The Ramadan-Raya season has always been a time that brings families together within the Muslim community with an increased focus on positive social values. As Malaysia activated efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 and people adjusting to the new normal, the way Ramadan is observed and Raya is celebrated this year will be impacted. Even once the MCO is lifted, the intrinsic apprehension of coming together and socialising may still continue.
With the possible extension of MCO looming, the usual behavioural shifts observed during this time will now have an additional element – isolation. Friends and family won’t be able to gather and celebrate together.
Despite the changes, never has it been more important for brands to be empathetic and authentic. It’s now more vital than ever for brands to find ways of expressing the spirit of Ramadan-Raya by encouraging social distancing and incorporating the newfound lifestyle we are currently in. As we progress into the season, it’s not too late to refine and polish your marketing campaign to meet consumers’ changing needs during this period.
So, What Can Brands Do?
1. Give back and support others in need remotely
In Islam, giving back is one of the core principles of the religion and Ramadan has always been the season of doing more almsgiving. If you are in a position to support communities in need, it’s encouraged to find ways how you can lessen the load during this trying time. Brands can explore various efforts such as pay-it-forward meals and digital fundraisers to support these communities for the betterment of the nation.
We also can’t ignore the fact that frontliners too, consist of the Muslim segment; and they would be observing Ramadan while serving the country. Brands can consider launching initiatives to promote mental well-being among the frontliners or even kick-start community campaigns focusing on showing appreciation and gratitude to this segment.
2. Take on a more meaningful role in retaining some essence of the season
Every year, brands experience a delicate balance with their Ramadan-Raya marketing. It’s always a challenge for brands to be present without undermining the religious sanctity of the festival. This year, the challenge is even more so – it’s absolutely vital for brands to carefully navigate this season to avoid appearing cynical or opportunistic.
The drastic lifestyle change curated by the pandemic will become more apparent as celebrants transition to full-on Ramadan-Raya mode. Muslims won’t be able to practice some traditions amongst the love and comfort of family members. This is the time for brands to play a role in keeping the Ramadan-Raya traditions going.
Last year, cooking recipes on YouTube and searches for recipes increased before and during Ramadan, and continued to spike all the way to Raya.1 With the MCO in place, we are seeing a surge in this trend as people have been cooking more and search trend for keywords like ‘recipes’ and ‘how to cook’ have recorded a significant increase.2,3 Hence, this trend will continue to be relevant throughout the upcoming festive season.
As any form of Ramadan bazaar is not allowed to take place this year, brands can take this opportunity to share more cooking tips or recipes to create bazaar favourites and traditional Raya dishes from their own kitchen. Alternatively, brands can also organise cook-along livestream sessions on digital platforms.
3. Recreate the notion of togetherness
As this is a season of joy, festivities and togetherness, people would be feeling the effects of being unable to celebrate together. You can use this window to come up with ideas on how to facilitate togetherness; in this time when folks will, most likely, feel very apart.
Think along the lines of Netflix Parties – a relevant way of executing this is via setting up a virtual iftar (breaking fast) session where the local community can participate right from home.
Brands can also provide a break from all the hard-hitting news currently populating our media scene. This can be done by sharing positive/heartwarming stories as well as entertaining and self-enriching content in a bid to spread positivity.
4. Get your e-commerce business well-prepared & be where it matters
The Ramadan-Raya period is typically one of the biggest festive shopping seasons of the year here in Malaysia. Google reports that spending during Ramadan-Raya peaks at RM 18 billion annually.4 Meanwhile, a study conducted by Criteo showed that Southeast Asian countries saw a surge in sales 10 days into Ramadan and lasted through the 10 days prior to Raya in 2019.5
This year, however, the Ramadan-Raya season occurs right in the midst of Covid-19. This means people will be relying on technology and digital platforms even more to meet their needs and get ready for the festivities.
Even though there are still a lot of uncertainties on the Ramadan-Raya season, it is important for brands to beef up your e-commerce presence and ensure strong delivery capabilities so that consumers’ demands are met effectively while providing a smooth online shopping experience.
Although this pandemic is altering life as we know it, especially during this Ramadan-Raya season, it has reminded us of the true essence of the holy month: helping people.
The same theory applies to brands. Use this period to re-examine your brand’s purpose through actions that will produce a meaningful Ramadan-Raya relevant to your audience. Be sincere and use the digital sphere to its full advantage to keep the spirit of Ramadan-Raya alive.
Stuck on ideas? Get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you navigate effectively through this season.