Brands have a mass appeal and tug on the emotions of their target customer. Brand loyalty is visible in fast moving loyalty is fast moving consumer goods, but the same is also true of the largest thing ever bought – a home. The inward breath of appreciation (or envy) when a friend name drops a reputed builder’s project as their buying decision is reward enough, for both the buyer and developer concerned.
If possible every consumer would like to have a home from a reputed builder, as a strong and recognizable brand increases customer confidence and shapes ownership experience.
Brand building is now a conscious decision with more realty companies including their own profiles on their more visible projects and products. Completed projects of the developer are being used as points of advertisement especially if it is a large and successful project. Some Developers have almost a policy of prefixing their projects with the company name, which sets up an immediate brand recall. Building a brand is a conscious effort – living up to and surpassing the expectations from the brand is also a must. A bigger project would naturally carry the reputed Developer’s name, though we do not use it for single building projects.
The importance of branding is that with the high level of competition in the market it is necessary to build a brand or image today. When the image of the company is established, the consumer can understand the values and the services provided by the firm, it is also easy for them to judge any constructions or upcoming projects of the company. Thus, in a way the company name becomes a synonym with the quality they provide.
Differentiated or sub branding within this segment is also new becoming more evident. The sub brand CASA is probably the best example of our ability as a company to understand market and economic conditions and bend the same to our advantage, by targeting the mid income luxury housing segment. CASA’s success can be attributed to a combination of right product, brand strength and innovative marketing. The segment at the middle of the income pyramid ahs very different expectations and needs than high income segments typically targeted by Lodha Group earlier. CASA created a new segment within affordable housing called Mid income luxury. The idea of luxury was incorporated with a focus on providing better value for money to a segment that had distinct affordability limits and expectations. Additionally, this launch also gave us an opportunity to explore marketing activities otherwise limited. We used several innovative channels such as SMS, online, local trains, buses to name few.
Co-branding is also another aspect that is now gaining prominence with reputed developers Normal Lifestyles coming out with their offering – the US open Apartments. These are linked to fitness. The USP here is that the US Open organization is accrediting and certifying the tennis courts and sports facilities provided here. There will be programs organized for coaching by them and residents stand a chance to access for the annual US Open tournaments at a nominal fee.
We wanted to focus on the fitness levels of our buyers along with getting special concept for our offering. Design elements like the fountain, color combinations of the US open are all being replicated here. Customers have given us a very good response to this project, as their curiosity was piqued by the concept. Another instance of smart co-branding was that of Samira habitats when they were part of the Mumbai Boat show since their project is in Alibag reached by boat.
In another instance the India bulls Real Estate projects like Sky (sold outs), Sky suites and Sky Forest promises buyers a piece of the sky and that the Sky is the limit or a head in the clouds experience. The sky experience includes a temperature controlled wine cellar, concierge desk, squash court, housekeeping; butler and amphitheater – all part of the brand building exercise.
The tools for such an exercise are more advanced now, with bigger and better boards and signage available. Realty branding has got a further push thanks to developers coming out with their public offers, joint ventures or even attempts to consolidate their base and then expand.
There is fierce competition in the fragmented real estate market today, as many Indian companies have diversified their portfolios and entered into the field of real estate. To establish one’s own identity in this booming market to reap rich dividends, company promotion has become inevitable. Today projects get sold out while they are under construction. This is only because of the image of the brand in the consumer’s mind. To enjoy this kind of success, a brand image has to created in the consumer’s mind, but more importantly, the brand image needs to be lived up to.