Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Religion and marketing in the Asia Pacific region
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Volume 26, Issue 5.
The relationship between marketing and religion has been discussed in the literature since the late 1950s (Culliton, 1959). Since then, extensive studies have been done to examine the influence of marketing on religion (Burger, 1970; Busenitz et al., 1990; Dunlap et al., 1983; Healy and Delozier, 1978; Sweeney and Anderson, 1981; White and Simas, 2008; Wrenn, 1993) as well as religious influences on marketing practice (Fugate, 1982; Klein, 1987; Palmer and Gallagher, 2007; Saches, 1985; Sethi, 1980). The growing interests on the topic of marketing and religion are evident in the number of specific publications dedicated on the topic. Two marketing journals: Journal of Ministry Marketing and Management (now discontinued) and Journal of Islamic Marketing were established as an avenue to discuss the relationship between marketing and religion. In recent years, at least two leading marketing journals (Engelland, 2014; Mottner and Ford, 2010) have published special issue on the topic of marketing and religion.
The Asia-pacific region is characterised by a cultural, political, economic and social heterogeneity far greater than anywhere else in the world (Birch et al., 2001). Religious beliefs play a significant part in shaping consumer behaviour in this region, including the way they live, the product choices they make, and the community to which they belong (Fam and Waller, 2003). However, studies on the topic of religion and marketing within the Asia Pacific region is very limited. Hence, this special issue is dedicated to provide unique insights on the relationship between marketing and religion in the Asia-Pacific region.
For this special issue, a range of potential topics were offered including the influence of religion on: attitude to advertising, marketing ethics, food/agribusiness marketing, tourism marketing, relationship marketing, and small business marketing, as well as more strategic topics such as the use of religious appeal in marketing communication and measurement of consumer religiosity. The editor received many enquiries about the special issue, which resulted in 25 papers being sent to review and among these, five papers were accepted after rigorous double blind review process. Each paper was sent to two reviewers with expertise on the subject to assess its academic and practical contribution. The editor sincerely thank all the reviewers who have provided quality feedback to all authors in a timely fashion.
The authors of the five articles published in this issue have investigated a diverse range of topics on the relationship between marketing and religion. Two articles examine consumer perception of product quality and packaging, two articles investigate the relationship between religiosity and donation, and one article examines the drivers of religious participation among committed and non-committed members. The first article, “Do halal certification country of origin and brand name familiarity matter?” by Rios, Riquelme, and Abdelaziz presents a compelling observation of how consumers perceive the trustworthiness of halal certifications from various Muslim and non-Muslim countries. The research reveals that not all halal country certifications are equally perceived to be trustworthy, and thus international marketers should seek alliance with halal-certifying organisations in the country which they seek to penetrate.
Almossawi, on the other hand, demonstrate through his research in: “Impact of religion on the effectiveness of the promotional aspect of product packages in Muslim countries”, that religion significantly influences the amount of attention that consumers give to product packaging, their attitude towards the packaging, and their purchase decision and their long-term relationship with the company. This research lends further support to the body of literature on the importance of cultural understanding in product packaging strategy, particularly in countries where religion plays an important role in shaping consumer behaviour.
While research on the relationship between religiosity and donation has been extensively researched in Western countries, there is a gap of research on the topic within the Asia Pacific region, particularly in Islamic context. The third article, entitled: “Antecedents of customers’ intention to support Islamic social enterprises in Indonesia: The role of socioeconomic status, religiosity, and organisational credibility” by Hati and Idris, contributes to this gap of literature by highlighting the importance of communicating organisation credibility in advertising appeal in order to encourage donation for Islamic social enterprises. This study found no significant relationship between religiosity and donation intention, which is in contrast with the findings of previous studies in the Western context (Reitsma et al., 2006).
The next paper by Teah, Lwin and Cheah entitled: “Moderating Role of Religious Beliefs on Attitudes towards Charities and Motivation to Donate”, found that religious beliefs moderate the relationship between attitudes towards charities and motivation to donate. The study was done in Downtown Malaysia with no dominant religious affiliation among the respondents. The contrasting results between this study and Indonesia-based study mentioned earlier lend further support to the notion that the effect of religiosity on donation may not be generalisable across different cultural contexts.
The final paper by Casidy and Tsarenko entitled “Perceived benefits and church participation: a comparative study among regular and irregular church goers” examines the effects of spiritual, social, and purpose-in-life benefits in encouraging church participation. The findings reveal that perceived spiritual and social benefits have a positive and significant relationship with church participation for both regular and irregular church goers. The authors recommend leaders of religious organisations to use both “spiritual” and “social” appeals in the church marketing communication strategy to attract prospective attendees and enhance the participation of current members.
Overall, the papers in this special issue have examined the issue of marketing and religion from various perspectives. The published papers have made original contribution to the body of literature and proposed practical implications for marketing practitioners. It is expected that this special issue will be a catalyst to draw more attention to this important topic. The guest editor would like to thank all authors who have submitted manuscripts to this special issue and commend the reviewers for their invaluable contribution. In addition, the guest editor is grateful to Professor Ian Phau for the opportunity to edit this special issue of Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics.
Riza Casidy - Deakin University, Australia
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