Letter from Karachi: Reflections on an age of faith

Julian Saunders
The Joined Up Company

When it comes to engagement, brands could learn a lot from the principal tenets of Islam.

I have made three happy visits to Karachi, enjoyed warm hospitality, made good friends and most recently have been a judge of the Pakistan Advertising Society (PAS) awards. This has led me to believe that you need to step outside of highly secularised western Europe to understand better the values of societies in which so many brands operate.

My first reflection is that industrialisation, the growth of mega cities and globalisation are not ushering in a more secular world, but one in which people have a deep need for the succour of identity and belonging. There is a parallel in our own past. The first great wave of urbanisation in the 19th century (and its attendant feeling of social dislocation) triggered an upsurge in enthusiastic religion as immigrants from the countryside sought new communities, bonds and identities to replace those of village and town.