The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of religion on the effectiveness of product packages in attracting customers’ attention, and forming their attitudes, preferences, and buying decisions. In other words, the study aims at finding out how do Muslims respond to product packages including elements believed to disagree with the Islamic values, in this study referred to as “contentious packages.”
To test the five hypotheses, the study recruited 300 young Muslims in Bahrain, chosen from the population of 14,000 students of the University of Bahrain aged between 20 and 25, 26 percent male and 74 percent female. The primary data were collected through personal interviews with the selected sample, using a specially designed questionnaire. The questionnaire included ten questions covering two personal questions for age and gender and eight other questions attempting to find out Muslims’ responses to contentious packages in terms of attention, attitudes, buying intention, company image, and word-of-mouth.
Findings indicate that use of contentious packaging runs a high risk of tarnishing a company’s reputation and appeal. Muslims who live by Shari’a and the dictates of the Kuran will consider such companies to be promoters of fornication, and will therefore boycott such companies in order to prevent them from corrupting the purity and piety of the community. If advertising firms continue to fail in recognizing the profundity of these beliefs within Muslim communities, both their fiscal success and reputation run the risk of suffering substantial damage.
The findings of this study send six important messages to multinational companies doing business in Islamic countries. First, Islam governs all aspects of Muslim life, including consumer behavior. Second, to prosper in Islamic countries, choose packaging that does not contradict or offend the principles and values of Islam. Third, recognize that much packaging that has proven to be effective in Western countries will not be successful in Islamic countries due to vastly different cultural environments. Fourth, a contentious package may result in a steep drop in the sales. Fifth, using contentious packages may damage the reputation. Sixth, you can attract more Muslims by using non-contentious packages.
This paper is of great value to companies who wish to expand their practice in Muslim countries. Its findings promise to improve advertising standards and to increase both company profits and customer satisfaction.
M. Almossawi, M. (2014), "Impact of religion on the effectiveness of the promotional aspect of product packages in Muslim countries", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 687-706. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-11-2013-0137
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