Towards the Creation of Strong Brand Image of Waqf Institutions

Towards the Creation of Strong Brand Image of Waqf Institutions

Shafiu Ibrahim Abdullahi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1245-6.ch004
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Studies have been conducted focusing on the role of trust, integrity, and reputation on the image and reputations of Islamic charities. But, these are not the only challenges faced by contemporary Waqf. While the world outside the Waqf institutions has changed, Awqaf are stuck in centuries-old procedures and management practices. This must change for Awqaf to be up to the challenges of modern world. This work focuses on proposing a mechanism that explains how possible it is for Awqaf to improve their image given their unique features and environment. The process through which Waqf improves its relationship with stakeholders such as donors, beneficiaries, and government is as important as other aspects of Waqf operation that have been traditionally covered by scholars. The methodology followed for conducting this work is mainly literature review and critical analysis of the state of Waqf in the Muslim world. Thus, the work is a deductive analysis in Islamic economics and marketing, borrowing from Islamic and conventional fields of marketing and branding.
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“a new way of thinking is required to market Awqaf to the community globally and the generation of funds and better returns on investment both monetary and services. We believe by marketing the ‘Awqaf’ brand and making it a global household name everyone in society will benefit and we will deliver better services. Therefore, we propose that a few Awqaf organisations take on the task of creating a world brand of Awqaf and market it globally so that everyone benefits.” - Khaled Sukkarieh, Awqaf Australia

In the past 50 years, there have been concerted efforts towards the development Islamic nations after independence from the clutch of colonialism. These movements cut across the fields of politics, community development, charitable causes and economics. Despite these efforts Muslim communities are still ravaged by the problems of poverty and absence of development. One tested instrument that has served the Islamic nations for centuries is Waqf and this explain why there are efforts today to rejuvenate the institution. Already, conferences, researches and government level committees have been employed towards the achievement of that objective. But despite these, Waqf is not yet back to it prime before it declines began some two centuries ago. Just like there is need to develop the physical structures of the Awqaf institutions, there is equally important need to develop the image of the institution. It is the aim of every institutional Waqf to become a trusted brand in the mind of the Muslim public. For credibility of nonprofit sectors like Waqf, good brand image will help boost confidence of the public in the sector. Marketing communication channels such as advertising play an important role in building this credibility. According to Hati and Idris (2014) organisation credibility has a direct effect on attitude towards advertising and brand attitude. The visual image of an organisation created by a particular charity play a role in determining how donors respond in contributing to the work of that charity, to some extent more than the socioeconomic and religious factors in the external environment (Hati & Idris, 2014). Advertising play an important role in building brand, whether it is for profit oriented enterprises or nonprofit organisations like charities. Conventional advertising has been accused of spreading miss information, exploitation, wastage and creation of consumerist society. But, unlike conventional advertising, Islamic advertising is ethically motivated, it focuses on education and enlightenment, passing useful information to the public (Abdullahi, 2017). Ogilvy Noor defined Islamic branding as “branding that’s empathetic to sharia values, in order to appeal to the Muslim consumer, ranging from basic sharia friendliness to full sharia compliance in all aspects of a brand’s identity, behaviour and communications”. According to study by Kashif, Fernando, Samad, Thurasamy (2018) donor perceived brand association, brand awareness and brand loyalty is strongly associated with perceived brand equity of charity brands. Awqaf cannot afford to be seen as unaccountable and poorly manage. To some extent there is poor trust on the part of the Muslim public on Islamic charities. For example, in Nigeria lack of trust on some zakah collection institutions led Zakah payers to adopt the strategy of ‘individual level’ Zakah disbursement to the needy (Abdullahi, 2019). Study such as by Abdul Shukor, Johari, Abd Wahab, Zulkefli, Ahmad, Alias, Abdul Rahman, Orip, Ibrahim and Abu-Hussin (2018) has found that integrity and reputation of Awqaf institutions have direct impact on endowers’ trust on Awqaf institution, which consequently lead to endowers’ intention to endow cash Waqf.

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