The Waqf Brand: Business with Compassion
A brand is not just the visible elements such as a logo, a trademark or a tune that identifies and distinguishes a product or service from others. A brand is also the impressions it generates, the benefits it offers, and the loyalty it creates when dealing with a company or using its products and services. For awqaf, the waqf brand encompasses much more than a visual symbol or a commercial jingle that promotes a company or a product. The waqf brand has a broader influence and a more expressive role in communicating the waqf message, raising awareness, building capacity, and engaging the community in awqaf social undertakings.
The brand identity of awqaf is business with compassion.
The waqf label appears as the epitome of a culture which for more than 1400 years has established its own brand of moral and ethical constructs. The waqf brand is all that define the waqf system and its religious and altruistic dimensions. Awqaf values cover a broad range of religious and behavioral practices based on honesty, integrity, fairness, commitment, and compassion. These values are especially important in projecting the right image of a waqf organisation in managing external perceptions in its strategic communication, fundraising, investments, and social programs. The brand identity of awqaf is business with compassion.
Awqaf investments merge the social mission with the market approach of business.
The brand identity of awqaf is business with compassion. Awqaf investments cannot be viewed simply as business deals. Compassion in awqaf runs wide and deep. Almost all of awqaf projects and investments are philanthropic at heart and clearly define their contribution to society. While companies are driven by the pursuit of profit and growth, unsurprisingly awqaf take a different approach to the process of allocating investment funds. Awqaf investments merge the social mission with the market approach of business. They aim to enhance the so-called triple bottom line (TBL)?—?social, environmental and financial performance. Making a profit and doing social good are not disparate or contradictory objectives. When investing, awqaf applies an ethical rigor built on social and economic factors that connect a project to the challenges in peoples’ lives. Making a profit is a means to serve the community and make it more vibrant by the jobs they create and the products and services they provide, without risking capital or compromising financial returns. Awqaf’s investment vision is not myopic. Before considering a project, a waqf organisation wants to know what the needs are and what it can do to help. Awqaf investments are focused on adding long term value and generating beneficial and measurable social impact.
A successful waqf brand creates both social and financial values.
Branding in awqaf is now on the cusp of lift-off. As the system of waqf is gaining traction in social and economic policies, branding will be a key strategy for a waqf organisation to communicate with its target audience. Awqaf organisations that carry a certain amount of brand status will build up trust with their stakeholders and will potentially attract new waqifs and donors. Although many awqaf organisations take a narrow approach to brand management by using the awqaf brand mainly as a fund raising tool, a growing number are developing a broader and more strategic application to create a greater social impact and stronger organisational harmony. A successful waqf brand creates both social and financial values. It helps in mobilizing support for the awqaf organization and in building its operational capacity, maintaining focus on its social mission, and consequently helping its transition from a cash-strapped organisation to an investment powerhouse.
the damaged brand of one waqf organisation weighs against the reputation and the public perception of the entire sector
Brands come and go, but if a waqf brand is damaged, the consequences are dire and more damaging than those faced by private enterprises. Commercial companies may always find a way to spin around and do business. But it’s much harder for an awqaf organisation to regain lost credibility or to reverse negative sentiments. It is quite upsetting to see how the damaged brand of one waqf organisation weighs against the reputation of other organisations and on the public perception of the entire sector. Ethics and compassion have a lot to do with awqaf. From a brand perspective, awqaf values resonate strongly with all stakeholders.
Building the awqaf brand could be the best investment awqaf ever make. For many awqaf organisations, it is not easy to deliver on the awqaf brand promise, but it’s worth the effort in the interest of building goodwill and spreading the awqaf culture. A well-managed waqf brand is a sign of a healthy awqaf sector and an indication that the waqf sector is better equipped for the modern world.
By Hisham Dafterdar, CPA, PhD
Chairman, Awkaf Australia Ltd