This year’s Ramadan finished last month, meaning Muslims around the world, like myself, are eating and drinking during daylight hours again. We’re no longer going about our lives trying not to think about food and water. Well, not until Ramadan rolls around again next summer.
By now, we’re aware that there’s a newer demographic in town: young, modern Muslims dubbed Generation M. They’re faith-driven and passionate, unafraid to speak up about the things that matter to them. As a result, Ramadan campaigns should have the opportunity to accurately reflect Gen M’s contemporary lifestyles, experiences and zest for life. With Ramadan being one of the most important months of the year, when giving is at its peak, there feels like a missed opportunity. It begs the question: how can brands and businesses engage specifically with a new generation of Muslims? And without missing the mark?
- Be different but meaningful. If you took a glance at Ramadan campaigns over the last 10 years, you might struggle to find any key differences. Though they’re usually faith-driven, there’s room to be bolder to reach an audience that is ‘tech-savvy, self-empowered and youthful.’ As Shelina Janmohamed puts it, ‘Brands have been a little bit over-cautious. Muslims are saying: ‘Hello, we’ve got lots of money to spend, we’re young, we’re cool. Please, can you deal with us in the same way you deal with everyone else?’
- Present diversity. Unsurprisingly, there isn’t one singular image of what a Muslim looks like. Cultures and traditions come into play, as well as ethnic and racial differences, and Gen M are aware of this. #BlackoutEid is the perfect example – the hashtag aimed to showcase Muslims of colour using selfies and outfit pictures. It’s continued to trend on Eid day across Twitter and Instagram for the past couple of years. Ramadan campaigns should be reflective of this too, presenting Muslims of different races, dress codes and across cultures.
- Acknowledge the taboos. Over the last year, more young Muslims are opening up about the struggles they face during Ramadan. From mental health issues like depression and anxiety to eating disorders and feelings of inadequacy in general, nothing is off-limits. At a time when mental health is being discussed more openly than ever, it feels equally important to shed light on this during Ramadan, when Muslims are striving to be the best version of themselves they can be.
Like anything, changes to Ramadan campaigns can’t happen overnight. Though it’s clear that Gen M are here to stay. Whether you’re a brand, business or charity, perhaps there’s a chance for you to add, rather than extract, value here. Can you spark a new and sincere conversation? And if they weren’t before, are Gen M on your radar?