Ramadan, which begins in ten days, is traditionally accompanied by much social mingling from tarawih prayers to food bazaars, but this year will be very different thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and brands will need to take a very different approach to messaging and actions if they want to connect with the Muslim community.
“Under these circumstances, the core of Ramadan will be missing,” says Nazirah Ashari, Strategy Director, TBWA\Kuala Lumpur. “To many, a time of collective spiritual observation, celebration and love could instead be a very lonely one.”
Writing for WARC, she explores the role brands can play in a lockdown during an occasion when being around family is so important. (For more details, read her article in full: How can brands observe Ramadan and celebrate Eid with the Muslim community during a pandemic.)
Ramadan has always been seen as a marketing opportunity for every brand in markets with sizeable Muslim populations, Ashari notes: it’s a time when there are behaviour shifts, along with sleep and work schedules, allowing for more self-improvement, worship and community.
Now, thanks to the COVID-19 situation, she observes that Ramadan has an additional element that makes up its essence: solitude.
“For brands, this period of uncertainty calls for one thing and one thing only: less talk and more action,” she says.
“This aligns with the essence of Ramadan that focuses on actions (fasting, praying, giving, etc.).”
Brands need to take extra care of employees observing Ramadan, while also finding ways to support government and community efforts in the battle against the pandemic.
And with no mosque to turn to for prayers and other form of community gatherings, home will now become the place for spiritual solitude; brands may be able to find ways to help Muslims make their home more comfortable for spiritual activities and, when Eid comes, a place of modest celebration, she suggests.
This is a difficult time for everyone, but brands can use it to revisit their brand purpose and through their actions help create a meaningful Ramadan.
“Be sincere in your approach and, before you know it, your brand will become one with the community,” says Ashari.
Sourced from WARC