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Marketing Focus – Halal Case Study

September 14, 2011

Whether you own a brand, dream of owning a brand or just love to know how brands tick, there is no doubt in our minds that brand communication matters and so, with that in mind we have decided to take a look at one new area of the market that has bags of potential.  Going Halal!

While the Halal cosmetics market has been slowly marching onwards and upwards after blasting into the market  around five years ago,  Halal  is still a  relatively new and little understood term outside of the core market.  Halal fits under the broader category of ‘ethical’ cosmetics which also encompasses vegan, fair-trade and charity orientated products and as that is seen as a niche player. However, with a bit of careful communication  and brand-allignment Halal can be scaled-up into something more closely resembling the structure and reach of the organics market.  What to know how?  Let’s take a look…..

When Organically certified cosmetics first came onto the market they struggled to break beyond the nice health-store clientele because early organic ranges often didn’t work as well, feel as good or last as long as their traditional cousins.  But the most important barrier to mass take-up was the price point.  Organic cosmetics were all of the above AND double the price which left many scratching their heads in wonder at why they would ever need these products in the first place.

Of course the organics market today is booming and it is not unusual nowadays to see an organic product in the bathrooms of high flying city slickers, middle-income families and the elderly.

So what went right?

Just being organic was clearly not enough; these products had to work, had to be affordable (or be able to justify their price point) and had to be in the right place at the right time.   The Halal market is no different.

If you thought that Halal cosmetics were only ever going to be a Muslim purchase then think again.  If the clean, green, pure and wholesome values of the organics market can end up in the bathroom of the average burger-munching, gas-guzzling car owner Joe then there is no reason why the cleaner, purer and cruelty-free virtues of Halal cosmetics can’t end up gracing the bathrooms of mums, dads and grandparents all over the world.

There is no secret you just have to spill the beans about Halal goodness like you mean it! So, here are our top tips for Halal brand success:

  • Halal values mean that these cosmetics are very closely aligned to animal-free/ cruelty-free values and as this has a much wider reach and acceptance it should be communicated more strongly.
  • The historical significance behind Halal is appealing to those looking to ‘go back to basics’ and re-connect with traditional medicines. Muslim scholars also played a significant role in developing  Alchemy (the elixir of life) and Ayurvedic medicine which are far-reaching in their acceptance and desirability.
  • The spiritual significance of the term also lends its self to real beauty, purity and respect for the natural changes in our external beauty over time.  There is room for Halal to own and develop this way of looking at and marketing its offerings.
  • Again the purity of thought and reason behind Halal paired with the Islam tradition for scientific excellence makes the Halal market perfect for positioning in the ‘pure-chemistry driven by nature’ category.  This opens up the market to be able to offer cost-effective, elegant and high-performing products while avoiding what the general public might think of as ‘dirty chemistry’.

Niche markets can be very profitable and can be a deeply rewarding area to work in as they offer room to explore ‘true solutions’ in terms of ethics and vision. However, this being business there will come a time when your baby may want  to grow up and venture further afield.

So what makes a niche market succeed?  While a solid set of values that are understood deeply and emotionally  by your core target Audience it is the ability of a brand to market beyond the certification (out of feature and into benefit) that things get really interesting.

One thing is for sure, in this fickle, fashion driven market, being Halal is just not enough.

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