Indian Real Estate Market is witnessing new trend in marketing and branding with introduction of celebrities as brand ambassadors. Now, the question is – Is it a marketing stunt to push brand name in market or just a new way of brand endorsement? After a number of cricketers endorsed real estate projects in Noida and Greater Noida, it is time for Gurgaon to get its share of celebrities.
Ajnara India, a reputed develoepr in Noida real estate market, signed bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut as its brand ambassdor for its various residential projects in Noida. Real estate developer, Krrish Group, which is relatively new in the sector, has recently launched its first project – Provence Estate – with Bipasha Basu endorsing it. These apartments are of an average area of 5,800 sq ft, while a few penthouses are of 10,000 sq ft.
However, according to real estate observers, a market like Gurgaon does not require such strategies. They say that newer players might use it to break the clutter of similar offerings by developers and to develop some recall of their project.
“The concept of celebrity brand ambassadors has enjoyed a certain degree of traction when it comes to ultraluxury residential projects in north and west India. In certain cases, developers of luxury projects in high-profile locations have even gifted units in their project to the celebrities in question, in an attempt to raise the notional value. Its efficacy is another question,” Santosh Kumar of Jones Lang LaSalle India says.
This marketing strategy is for builders who don’t have a great track record of completed projects in Gurgaon, and associating themselves with a celebrity gives some leg up to the builder’s brand, says experts.
Talking about the impact such marketing strategies have on the consumer, Ruchika Bharadwaj, lead analyst of Certes Realty Ltd, says, More than end users, the celebrity endorsements are targeted at the brokers, who repeat the communication to the end user repeatedly, to lend some credibility.
Ajay Rathod of Century 21 Integrated PanRealty Solutions Pvt Ltd, the official marketing associates for the Provence Estate project, says, “Since this is for the first time that the liquor giants are entering a niche project like this, it gives them an edge over others.”
One impression that celebrity advertisements give homebuyers is that the builder has money to burn, and hence, hopefully, won’t run out of money before completing their project. “But, mostly, celebrities are used as a differentiator to stand out in a ‘me-too’ market,” Sharma says. However, market watchers say that the end users have come of age and, usually, such marketing tactics are hard to lure them if the product lacks substance.
Also, like Mumbai, many areas in the NCR region have seen a slowdown in demand and a growing surfeit of projects that do not really meet the needs of homebuyer in terms of pricing and configurations. The times when a residential project would practically sell itself in Gurgaon are now over, real estate analysts say.
Much depends on the project in question. High net worth individuals (HNIs) like to associate their homes with the implied glamour and do tend to display a certain degree of increased interest. However, this gimmick does not work well when a developer attempts to use it to promote mid-income housing projects. This is because there is very obviously no logical connection. Purchasing a home is invariably the single-most expensive and important investment that an Indian middle-class family will ever make. It is not likely to be influenced by hype, but by perceived value for money, appreciation potential and locational integrity.
Compared to Uttar Pradesh, the use of celebrities to sell projects in Gurgaon is much less, maybe, because the campaigns so far of using celebrities in Gurgaon have not been very successful.
“If we recollect earlier projects endorsed by Anupam Kher and Kapil Dev in 2007-08, both these advertisers have stopped plugging these celebrities. Maybe, the campaigns were not very successful. Tata did not need a celebrity, and just celebrity power is not enough for Vigneshwara,” Sharma says.
The analysts added that in case of Noida, Greater Noida and Indirapuram, it is sort of a herd mentality; since some builders started using celebrities, others had to follow. In Gurgaon, it is probably being used very selectively to sell projects by builders who don’t have much brand recall value in the city.
Source-Newspapers and magzines
Alok Kumar Upadhayay
Real Estate Professional