When was the last time you noticed any type of promotional message from a brand acknowledging American Muslims? It doesn't happen very often; in fact, Muslim consumers are ignored altogether by most companies in America.
As smart PR pros and savvy business-people, it is part of our responsibility to keep a pulse on consumer trends, such as demographic shifts and addressing unmet consumer needs. America's demographics are indeed changing, as evidenced by the results of the recent US Census, and the companies that will be successful navigating this shift are those who adapt to their changing consumer base and their evolving needs.
The American Muslim consumer market represents approximately 8 million people and billions in disposable spending power, yet very few companies are addressing this group. The playing field to reach Muslims is wide open and therefore presents a unique opportunity to be one of the first to create a relationship with these consumers.
As highlighted in Marketing to the New Majority, a new book published by leading international research firm Millward Brown, Muslims are a part of the multicultural shift happening now and are one of the fastest-growing consumer segments.
As attendees of the recent American Muslim Consumer Conference in October heard, the American Muslim community has money to spend and welcomes brands and retailers to start a dialogue with them. As more companies become aware of the opportunity this market presents, I expect to see more brands including Muslim consumers into their multicultural marketing mix, alongside other growing lifestyles, religions, and ethnicities.
Here are five things you can do now to begin exploring the Muslim market and its implications for your brand:
Get to know Muslims. Understand their values as well as what and why they buy.
Partner with cross-cultural communications experts who can help your brand effectively create and maintain relationships with this new group.
Include the Muslim market in your 2012 multicultural communications plan.
Consider testing the waters by simply acknowledging Muslims as part of your outward efforts.
Be authentic and consistent. Once you open the door to create a relationship with Muslim consumers, make sure you stay the course to maintain that relationship.
Lisa Mabe is founder and principal of Hewar Social Communications. Find her on Twitter at @LisaofArabia.