Harnessing Ramadan’s Huge Marketing Widow

PHOTO: islamicity.com

PHOTO: islamicity.com

NIGERIAN Moslems make up a good percentage of her over 170 million population. This makes the 30-day Ramadan period a huge window for marketers as it offers multitude of opportunities for brands to leverage on. Just like Christmas, Ramadan comes once a year but it lasts for an entire month. While brands have exploited the Christmas and New Year marketing window effectively, the huge opportunity in Ramadan begs for exploitation on a yearly basis.

Over the years in Nigeria, the common marketing communication approach by marketers is wishing their Moslem customers a happy and blessed Ramadan at the start of the month and the same for Eid-al-Fitr, at the end of the period. Few players, mostly FMCGs companies such as Nestle, Cadbury, FrieslandCampina and Unilever have taken some extra steps to key into the season through commercials.

But there are still several opportunities brands can harness in the spiritual month. As marketers are cutting down on marketing budgets and tilting their attention to brand engagement, they can run many multicultural content campaigns such as recipe/cooking contests, Islamic fashion contests, fairs/exhibitions, quiz, Quranic recitation competition and photo exhibitions that are likely to get the attention of huge number of Moslem consumers. In many countries with dominant Moslem population, these approaches are taking over.

Marketers also have the option of launching campaigns that can educate the masses of the Moslem folks as their of concentration and level-headedness are at its peak at this period. Collaborative campaigns with local philanthropists can also help brands enhance their reputation.

Ramadan is also an ideal time for cause marketing or corporate social responsibility (CSR) due to the heightened emphasis on giving back. Cause marketing has become common practice for established brands and startups alike, particularly in today’s collaborative economy.

In this new era of social responsibility, cause marketing is now the norm, and customers who visit a company’s website and see the massive advertising blitz on television would be touched if they realise that they are trying to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause. For instance, providing supports for consumers in Boko Haram troubled region in the country will mean a lot to many true Moslems who can reward the brands with loyalty and goodwill.

Managing Director of Explicit Communication, Mr. Tunde Tani, however called for caution so that the marketer would not be seen as “over-doing things”.

“Organising a very intensive campaign at this period can create some negative or biased impressions in the minds of non-Moslem consumers. Ramadan period is a good time for brands to leverage on in terms of their offerings, delivering value and rewarding their consumers. However, they need to also be sensitive about the idea because Nigeria is a secular society where religion play a key influential role in consumers’ life,” Tani explained.

He added: “Brands are very careful against showing head on support to any religion so that they would not have to start battling with their reputation after the season is over. On the other hand, cause marketing for instance could be introduced in areas that have been having Boko Haram attacks. Corporate Social Responsibility is what brands need to do though it has to do with their organisational policy.

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