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MNCs and religious influences in global markets: Drivers of consumer-based halal brand equity

Muhammad Mohsin Butt (Curtin Business School, Curtin University, Miri, Malaysia)
Susan Rose (Department of Marketing and Reputation, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Stephen Wilkins (Faculty of Business and Law, The British University in Dubai, Dubai, UAE)
Junaid Ul Haq (Riphah International University, Islamabad, Pakistan)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 13 November 2017




Multinational corporations (MNCs) that want to compete in markets worldwide should not underestimate the influences of religion on consumer demand. Almost one quarter of the world’s population is Muslim so it is important for MNCs to get into the Muslim mind set when operating in countries where Islam has a large influence. The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent to which consumer-based brand equity in a religious market results from the psychological and behavioural characteristics of consumers rather than from product characteristics.


A quantitative survey method was adopted, using a total sample of 551 Muslim consumers in Malaysia and Pakistan. A holistic model conceptualising three potential psychological and behavioural predictors of consumer-based halal brand equity (CBHBE) was created and then tested using structural equation modelling.


The strength of an individual’s religious identity was found to be a strong predictor of consumer halal choice behaviour and perceived self-expressive religious benefits. Consumers’ halal choice behaviour and perceived self-expressive benefits directly predict CBHBE. Moreover, consumer halal choice behaviour partially mediates the relationship between self-expressive benefits and CBHBE.

Practical implications

The authors conclude that firms targeting Muslim consumers can maximise CBHBE by focussing their marketing strategies on the three psychological and behavioural constructs identified in the model. For example, by using halal certification logos and providing convincing information about the halalness of their brand, businesses can facilitate Muslim consumers’ search processes in relation to their choice behaviour.


The study contributes to the existing international branding literature in two main ways. First, it introduces and defines the concept of CBHBE. Second, it identifies and empirically validates the important psychological and behavioural predictors of CBHBE.



Butt, M.M., Rose, S., Wilkins, S. and Ul Haq, J. (2017), "MNCs and religious influences in global markets: Drivers of consumer-based halal brand equity", International Marketing Review, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 885-908.



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