase the same Islamic products: for example, in banking (i.e. products without interest rate) in countries where Muslims are a minority (Knight, 2006) as well as a majority (Haron et al., 1994). This shows that Islamic brands are not only attractive to Muslims but also to non-Muslims.

However, many perceive Halal brands from a religious perspective and not as a quality assurance (Rezai, 2008). According to Alsem and Kostelijk (2008), one goal of branding is to teach consumers. Halal values, such as healthy and safe quality food which takes care of animal rights and environment, are shared by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Therefore, Rezai (2008) points out that it is important to increase awareness of these benefits. However, it is questionable if there is a need to point out the ‘Halalness’ of a brand or if it might be better to use the values behind (Haron et al., 1994) when creating brand identity so that a brand is not just perceived as compliant to Muslim consumers.

2.5 Principles in Islamic branding and marketing

Islamic branding and marketing is a new area of academic research which focuses on how to market Islam-compliant products to Muslim consumers (Alserhan, 2010c).

As can be seen in Figure 3, Islamic marketing consists of 17 aspects which need to be covered in order to be successful (Sula, Kartajaya, 2006). Generally, Islamic marketing is guided by four principles: namely, ethics, humanism, spiritualism and realism (ibid.), which influence the marketing mix throughout. Furthermore, it can be said that Islamic marketing is led by the value-maximisation approach (Hassan et al., 2008). However, as ethical behaviour is crucial (Yusuf, 2010), value maximisation is interpreted not only from a company and profit perspective (Alserhan, 2010b). In Islam, trading is highly recommended, and through it the acquiring of wealth, but only if the society as a whole can benefit (Arham, 2010). Thus, a company has to provide value to the customer (Abdullah, Ahmad, 2010, Damirchi, 2011) throughout the marketing mix. Furthermore, a company should invest a part of its profit in the wellbeing of the society (Hassan et al., 2008) and thus increase value for the society.

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Figure 3: Aspects of Islamic Marketing with a focus on Marketing Mix

In order to market and brand products to Muslim consumers, Temporal (2011) and Alserhan (2010b) require the focus on Islamic values throughout the whole marketing mix. This is even more important when creating brand identity (Srivastava, 2011; Nandan, 2005), as brands need to base themselves on Islamic principles in order to attract Muslim consumers (Alserhan, 2010b). According to Abuznaid (2009), some of these principles are truthfulness, honesty, kindness, justice and fairness.

As can be seen in Figure 3, the marketing mix has many implications from an Islamic perspective for creating brand values and communicating these to the consumer.

2.6 Conclusion

This chapter has focused on values from an Islamic and consumer point of view. Additionally, the values and principles from the Halal concept and the Islamic marketing mix can be used for creating brand identity in order to attract Muslim consumers.

Chapter 3 Literature Review

3.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the conceptual framework will be presented, which is based on an analysis of the three main brand identity concepts (Kapferer, 1992; Aaker, 1996; Meffert et al., 2005). Furthermore, insights into the most important internal factors which influence consumer behaviour will be discussed. The main focus is on the literature review concerning the intangible and tangible factors of brand identity, which were derived based on an analysis of the three main concepts.

3.2 Conceptual framework

When creating brand identity, Boatwright et al. (2009) recommend a process consisting of four steps; this is also supported by Ghodeswar (2008). The first step, analysis, builds a fundament of the process, as the second (synthesis) and third (translation) steps are influenced based on this internal and external analysis. In these steps the brand identity is created (synthesis) and converted in an understandable message (translation) for the target group. The final step (implementation) is then the execution of the specific identity concept. Therefore, this process is the fundament of the conceptual framework.

As explained in Appendix 5, each company determines what their brand identity is (Nandan, 2005). Therefore, it can be said that this is a resource-based view as, based on the origin, values and competences, the company will develop the identity (Balmer, Thompson, 2009). However, in order to be valuable for the consumer, brand identity must reflect their needs, values and beliefs (Kotler, Armstrong, 2010). Thus, it can be said that the brand identity concept is based on both the resources and the market (Alsem, Kostelijk, 2008; Boatwright et al., 2009). Therefore, it was important to point out the consumer values and beliefs in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 will focus on the resource-based view of the conceptual framework.

Derived from the consensus on factors from the three main concepts (Appendix 5), it can be said that brand identity consists of intangible factors (origin, values, personality and relationships) which are communicated through the tangible ones (Kapferer, 1992; Aaker, 1996). Brand values are influenced by brand origin, the fundamental intangible factor (Meffert et al., 2005), as values are formulated based on the roots and country of origin. Brand values, in turn, influence the personality, and this has an effect on the relationships of the brand. Often, intangible factors are abstract and not perceived directly. Therefore, tangible factors are important to communicate intangible factors correctly. The brand logo (Pittard et al., 2007) and the name (Upshaw, 1995) are the most important and influential factors. Additionally, slogans (Dahlén, Rosengren, 2005) and testimonials (Azoulay, Kapferer, 2003) can be used to transfer intangible factors.

The created brand identity needs to be communicated accordingly (Ghodeswar, 2008). Therefore, marketing communication needs to be looked at too. Brand image is the consequence of several external factors influencing consumer perception (Jobber, 2009) and how the brand identity is perceived by the consumer (Boisvert, Burton, 2011). In order to avoid a gap between how a company wants to be perceived (brand identity) (Aaker, Joachimsthaler, 2000) and the actual sum of all perceived impressions (brand image) (Srivastava, 2011), consistency in creating and communicating the brand identity is crucial (Nandan, 2005). This is more important when loyalty is aimed at being increased (ibid.), as this is dependent on the satisfaction of consumer expectations (Hassan et al., 2008). Moreover, Duncan and Ramaprasad (1995) recommend a high level of standardisation throughout the communication to minimise this gap. However, it is questionable as to which parts of the brand identity can be standardised (Szymanski et al., 1993). The logo and values, for example, are often standardised across cultures (e.g. VW’s logo, slogan and values), whereas the language used is adapted.

As can be seen in Figure 4, the conceptual framework connects all these aspects.

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Figure 4: Conceptual framework, connecting all chapters and theories

3.3 Consumer Behaviour

3.1 Motivation

In Muslim consumer behaviour, it can be assumed that motivation is a crucial model, as it forces a consumer to take a particular action (Evans et al., 2006). Motivation is aroused to satisfy a specific need (Statt, 1997) which results in a goal (Solomon, 1999). Considering Halal brands, they can be seen as secondary needs, as these are needs which were learnt through culture and values (Schiffman, Kanuk, 2000). Many theories such as Maslow’s (1943) exist which explain the hierarchy of needs. However, Schiffman and Kanuk (2000) argue that consumers fulfil more than one need at one time. Thus, it can be argued that Halal brands fulfil several needs, such as security, social needs and self-fulfilment, at one time and not in a chronological order. The mean-end theory might be more appropriate in this case. According to Thompson and Chen (1998) and Wagner (2007), attributes are linked to individual ends which are derived from values. A good example of an Islamic-compliant advert is provided by KitKat, through using a testimonial (dressed according to Islamic values) in a working environment, enhancing the “peace of mind” and displaying the Halal logo. This shows that the consumption of this particular confectionery can lead to peace of mind due to conformity with Halal standards.

Considering values, the underlying motivation is crucial in segmentation as it can be said that this has a higher impact on consumer behaviour than culture (Cannon, Yaprak, 2011). Although Muslim countries cannot be treated as one market (Hanzaee, Chitsaz, 2011), it can be argued that the motivation for Halal products is the same (Wilson, 2006) due to common faith, needs and values (Baligh, 1998; OIBMF, 2010). Thus, Temporal (2011) argues that the underlying motivation has to be investigated. Furthermore, it can be argued that both Muslim and non-Muslim consumers can have the same motivation due to similar goals (such as peace of mind or, in the case of non-Muslims, quality assurance).

3.3.2 Perception

The way a consumer “selects, organizes and interprets stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world” (Schiffman, Kanuk, 2000: 122) is highly individual and thus might result in different images of a brand. Therefore, a consumer’s perception needs to be influenced (Alsem, Kostelijk, 2008) in order for them to perceive brand identity correctly. Additionally, Meffert et al. (2005) argue through the stimulus-organism-response model that, depending on the perception (i.e. organism) of stimuli, consumers will respond differently (i.e. purchase or not). According to Wright (2006), perception influences attitude directly. This correlation is highly important as consumers do not always choose brands based on objective criteria but on the perception of a brand (Puth et al., 1999).

However, the way a consumer perceives stimuli is dependent on their experience, knowledge, values and involvement (Kroeber-Riel, 1984). Thus, a Muslim consumer might look for factors which portray Islamic values, whereas a non-Muslim consumer might look for other criteria such as price, design or quality. The brand OnePure, for example, could be perceived as Islamic due to its compliance with Halal (onepurehalalbeauty.com, 2012). However, a non-Muslim could perceive it as a high quality cosmetics brand which does not use chemicals and avoids animal testing.

Furthermore, Temporal (2011) argues that a brand which appeals to more generic values such as honesty and sustainability, which apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims, might be perceived by Muslims from an Islamic perspective, whereas non-Muslims might perceive it as a highly ethical company, for example. This can often be observed within Islamic banks, such as the Dubai Islamic Bank or the Bank Islam in Malaysia. In order to attract both consumer segments, they create a brand identity based on an Islamic fundament which is perceived as ethical and moral by non-Muslims (ibid.). The Virgin brand is also a good example, as the logo is used and recognised universally. In Jeddah (Saudi-Arabia), it is written in Arabic on the Virgin Mall (Wilson, 2011). However, it is not perceived as another brand since the recognition of the brand is strong, so consumers can perceive it as Virgin although they may not be able to read Arabic letters.

3.3.3 Attitudes

Attitudes, which can be defined as the learned predisposition (Omar et al., 2008) or degree which influences feelings towards an object either positively or negatively (Fishbein, Ajzen, 2000), consist of three components. In addition, Banytė et al. (2007) argue that attitude is an affinity to react to stimuli. Thus, it can be argued that brand identity factors (stimuli) influence consumers’ attitudes and therefore have to be created cautiously (Rosley, 2006).

The so-called ABC model (Affect-Behaviour-Cognition) (Solomon, 1999), or tricomponent attitude model, argues that consumer behaviour is influenced through an interaction of cognitive, affective and connotative components (Schiffman, Kanuk, 2000; Melewar, Walker, 2003). The first component describes the knowledge a consumer has acquired of a brand, while the second component constitutes emotions towards a brand (Schiffman, Kanuk, 2000). Especially in branding, emotions are a key component as they lead to differentiation (Ruth, 2001). The last component, connotation, is concerned with the likelihood of behaving in a certain way (Schiffmann, Kanuk, 2000).

According to Statt (1997), attitudes are a good predictor of consumer behaviour. To contrast this point, it can be argued that attitudes are dependent on individual consumer situations (Schiffman, Kanuk, 2000). Thus, a consumer can have many reasons for behaving in a certain way. In addition to this, Gayatri et al. (2005) argue that a Muslim consumer’s attitude is highly influenced by religious values, especially in brand evaluation (Hewstone et al., 2010). Many models portray consumers’ attitudes, such as the attitude-toward-behaviour or the theory-reasoned-action (ibid.). However, the most appropriate model is the multiattribute model, “attitude towards object”. This model describes the attitude through the presence or absence of specific brand attributes or factors (Fishbein, 1963). For a Muslim consumer, this means that if a brand portrays important factors, such as Islamic values, the attitude towards this brand might be positive and thus the consumer might purchase it. This was observed in a sales increase when Taco Bell changed partially to Halal food (Temporal, 2011).

It can be concluded at this point that motivation, perception and attitude are important concepts. Especially for Islam-compliant branding, it can be argued that Muslims are motivated to maintain their religious values when purchasing a brand. Furthermore, they perceive a brand differently as, through the motivation, they are seeking signs which determine that a brand is compliant with their religion. Finally, their attitude towards a brand is formulated through the presence of such signs.

3.4 Brand Identity

3.4.1 Intangible brand identity factors

Brand origin

The country of origin effect and the cultural roots have been examined in a number of studies (Darrat, 2011). On one hand, Liefeld (2004) found that 88.8 % of respondents did not have an interest in finding out where a brand’s origin was. This negative effect is supported, among others, by Samiee (2010). Therefore, Magnusson et al. (2011) conclude that consumers are often unfamiliar with the true origin and so it cannot be an important factor. On the other hand, research has found a significant influence on attitude (Häubl, 1996) and on consumer behaviour (Demirbag et al., 2010; Sharma, 2011) saying that, depending on the perception of the country’s image, this might have an influence. Furthermore, it can be argued that, in the case of Halal products, consumers are interested in the origin of the resources purchased by a company (Thakor, Lavack, 2003). Temporal (2011) points out that, due to the high risk aversion, consumers are well informed and thus it is important to consider the image of the producing country and its strengths and weaknesses in producing a particular product (Ali, Wanwang, 2002). Boycotts of Danish milk-based products (e.g. Arla Foods) (Euronews.net, 2006) and US products (e.g. Coca Cola) (Spiegel.de, 2003) are examples where awareness of religious and political issues of the producing countries have affected behaviour. Therefore, it is highly important to consider the country of origin’s image (Alserhan, 2010b).

Some Muslims believe that, due to the sensibility of Halal production, only Muslims should produce such products (Fischer, 2010). Wilson (2010) adds that mistrust remains, especially when the item is produced by large companies. Therefore, brand ownership (Thakor, Lavack, 2003) needs to be considered. In contrast, the Noor brand index (ogilvy.com, 2012) shows that non-Muslim brands such as Nestlé are leading in Halal production. However, it can be said that staff needs to comply with rules and values (Zakaria, Abdul-Talib, 2010) and should behave accordingly (Hassan et al., 2008).

Many cues such as stereotypes can be used to determine (Ranchhod et al., 2011) and communicate brand origin (Phau, Chao, 2008). Furthermore, tangible cues, such as copy, brand name (Thakor, Kohli, 1996), the “Made in” label (Häubl, 1996) or visuals, can be used to determine brand origin. The brand “Al Awani Dates”, for example, uses a palm and the brand name to show that it is an Arabic brand.

Brand values

In order to be valuable for the consumer, a brand must reflect consumer values (Temporal, 2011). This is supported by Riquelme (2001), who found that consumers ignore brands that do not support their values. Additionally, Alam et al. (2011) found that Islamic values influenced Muslim consumers’ choice of restaurant brands. According to Hollensen (2008), consumers evaluate brands according to the satisfaction of cultural values. On the other hand, Lindridge and Dibb (2002) found that culture is not as valid a concept to attract consumers as is the value system. This can be supported by Haron et al. (1994), who found that consumers from different cultures purchased the same brands because of their values. Therefore, it can be argued that the value system is more important than the particular culture and thus brand values are seen as crucial. This approach is taken by the brand Brunei Halal, which takes globally-accepted values such as quality, safety and sustainability as their brand values (brunei-halal.com, 2012).

Brand values should be derived from core competences, otherwise they could negatively influence identity and thus be perceived as dishonest (Alsem, Kostelijk, 2008). Therefore, it can be argued that brand values present what the brand stands for; they link corporate and consumer values and are thus a core of brand identity (Urde, 2009). Therefore, Alserhan (2010b) and Dusuki (2008) recommend the transferral of both extended and core values in an Islamic context. Brunei Halal, for example, translated the core value “collective responsibility” in their brand by applying the strictest accreditation process for Halal products globally (brunei-halal.com, 2012).

As can be seen in Appendix 3, such Islamic values can be derived from Shariah. The most important value is the belief in one God (Temporal, 2011). Furthermore, values such as innovativeness (Boisvert, Burton, 2011), purity, sustainability (Temporal, 2011), loyalty, truthfulness (Abdullah, Ahmad, 2010), good relationships and morality (Abuznaid, 2009) are some of the core values which should be considered in brand identity. A good example which applies Islamic values is the Al-Rajhi Bank in Malaysia; their brand identity is based on the values of truth, respect and honour. These values are communicated consistently and have resulted in increasing sales (Temporal, 2011).

Aaker (1996) points out that brand identity includes vision (direction of the strategic decisions for the future) and mission (reason for existence). Supported by Urde (2003) and Upshaw (1995), it can be said that both are used to convey brand values and thus make the brand unique (Ingenhoff, Fuhrer, 2010). The telecommunications company Zain applied values such as brotherhood, societal welfare and sustainability through a strong commitment to environmental care in their brand vision (Temporal, 2011). Another example is the Johor Corporation, who supports societal wellbeing by waqf (glossary) (ibid.).

Brand personality

This concept is referred to as the key for differentiation (Maehle, Shneor, 2010), as a personality is individual (Meffert et al., 2005). Aaker (1997) offers the most popular personality scale, consisting of five dimensions – namely sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness – which can be used to portray human-like traits (Wilson, 2011). According to Aaker (1996), brand personality can be created through values and socio-economic and demographic traits. Furthermore, personality can be portrayed through the brand name, product attributes, symbols (Aaker, 1997) or testimonials (Azoulay, Kapferer, 2003).

According to Azoulay and Kapferer (2003), consumers choose brands like their friends and thus behave as though brands have human-like characteristics. This is supported by the theory of animism, which argues that humans imagine items to have human-like characteristics (Gilmore, 1919). Therefore, Alserhan (2010b) points out that Islamic values need to be considered, as consumers prefer brands which support their lifestyle. This is supported by Maehle and Shneor (2010), who argue that a brand personality has to reflect the personality of a typical consumer.

The brand personality of Fulla (dolls for children), for example, can be described as a well-educated young girl who lives after the principles of God and respects her parents and members of the community in which she lives (Temporal, 2011).



Type of Edition
ISBN (Softcover)
File size
6 MB
Publication date
2013 (June)
Islamic branding Halal Branding Brand Identity Markenidentität Islamische Marken


Vedad Alihodzic, M.Sc. with distinction, was born in 1987 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2010 he passed his studies of business administration (focus on marketing) at the University of Bayreuth with distinction. He then completed his Masters Degree in marketing at the Edinburgh Napier University as best of his year. During his studies, the author acquired much practical knowledge in the field of marketing by working in the industry and for a business consultancy. These experiences inspired him to focus his research on brands and brand development.

Title: Brand Identity Factors: Developing a Successful Islamic Brand