My Presentation at Making Cosmetics
Putting the daunting task of speaking to a room of experienced beauty industry professionals and the possibility of completely fluffing it up to one side, when I was invited to speak at the Making Cosmetics Conference about how beauty brands can communicate with their Muslim customers I felt honoured and was immediately on board. With three of the emerging and newly coined MINT (step aside BRIC!) nations each housing significant Muslim populations, a promising Halal industry encompassing food to cosmetics, globalisation, increased tourism and the Internet opening doors to communication, shopping and even social change, I felt that there’d be no better moment to speak than now. With my presentation I aimed to initially dispel the usual myths about Muslim women. It’s often that Muslim women are grouped into one without a true understanding of the vast differences between them in terms of ethnicity, occupation, class and buying behaviour. To do that I created pen portraits of different Muslim women; for example, there was Humaira the 22 year old British graduate whose beauty purchases were mainly determined by sales promotions and the best value available which was a complete contrast to Emirati fashion designer Marwa with a penchant for her luxury cosmetics brands like Guerlain and Tom Ford! There were many other pen portraits I presented to the audience, but while I wanted to highlight the differences between Muslim women I did note that there were indeed similarities to be drawn and that would be their values, mainly influenced by their Islamic faith. Anyone with a marketing background would know what psychographic segmentation is, but for those that don’t it is to divide customers within a market based on their values and attitudes so this would work better than the traditional demographic segmentation. I took to Facebook in order to find out which values you ladies hold dear and common themes I found were modesty, family, charity, faith and tradition. Using psychographic segmentation and knowing the values of most Muslim women would then influence how a brand would market a product, and I gave the presentation attendees many examples of successful marketing by keeping these values in mind. To illustrate I showed Lancôme’s slight tweak in advertising in the West and in the Middle East to appeal to the value of modesty.
In all, it was an honour to speak at the conference, particularly about a topic I’m passionate about. And thanks to those of you who attended!