If you Google the meaning of the word halal, you will find that it is an Arabic word. Halal means something that is permissible or allowed and that is in relation to Islamic teaching. As we have covered in previous articles, a halal lifestyle cuts across many industries from food, health, travel, finance and banking. Our major focus will be on the finance and banking industries because this is what our microfinance deals with. For a financial product to qualify to be halal, it must observe the principles of Islamic banking. This is why such products should bear local names rather than Arabic branding
Makes them acceptable to local clientele
If you want to launch a new product, then you must appeal to the locals by using a language that they can understand. International companies like Vodafone and Coca-Cola have led the pack in showing business how branding products with local names can do wonders. International financial institutions like Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank have also not been left behind. You can find a savings account with two different names but similar features based on the region. For Instance in Kenya, the bank can give the account a Swahili name but use a French name in West Africa for the same account. Customers in the two regions will get similar services but they will feel that the accounts are customized for their needs.
Attract customers from all faiths
In January 2014, Noor Islamic Bank rebranded to Noor Bank. This Dubai-based financial institution did this in a bid to attract people from other faiths. Most people believe that Halal financial institutions target Muslims alone which is not the case. Halal products are for everyone who wants to lead a value-driven life which is lacking among many people. Even though Halal financing lays it base on the Islamic teachings, there are a lot of benefits that people from different faiths can gain.
Keep up with competition
Everyone is trying to get a share of the finance and banking industry and that is why we have thousands of registered financial institutions all over. In the past, Halal financial products were only offered by Islamic banks but this has changed. Conventional financial institutions have allowed Islamic windows in their day-to-day activities. Competition has thus risen up and Islamic banks are no longer functioning in isolation. These financial institutions thus have to come up with countermeasures to remain relevant in this market. The first step will be branding their products with local names and then learn what appeals to the society.
It will be easy to market
Ask a random person how many Arabic words that he or she knows and you will note that most people do not know much. Unless you want to launch your products in a region that uses Arabic as the main language, then chances of you penetrating the market are very minimal. Literacy levels are still very low in 3rd world countries in continents such as Asia and Africa. These people only know their local dialects and marketing a product written in Arabic is hard. You have to explain the meaning of the word before you expound on how the product will solve their problems. To overcome this, it is prudent to come up with a product name that promotes itself without having to expound on its meaning.
Using local names to brand financial products does not make them haram. The idea behind it is to appeal to the locals and solve the problems they face on a daily basis.