Communications Director, Michael Josem, investigates the significance of religion and culture in business.
Businesses that operate around the world have an opportunity to understand and respect cultural and religious holidays celebrated by various communities worldwide. By recognising and celebrating these holidays, brands can show that they care about diversity and inclusivity and create a stronger bond with their customers and staff.
One of the most significant benefits of acknowledging cultural and religious holidays is that it brings people together, regardless of their background. Celebrating holidays such as Christmas, Eid al-Fitr, Diwali, or Hanukkah, can create a sense of community and belonging. When brands show that they appreciate and understand these holidays, they can create a welcoming environment for everyone, which can help build customer and staff loyalty.
By demonstrating their understanding and respect for different cultures, companies can attract customers who might have felt left out before. This can increase sales and promote brand recognition, particularly in communities that are not usually targeted by mainstream advertising. Importantly, doing this in a planful manner ensures that different communities are fully included.
Recognising cultural and religious holidays can also help brands build trust and credibility with their customers. When brands show that they understand and respect their customers' traditions and beliefs, they can gain their trust, which is essential for building long-term relationships. This is particularly important in industries such as finance, healthcare, or education, where trust and credibility are critical.
Lastly, recognizing cultural and religious holidays can help brands demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and corporate citizenship. By showing that they value and respect the diverse cultures and traditions of their customers, brands can be seen as socially responsible and culturally aware. This can help improve their reputation among customers and stakeholders and support their social responsibility initiatives.
Unfortunately, at the same time, religious literacy is collapsing, especially amongst modern Western education systems. This means that many brands may struggle to identify key religious and cultural events. It also means that some brands may stumble into unfortunate circumstances such as wishing people a "happy" Yom Kippur.
Consequently, we have published below a reasonable listing of key global cultural holidays of major world religions. While no such list can be exhaustive, it is a reasonable attempt in good faith to identify the key religious events that are likely to be commemorated in pluralistic Western nations. It includes the major global religions, but does not include some very large religions (especially from Central Asia) which have large but geographically concentrated followings.
In conclusion, recognising and celebrating cultural and religious holidays is beneficial for brands. It can create a sense of community and belonging, reach new audiences, build trust and credibility, and show social responsibility and corporate citizenship. By doing so, brands can show that they care about inclusivity and diversity and build stronger relationships with their customers and stakeholders.