Mosques in Singapore are run like professional organisations, coordinated with one another via clusters, and with each one having its own unique strength. To find out how one mosque manages its marketing and branding, we spoke to Mujahidin Mosque and Miss Rohainizah Adnan, the Manager of the Corporate Services and Communications Department.
1) Tell us more about your mosque and your experience.
Mujahidin Mosque was officially opened in 1977 and following the completion of the latest major upgrading works in 2013, was re-officiated again in April 2014.
I started in Mujahidin Mosque in October 2015, with the vision that I would bring its name and brand to greater heights. I have never worked in the mosque sector prior to this and the decision to move into the industry was made following a desire to serve the Muslim Community at a greater capacity.
I admit I do not have any formal marketing education per se, I am a Creative Designer by training. However, having picked up most of my marketing knowledge from my regional Marketing Director during my tenure at the last company I worked in, I realise my interest in the field grew and it soon became a passion.
My marketing role in the mosque includes strategic communications, portraying the mosque in its best light and exploring the best techniques and methods of advertising and promotion for all of our programs to cast the widest reach and garner the most support possible.
2) What makes your mosque congregation mix unique?
Our congregants are varied in such that we have a good mix of both Malay and English speaking audiences. So when forming programs, we take great care in trying to cater to most of the congregants expectations. While what we offer often take on a more targeted approach, we still do try to balance it by taking into consideration these factors.
Our location also plays an integral role on how we plan our programs’ marketing efforts. For example, we may not get as big a crowd on regular weekdays as say another neighbourhood mosque would. Every mosque is different. That’s what makes all of us unique.
3) What are some of your mosque’s signature marketing initiatives?
Some of the programs we have are dependent on mass interest and we like to bank on what our congregants and the community at large are interested in. If there is no market for it, our efforts may be futile.
Take our niche Al-Quran program for instance. Renamed MEQAR in 2016, we rebranded it to offer not just Quranic recitation classes, but introduced Arabic Calligraphy classes as well – to attract the masses not just to the beauty of the content of the Quran, but also to the art of writing the text. Top that off with the Quran gallery and immersive augmented reality application – it has become a key focal point when we bring visitors to tour the mosque.
One of our latest initiatives include a movement called Project #GreenUmmah. In our first phase, we introduced the Eco-Wudhu video, which aims to rally all Muslims to take a more holistic approach and be more actively involved in saving water – by starting to use less water for their ablution. What started out as a plan to be a mere in-house initiative, quickly ballooned to become a nationwide movement. We were absolutely stoked with the response from the public and this Ramadan, we will be assisting to provide collaterals to all mosques to partake in this movement together.
We also recently introduced the Shoptribute kiosk, an initiative to reach out to the community – for people to bring a part of the mosque home with them. With the theme, contribute to a beautiful cause, we hope that congregants will feel at ease knowing that they are contributing to a good cause while shopping for home or educational purposes.
4) Have you also tried to also attract non-Muslims?
Certainly. We always believe that the mosque should be open to all – not just Muslims. We often welcome guests who wish to visit and learn more about our mosque or Islam in general. Being in the central area has its perks. A lot of the visitors who come by often visit other places of worship at the same time. And given that we are located nearby other temples and churches – our mosque becomes a rather popular option for visitation.
5) What are some marketing challenges you face?
One of my biggest challenges is definitely educating people on the importance of marketing, and the time and funding required for it. However, I must add that whilst the sector is still taking baby steps towards placing more emphasis on marketing, I am glad that we are already moving towards that direction.
6) What are some marketing lessons you can share?
No one method is suitable for all programs and events. Every program is unique. Even if they have a similar theme. It’s all in the details. Time of event, program highlights, speaker, the day its held, the location, the objective, target audience. I have a checklist for all events and programs that the mosque conducts, but not everything is suitable for all our initiatives. And while our brand may remain consistent, it does not mean we will have the guaranteed numbers at each function.
And I feel that’s what makes marketing so interesting – you just never know. We need to approach everything as a first time. That said, there are of course case studies and best practices for us to always fall back on, but we are more aware now of the things we need to take note of.
Marketing in this industry has truly grown and I love how creative people have become in getting their message across. It’s no longer just about splashing an ad across the papers or handing out flyers after prayer times, it’s now engagement through social media, use of daring graphics and brilliant copywriting. These are just some of the factors which makes marketing beautiful – variety and evolution.
7) How important is internal brand culture in driving your mosque brand and its success?
Very important. So important that it isn’t an option for us, it’s a priority, There’s this saying: take care of your internal customers, and they will automatically take care of your external customers. And we find that this rings very true. Brand consistency is not just the way we look, our facade, our facilities or our logo, it’s our values, what we practice as a mosque and how we portray ourselves to the public. We take great care in trying to give the best service to our congregants and the community at large – and all that needs to start from within – only then will it be emulated outwards.