Take Ramadan marketing campaigns beyond dates and lanterns – by LEGO’s Dzila Dik

Purpose-driven marketing can help generate brand love and loyalty, writes LEGO’s Dzila Dik

By Dzila Dik, marketing manager, MEA, LEGO Middle East & Africa

It’s that time of the year when graphic designers are asked to add in lanterns, moons, dates and mashrabiyas to existing advertising campaigns and generic brand visuals that have nothing to do with Ramadan. Walking through, the mall you will see these symbols and a ‘Ramadan Kareem’ greeting plastered on almost every window. While the symbols are valid and illustrative representations of the occasion, are they enough to connect with the audience?

Purpose in Ramadan campaigns

Starting with some facts: 82 per cent of shoppers make purchase decisions having purpose in mind, (according to Razorfish research) and they are four times more likely to purchase from a brand that has a strong purpose, says a Zeno group survey. This is why purposeful marketing has generated interest among us marketers. What better time to put it to use than that season when human values are of utmost importance – the month of Ramadan.

Many brands take a shortcut and link the campaign to acts of charity. Don’t get me wrong; supporting noble causes are important and the right thing to do. However, what makes a Ramadan brand campaign meaningful is the concoction of the following two key ingredients:

* A clear and solid role for the brand within the occasion of Ramadan that is linked to the brand’s core values.

* A campaign idea with a genuine intent of doing good.

 The combination of these two elements will generate brand love and loyalty.

Applying the strategy or not

It sounds simple, but why do only a limited number of brands apply this strategy? Well, firstly it is not easy. It takes a lot of inward observation and reflection to define a brand’s ‘why’. Even if that’s in place, finding a relevant link between purpose and the occasion itself can be a challenge. Moreover, coming up with a campaign idea that creatively brings the purpose forward and celebrates Ramadan at the same time can turn out to be complex. Secondly, promotional campaigns are easier to implement and might have more of an immediate ROI, which makes them more appealing and therefore they get prioritised over longer-term brand building initiatives. 

Imagine what would happen if all Ramadan campaigns served a purpose. Imagine the amount of goodness that would be generated by businesses and enjoyed by shoppers. Not to forget, the immense pleasure and moral reward it would give all those employees working on developing such campaigns. Perhaps it would result in winning some awards, but that is only a result, not the goal itself.

‘‘When it comes to shopping decisions,
people will make the choice based on
what is on top of their mind about our brands

What’s in it for the brands?

Coming back to the importance of purpose when it comes to shopping decisions; in front of the shelf (physical or virtual), people will make the ultimate choice based on what is on top of their mind about our brands. If what we represent is what they find meaningful, we earn a space in their carts. 

The LEGO brand and Ramadan

LEGO takes on its shoulders the responsibility of being a force for learning through play. We work with agency partners who understand our purpose and create new ways of translating it to local campaigns befitting occasions such as Ramadan. 

Many people are surprised to see a toy brand running a Ramadan campaign. That is a normal reaction as we are used to seeing food, telecommunication and automotive brands dominating the scene.

But why not toys? Kids start interacting with toys when they are as young as one-and-a-half years old. They spend endless hours playing with them, build worlds and create stories with them. They can also learn to be kind, to respect one another and many other values that perhaps makes it easier for parents to raise decent human beings. During Ramadan, families can come together and spend quality time with each other. That’s where LEGO play finds its role in the occasion.

Whether you work for a global or local company – and regardless of your industry – why not be the marketer that comes up with a purpose-based campaign idea that can perhaps even travel outside the boundaries of our GCC region and be used in other global markets where there’s a sizeable audience that celebrates Ramadan?

Let’s do some good.