The purpose of this paper is to address the challenges which the concept of halal presents – when attempting to understand how halal‐conscious consumers behave and what it takes to maintain an emotive, credible and authentic brand proposition.
Interpretive phenomenological analysis and syllogisms, as a basis for conceptual metaphor theory and critical discourse analysis, were employed. Evidence supported by discussions and participant observation method, whilst attending Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum, 26‐27 July 2010, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford – in addition to the empirical data presented by keynote speakers.
The author asserts that halal‐conscious consumers are risk averse, which drives discerning and high‐involvement behavioural traits. Furthermore, in the face of this, brand managers are still unclear how far they can push more emotionally led brand messages. Finally, the paper presents a halal decision‐making paradigm – as a basis for constructing salient and engaging brands. The halal paradigm is a nub where the perceived importance of halal is brought into the Muslim consciousness. This is a dynamic and cyclical process, whose final verdict is finite and perishable – due to hyper‐sensitivity and environmental factors influencing Muslim perceptions of what is halal.
The models presented synthesise conceptual thinking with primary and secondary data. Further, tests related to specific brands are suggested.
Whilst the author concurs with the general Islamic principle of halal being the norm and haram as the exception, within the halal paradigm of consumption attached to consumerism, an argument is put forward asserting that this is increasingly being reversed. Furthermore, it is proposed that brand theory could view brands as Muslims.
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