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Islamic marketing: a challenger to the classical marketing canon?

Islamic marketing: a challenger to the classical marketing canon?

Wilson, Jonathan and Grant, John (2013) Islamic marketing: a challenger to the classical marketing canon? Journal of Islamic Marketing, 4 (1). pp. 7-21. ISSN 1759-0833 (doi:

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Purpose – To debate what (if anything) is Islamic marketing? And link developments in this field to the wider marketing paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach – A phenomenological antipositivist review of key case examples, drawing from 40 years of the author’s collective professional experiences; and field notes investigating approximately 1,000 brand marketing media reports, and 32 in-depth interviews – as industry active academic practitioners. Supporting this, literature searches covered the fields of marketing, cultural studies, anthropology, contemporary religion, post-structuralism and natural philosophy.

Findings – Marketing is both a concept and lived experience, manifest in the competitive exchange of commoditised thoughts, feelings, actions and objects - between engaged individuals and collectives. For many reasons, Islamic and Brand agendas/imperatives have risen in the consciousness and practises of Muslims and non-Muslims globally, through social interactions. These have placed Islamic, Brand and Marketing practises in the spotlight, singularly and collectively. On the surface, many have considered whether Islamic marketing is a truism, a phenomenon, a noumenon, an ideology, or even a paradigm? We suggest that it represents a new focal phase ‘torchbearer’, as a conspicuous and necessary challenger strain towards convention, supporting fit for purpose marketing – just as ‘Green’ and ‘Digital’ marketing have previously, and continue to do so.

Research limitations/implications – This is a viewpoint piece, which whilst based upon the experiences of two authors, draws from their varied practitioner-engaged action research, as collaborators and participants. To this end they adopt a standpoint, which argues for marketing being an applied science, rejecting approaches that encourage academic/practitioner divides.

Practical implications – Scholars and practitioners should resist the temptation to study and practice the field with a silo mentality. Marketing is not monolithic, nor is Islamic marketing necessarily a new phenomenon, or discrete sub-set. Muslims have always engaged in marketing practices - offering symbolic and functional value globally.

Originality/value – We present the following key argument: that Islamic Marketing is (while connected to the Islamic faith, heritage and cultural milieu) most usefully described and analysed as a differentiated wave within marketing activities and consumption, spearheaded currently by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. And hence that it can be related to other developments in the marketing field, where marketing moves through evolutionary and revolutionary phases of meaning and practice, while grappling with new challenges and channels, in order to maintain its relevance and efficacy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited. [2] Emerald permit an author to voluntarily post their own version of the article that was submitted to the journal (pre-print) into their own institutional repository with no payment or embargo period. [3] Jonathan Wilson is Editor of the Journal of Islamic Marketing. He has over 15 years of collective academic and practitioner experience in the public and private sector – specialising in marketing communications management, print and online media (advertising, sponsorship, sales, branding, public relations and events). As a practitioner, his work has been in the Internet, technology, video games, engineering, sports and music sectors. Jon’s research looks at Brands, Halal, Sport, Culture, and Leadership. [4] John Grant is the author of Co-opportunity (2010), the award winning Green Marketing Manifesto (2007) and three other books. His first book, The New Marketing Manifesto (1999) was named one of the 10 Best Business Books of 1999 by John was co-founder and head of strategy at creative agency St Luke's (as featured in the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company Magazine) in the mid 1990s. Since then, John has advised clients on brands, marketing, behaviour change, strategy, sustainability and innovation - with a particular focus on the three main global trends of sustainability, digital media and multiculture (convergence, fusion and creative diversity). John's clients have included the BBC, Cafe Direct, Capco, Cisco, the Co-operative Bank, Daylesford, Ecotricity, The Guardian, HSBC, IBM, IKEA, ING, innocent, LEGO, Microsoft, Nandos, Natura, Nokia, O2, Pictet, Philips, Shell, Sony Mobile, Unilever, the Royal Mail and various departments of the UK and Swedish governments. John has extensive international experience working with brands across Europe, North and South America and Asia.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Islamic marketing, branding and advertising, Muslim consumer behaviour, marketing phenomena, marketing education, marketing theory and practice, culture, consumption, globalization
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Marketing, Events & Tourism
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:23

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