Does brand philosophy work for real estate brands? What is the most effective way of marketing real estate brands? These and other relevant issues concerning the real estate industry came under the scanner at the exchange4media organised ‘Impact Roundtable on Real Estate Marketing’, held in the NCR on August 4, 2010. The event was presented by Star News.
The differentiating factor
The panel was moderated by Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group. Commencing the discussion, Batra asked the representatives of the real estate industry how they differentiated their brands from others.
Brijesh Bhanote, Senior VP, The 3cs Company, replied that his company believed in the ‘green’ philosophy and projected its brand with the tagline: ‘Think Green, Live Green’. He maintained, “Green homes not only save national resources and reduce carbon footprints, they also give a sense of satisfaction to us as well.”
Stressing on the value of deadlines and quality of construction, Anil Kumar Sharma, CMD, Amrapali Groups, said that they needed to keep their system accessible to each and every buyer. “Because we sell speculation before selling any home, achieving timeline is a big factor of differentiating the brand. If we can achieve deadline and quality of work, eventually we get profitability,” Sharma added.
Speaking on the ingredients of building a real estate brand, Harmit Chawla, VP, Paras Buildtech, noted that a brand was all about trust and when trust was in place, for buyers, luxury and comfort went with it without saying. He further said that the company’s commitment, what kind of treatment a customer got, and how long he had to wait to get the required information mattered a lot in building any brand.
The money factor
Taking the debate forward, Batra then asked how the real estate honchos spent money on their marketing activities. Arif Sheikh, President, Advance India Projects Ltd, replied that while the industry had been using various media tools for marketing, the role of social media should not be ignored. He said, “We use Facebook, Orkut, and Wikipedia to connect with the various set of audiences.” He added that the use of localised media was very important for attracting the TGs.
However, Sharma of Amrapali believed that it was only buyers who demanded where the ad should go and they tried to fulfill their demands. He added, “They are always keen to see the ad of the product that they have bought on the various mediums that they consume. We spend Rs 3-4 crore per month on the media brands.” He noted that earlier, real estate advertisement ratio in TV and print medium used to be 25:75, respectively, which now stood at 45:55.
The media factor
While the creatives of real estate industry are very evident in the print and electronic media, how do other media tools work for the industry? To this, Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Homz, replied, “There is nothing like good and bad medium. It is the situation which decides how successful the project is. Necessity of any advertisement should be that it is truthful and transparent and it should reach out to the right target audiences. Till the time we are achieving the targets, nothing is wrong. But the biggest problem is that we don’t evaluate.”
Putting forward the media industry’s perspective, Neeraj Sanan, Vice President & Head of Marketing & Marketing Services, MCCS, suggested, “Do not buy the media, but the thought.” He further said, “One should be clear about what he/she is going to communicate to the audience. Take for example the Tata Tea advertisement, similarly we should work in a way that makes a connect with the consumers. We are moving towards commoditisation even in luxury brands.”
Speaking on buying of media by real estate players, Sanan stressed that the issue was not about which media was better. One needed to buy smart media property and should not just run after CPRP, he maintained. He further said, “It is ideal to have an integrated media plan, but shifting money from an inefficient medium to an efficient medium, where your TG belongs, is more prudent way today. Speaking on the purchase of media, Sanan raised a serious concern when he said, “Media in India is purchased unscientifically.”
He concluded by saying, “Brands should connect with consumers by solving their problems. If developers take initiatives like cleaning up garbage, managing parking space and so on in any locality where their TG resides and engages more with the buyers, it will help them in winning the trust of the people and building their brand.”