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Brand-building bug bites mid-sized real estate developers

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SELLING DREAMS: Realtors are increasing ad spend.
SELLING DREAMS: Realtors are increasing ad spend.

Nithya Subramanian
Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

New Delhi, March 5

If advertising is all about selling dreams, little wonder that mid-sized real estate developers are roping in well-known advertising agencies to help them sell dream homes.

Consider this: Taneja Developers and Infrastructure has appointed Rediffusion DY&R to manage its advertising account and Omaxe is handled by Lowe India. Besides using the print and radio to promote their offerings, companies such as Parsvnath have broken into the big advertising league with a spate of television commercials that ensure high recall and visibility.

"The real estate sector has witnessed a tremendous growth and companies are striving to differentiate themselves and their offerings from competitors. There is a focus on building a strong brand identity, and leave an impression on prospective buyers," said Mr Pradeep Jain, Chairman of Parsvnath Developers, which recently slotted its advertisement to coincide with the live coverage of the Union Budget by various news channels.

The shift from standalone project based ads to a holistic corporate campaign is also being driven by the fact that developers are working on multiple projects to meet the accelerating demand. Parsvnath's advertising spend is expected to almost double this year from Rs 15-20 crore in the last year.

According to Mr Atul Phadnis, Chief Evangelist, Media e2e, real estate industry is estimated to spend about Rs 300-350 crore in 2006-07, a growth of 30-35 per cent.

One of the reasons for appointing large agencies is because companies are offering premium properties, he felt.

"The stakes are very high and therefore there is need to establish the premium value. Hence professional agencies are being appointed," he said.

Agrees, Mr Ajay Khanna, Executive Director of DLF Retail developers.

"The mid-sized firms are revisiting their traditional advertising strategy to take into account the upmarket positioning of products. Also in some cases, the intention to go public in future may drive the need for aggressive brand-building exercise," he said.

Moreover, property developers have realised that television complements both print and radio.

"What started off with simple property shows during non-prime time has resulted in increased enquiries and sale," said Mr Phadnis.

However, there are some who are treading the beaten path and prefer to attract buyers through local advertising. "Our campaign is still market focused and we are sticking to local advertising strategy for most of the projects, with exception to commercial projects which need to be advertised on a broader scale," said Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director of Hiranandani Constructions Ltd.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 6, 2006)
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