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How Businesses Have Used the Arts to Engage Muslim Communities

Posted by Mariama Holman

Businesses have the power to stimulate social dialogue on cultural themes and topics in which their consumers and employees have ownership. They can utilize the arts to engage in conversation and build relationships with authenticity, sincerity and sensitivity.


The steps to doing so begin with strong insights on consumer behaviors and attitudes.

Observe the examples of the companies below to learn how successful businesses have engaged Muslim communities through the arts.


Wasl Properties, Dubai – Photography Competition

Wasl Properties, a leading Dubai property management and development company with a real estate portfolio of over 30,000 residential and commercial properties, utilized a key consumer insight to incite meaningful dialogue with its customers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, using the arts.


Ramadan is considered to be a time to reconnect with one’s faith, family and friends – creating a period for working less and spending more time building relationships.  Per Google data, during Ramadan practitioners are more active online than during other points of the year – performing more searches and activities on their mobile devices. Digital literacy has increased in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) as viewers have normalized the process of watching web series and videos.


Wasl Properties’ Ramadan Instagram Photography Competition utilized this consumer insight on content consumption and integrated it with a relevant occasion to engage its target audience.


Wasl Properties utilized the arts to open dialogue on the meaning of Ramadan.


Individuals over 13 years of age were given the opportunity to participate in the Ramadan Instagram Photography Competition, which was open to tenants and non-tenants a like. All were invited to share photographs capturing “what they love the most about Ramadan or an inspiring act of kindness” on Instagram with the hashtag #waslRamadan2017 and mentioning @waslgroup. Entrants competed to earn an Apple TV every week from May to June. Children were also given the opportunity to participate with a painting competition that ran during the same time.




Coca-Cola, BCA 10 Awardee, Middle East and Northern Africa Division – Web Series


Another brand that has succeeded in capturing the hearts and minds of their consumers through the arts and a savvy use of consumer insights is the BCA10 award winner, Coca-Cola.


Coca-Cola cited psychological research as the source of their campaign consumer insight - the most important variable of happiness is a good social relationships with others.

For years, Coca-Cola has been recognized as the food and beverage brand that portrays happiness – emphasizing happy people in its TV commercials and print ads. Coca-Cola brand managers asked themselves if the company could create sustainable happiness in the communities it inhabited through meaningful social dialogue.


In 2014 Coca-Cola sought to demonstrate its commitment to Muslim consumers during Ramadan by initiating a Ramadan campaign that was focused on opening up dialogue within families, friends and the overall community. The campaign had the objective of creating happiness through stimulating inclusion and an open mind.   


The campaign that resulted was called #OpenUp under the catch-phrase of “Open Up. It’s Ramadan.” It features real stories of Muslims who opened up dialogue with their loved ones and the results that followed. Highlighted individuals include Top Chef star, Bader Fayez and Kuwaiti fashion blogger, Ascia.


"The Open Up campaign inspires people to open up to different points of view and acknowledge that although differences will always exist, the bonds we share are stronger than any obstacle," according to Tolga Cebe, head of marketing at Coca-Cola Middle East.


Wasl properties and Coca-Cola showcase just a few of many examples of how businesses have engaged in social dialogue through the arts. Browse through our Success Stories page to learn more about how businesses can use the arts connect with their communities.

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