By Diganta Dey, Swati Roy, Akrati Gupta, Sarada Vipindas and BhavikaV
The Indian real estate sector has witnessed a remarkable transformation over the years, evolving from a mere provider of space to a curator of lifestyles. This shift is evident in the changing marketing strategies employed by developers, who are now placing greater emphasis on experiential marketing, value-driven branding, and lifestyle-centric project development.
A transition to transparency
In the early days of the Indian real estate industry, the sector was largely unorganized, characterized by a lack of transparency and accountability. This led to numerous instances of buyer dissatisfaction and disputes. However, the introduction of the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA) in 2016 marked a turning point, bringing much-needed standardization and transparency to the sector. RERA has instilled confidence among buyers, providing them peace of mind.
Utility to luxury: Shift in consumer aspirations
Buyers' aspirations have evolved over time, moving away from the basic need for accommodation to a desire for premium and luxury experiences. This shift is driven by factors such as rising disposable incomes, growing High Networth Individuals (HNI), changing lifestyles, and exposure to global trends. Developers are responding to this demand by creating premium and luxury projects that offer a range of amenities, concierge services, and lifestyle experiences.
The power of branding: Master Brands built on values
Real estate developers are increasingly recognizing the importance of branding in establishing a strong reputation and attracting buyers. They are building master brands that are rooted in values and a consistent brand philosophy. This is evident in the success of several real estate brands who have established themselves as symbols of trust, quality, and innovation.
The key characteristics of the master branding include:
•Focusing on a clear set of values that are communicated consistently across all touchpoints.
•Differentiated through a unique brand personality.
•Emotionally resonant and connecting with buyers at a personal level.
•Consistently managed and nurtured.
Here are some examples of the master branding by a few players:
•Rustomjee-It’s thoughtful. It’s Rustomjee: Known for its focus on sustainability, innovation, and community development, this Mumbai-based developer’s philosophy is to make 'thoughtful spaces' that redefine living and repurpose life. Prioritize togetherness, family, and the richness of life- a more connected world.
•Hiranandani Group- Creating better communities: This Mumbai based developer is known for its commitment to quality, design, architecture, and customer satisfaction. The focus is on redefining the concept of modern living.
•Prestige Group - Add Prestige to your life: A Bengaluru-based developer known for its luxurious projects and its focus on creating aspirational lifestyles, Prestige properties are a premium address for discerning buyers.
•DLF-Building India: This Delhi-based developer is one of the largest and most respected real estate companies in India. It is known for its track record of success and its commitment to quality. It pioneered the concept of luxury retail experiences.
•Total Environment - Creating enhanced living experiences: A Bangalore based developer known for its unconventional approach that is built around the values of authenticity, craftsmanship, personalization and embracing nature.
Lifestyle driven projects: Designing for experiences
Developers are going beyond simply providing space, they are creating lifestyle-driven projects that cater to the specific needs and aspirations of their target audience. This is evident in projects that offer a mix of residential, commercial, and retail spaces, creating vibrant communities that foster social interaction and a sense of belonging.
The key aspects of lifestyle-driven projects are:
•Designed around a theme for creating experiences.
•Offering a range of top-of-the-line amenities and services.
•Creating a sense of community and belonging.
•Situated in a premium location.
•Marketed in a way that appeals to the buyers’ aspirations.
Some of the signature projects are:
•Rustomjee Crown: A luxurious gated estate featuring lavish apartments in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. One of the finest properties in South Mumbai, it is replete with delightful surprises at every turn - from terraces to pools. A place that lets you escape from the world and discover yourself and connect with a likeminded community.
•Hiranandani Gardens Powai: This mixed-use development is Mumbai’s finest township that has redefined the concept of elegant living. It includes residential, commercial, and retail spaces, signature architecture, as well as a host of amenities such as schools, hospitals, and parks.
•Prestige Golfshire: Set to the backdrop of the picturesque Nandi Hills, across 275 acres, it is Bangalore’s most premium golf resort. Dedicated to perfecting the art of luxurious living it comes with ultra-luxurious villas, a luxury hotel, a private lake and an 18-hole championship golf course.
•DLF Cyber Hub: Located in Gurgaon, it offers a well-crafted unified experience of shopping, dining, culture, and entertainment. With uniquely designed spaces and world-class ambiance it is an ultimate high street destination. In addition, this DLF property is known for its vibrant nightlife.
•Total Environment - Windmills of Your Mind: Located in Whitefield, Bangalore, an exclusive community of apartments and earth-sheltered homes with green roofs, that sits on the edge of a small lake and features a central park, an earth-sheltered clubhouse, and a lush-green, expansive landscape.
Experiential marketing: Engaging the senses
In addition to using touchpoints like print, OOH, electronic, and social media, real estate brands are embracing experiential marketing to engage buyers at an emotional and sensory level. This involves creating immersive experiences that allow potential buyers to envision themselves living in the property. Developers are using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create interactive walkthroughs, while others are hosting events and workshops that showcase the lifestyle offered by the project.
CRM: Building relationships
Customer relationship management (CRM) is becoming increasingly important in the Indian real estate industry. Developers are using CRM tools to track interactions with potential buyers, gain insights into their preferences, and provide personalized service. This helps in building long-term relationships and fostering customer loyalty.
A new era of customer centricity
The evolution of the Indian real estate marketing reflects a shift in focus from mere transactions to building long-term relationships with customers. Developers are placing greater emphasis on understanding buyer aspirations, creating value-driven brands, and delivering exceptional experiences. This customer-centric approach is essential for success in the ever-evolving landscape.
The authors are PGDM-Marketing students at Jagdish Sheth School of Management (JAGSoM), Bangalore. Views are personal.