Branding is about building strong relationship between an organization and its stakeholders, which are generally its customers. It involves establishing strong trust, connection and affinity with the general public.
Though the business dynamics of the real estate sector are different from that of almost all other sectors, the basic principle of branding is similar, with the ultimate objective of creating value for customers. However, the application of this principle in the sector can be complex since it requires dedicated effort over long periods of time.
Over last several years, many developers in India have realized the economic benefit of building a brand and have started to reap benefit. An increasing number of developers are strengthening their brand by building good projects, delivering on time and offering new services (such as facility management, constant update on construction status etc).
At the same time, a large section of developers are still dealing with this sector in a commoditized mindset. As long as developers are approaching the real estate sector with a commoditized mindset (thinking in terms of projects and developments), the value addition may not reach full potential. Thus, developers must realize that they are not only building flats, apartments, plots, villas, office space and malls but are offering their customers a whole new lifestyle or community; the shift in thinking and in business would start occurring.
A developer can create value for their customer by providing them a better community, lifestyle, facilities or return on investment. The value first needs to be delivered and then perceived by a multitude of customers. The value created over years or decade, gradually transform in economic gain for a developer.
Thus, value creation and its subsequent conversion in economic gain in real estate is a long-drawn process which is a function of number of projects, time, successes, failures and customer satisfaction.
Developers who manage to create value through several successful and, at times, iconic projects are likely to benefit from good reputation, brand equity and goodwill in the market. This value, which is subject to growth, can be transferred to new projects that the brand has developed and even in new markets where a developer is expanding. Value addition, experienced in the past with a brand, is expected in a developer’s new projects. Moreover, a brand that manages to transfer value from one project to another result in substantial savings on marketing investments.