Indian real estate market is not having celebrity endorsement as a new concept. Its old one but seems like as if recently when some developers got in multiple celebrities as brand ambassadors as well as some international celebrities signed up for Indian Developers, it came into focus again. Does Karishma Kapoor’s association with Avalon, Shah Rukh Khan’s name attached to Mahagun or Michael Schumacher’s name with Homestead make the home deal look far more attractive or credible. Putting it simply, branded homes are houses associated, designed or endorsed by celebrities, as well as renowned international and domestic brands and architects. This gives the project visibility and acceptability among buyers who associate their homes with their favourite brand or celebrity.
Celebrity architects, brand ambassadors, and interior designers are all means of distinguishing your projects form the run-of-the-mill kind. On Golf Course Road, there are houses in a price band of Rs 8,000-16,000 per sq ft, and then there is Aralias, which comes for Rs 25,000 per sq ft. At the end of the day, it’s all about positioning; otherwise why do you think Lajpat Nagar real estate sells at Rs 4,00,000 per sq ft while the area across the road, Defence Colony, is pegged at Rs 8,00,000 per sq ft!”
Clearly, a huge premium rides the class of branded homes vis-a-vis the ‘non-branded’ ones. On an average, the premium charged for a branded home is anything from 50-60%. It varies from project to project and can even be higher depending on the brand endorsing the project.
So, are branded homes more of a lifestyle statement or back it up with substance too? While most condominiums and villas these days have elements of modern design, technology, specialized services, the buyers of branded homes are usually attracted by the glamour attached to such projects.
They typically belong to the high-income bracket; some relatively less expensive branded homes are also available, though, where the target audience is the upper-middle class.
For some, the association with a celebrity detracts from the business of home-buying and dilutes the seriousness of the developer; in a real estate project, the glam quotient is not as important as the reliability factor.
It is no secret that celebrities charge a bomb for endorsing a brand. On a lighter note, surely it convinces one that the builder has financial muscle, enough money to burn and let go down the drain in celebrity endorsements.”
How much thought is spared in creating brand identity in Indian real estate industry?
For some developers, positioning and branding is more a matter of fluke and coincidence — ‘by luck’ and ‘by chance’. They have a set budget and rope in whichever celeb that is willing to endorse at that rate. But there are also groups who pay great heed to matching brand identity with the core value of the company.
Recently, Ashiana unveiled their new brand identity and logo after what they said was a “rigorous research and introspection”.
Branding experts believe that the term ‘brand ambassador’ is used loosely in India, and is often used for the person appearing in the advertisement. In real life, a brand ambassador would genuinely use and endorse a product and be involved in every activity associated with the brand.
On the other hand, very few viewers believe Kareena Kapoor uses Lux. Communication consultant and branding expert Kiran Khalap, who founded Chlorophyll Brand & Communications, differentiates the brand spokesperson from renowned designers and architects.
In the case of real estate, we must separate brand spokesperson from real experts being invited to design homes and amenities and then using them as spokespersons for that project. Michael Schumacher and Maria Sharapova as ambassadors for buildings might be a towering waste of money unless the property’s uniqueness is inextricably linked to these two personalities associations. On the other hand, a golf course designed by Greg Norman makes eminent sense if the target segment aspires for or is devoted to golf. Another positive example is using Philippe Starck for Yoo in Pune, on the premise that if he can design the world’s most memorable orange juicer, he may be able to design the world’s most different homes as well.”
Clearly, then, the people associated with core areas of design, architecture, landscaping hold greater sway on genuine buyers; so do the values of deliverability, reliability and credibility. Recently, Ireo announced Grand Hyatt branded residences, as part of the Ireo Township. The company has tied with hospitality chain, Hyatt Hotels Corporation Ltd, for Grand Hyatt branded luxury residencies, and this project will be developed by London-based firm Foster+Partners and New York-based Tony Chi, a master of hospitality designing.
Company has aligned with the word’s best three brands – Grand Hyatt, Tony Chi and Foster – and for the first time, three legendary names are coming together to create iconic luxurious residences. These branded homes are targeted at the person who has arrived in life – the CEO or entrepreneur, who is 40 plus and well travelled and aspires for the best. The branded residences come in a minimum size of 4,000 sq ft, priced at $500 per sq ft, and value of a branded home is upwards of Rs 12 crore. It is so important to carefully and meticulously plan brand identity and brand association. When the celebrity receives bad press, it affects the brand. When the associations match, the brand gets higher salience and like-ability. So much for the art and science of branding which indeed is a labour of love!
Source- Print Media
Alok Kumar Upadhayay
Real Estate Professional