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Rajeeb Dash

Head – Marketing Services | 16 Jul 2012

Real estate is a sector that has 100 per cent consumer penetration, which is a good thing, but about 95 per cent of the sector is unorganised. Using this as an opportunity, we are looking at smart planning for our innovations which is light on our pocket yet effective. Innovations have to be done with effective planning or else there are chances that it might fall flat.

As Tata Housing’s Head of Marketing Services, Rajeeb Dash is responsible for leading all corporate and project marketing efforts. He joined Tata Housing Development Company Ltd (a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Sons) in 2006 as Senior Manager – Marketing Services and has swiftly progressed to head the department within a short span of time. At Tata Housing, Dash has played a key role in building a distinctive brand image for Tata Housing in a highly unorganised and cluttered Indian real estate market, almost from scratch.

In a conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, Dash elaborates on how brand Tata Housing has effectively tapped the out of home medium in the last one year.

Q. It is seen that Tata Housing has creatively used the OOH medium over the last several campaigns. What is the key strategy behind using this medium to its optimum?

The main objective of carrying out a long term campaign was not selling homes, but on building the Tata Housing brand. We believe that once the brand gets recognition, sales will automatically follow. Our strategy throughout all outdoor campaigns is never sales focused. As we know that real estate banks on outdoor largely in their communication plans, there is already a lot of clutter in the market, and innovation is the way we chose to stand out. We are focused on planning and executing innovative communication for our products, instead of developing typical run-of-the-mill strategies for our projects. Our use of innovation leads back to the product feature and thereby helps in lead generation.

Q. According to you, being innovative is the only way to stand out in the outdoor space?

Real estate is a sector that has 100 per cent consumer penetration, which is a good thing, but about 95 per cent of the sector is unorganised. Using this as an opportunity, we are looking at smart planning for our innovations which is light on our pocket yet effective. Innovations have to be done with effective planning or else there are chances that it might fall flat.

Q. Could you highlight on the most effective OOH campaigns that you have rolled out in the last one year?

We at Tata Housing believe in designing products based on thorough consumer research so that it can meet their future needs. Marketing of the projects are done innovatively so as to reach the right target segments with minimum spends. We use theme based marketing for premium projects to break through the clutter, for example, the Bangalore project was launched with the master plan been designed as sand sculpture and been kept in a mall for public viewing so as to create excitement in the market. Regional/ local media and mediums are been used for low cost housing projects with branding in local trains, dabbawala activity in Mumbai and branding in industrial areas, etc. On the other hand, the luxurious projects are been advertised in premium magazines, through race course activity, sending direct mailers to the HNI database, and so on. Innovative marketing has helped us minimise our marketing spends to 2 per cent of the revenue with faster turnaround for the project.

Q. What is the common idea that you have tried to maintain in all your campaigns?

One common thing is to understand the consumer needs and be focused. This is not only in our products but in our communication strategy as well.

Q. You run month-long campaigns. How have they helped in your brand building exercise?

At Tata Housing we understand that real estate is an unorganised sector and business is cyclical in nature; the company had suffered greatly during the slowdown that had happened earlier. We, therefore, try to balance our growth aspirations with a prudent approach towards buying land by trying out different financial arrangements with landowners and companies, such as looking at entering into a joint development or joint venture model and not going for outright purchase, which would risk blocking huge amounts of capital.

Q. How much percentage of your marketing spends is allocated to OOH?

25 per cent of our marketing budget is allocated for outdoor advertising.

Q. What are the key factors that a real estate brand needs to keep in mind while planning to invest in outdoor advertising?

A real estate brand should focus on clutter breaking creatives and smart planning. Volumes at times might not be as effective as crisp creative ideas at strategic locations. Our sector should open up to innovations in its communication plans, especially in the outdoor media plans that create the buzz and glamour, which generate humongous amount of word of mouth advertising.

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