In your own words, how do you describe a `hot’ brand?

What makes a brand “HOT” is looking at the Bigger Picture. A Hot brand does not only focus on tangibles of a brand, but invest in the larger picture. A brand is not just the name and identity; it is a whole lot of other things like your company’s market stand and stature, its philosophy when it comes to their products, and most importantly its commitment towards its customers. These are really the things that make a brand “HOT”.

What can be few steps taken by brand owners to keep their brand stay-top-of-mind?

Given the fact that a customer’s buying journey has become really complicated with so much information being available, customer backing will be more crucial than ever.

Think like your customers and tell their story, not yours. Position your customers as the heroes and your products and solutions as supports to satisfy their desires. Customers today don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to. Hence it is really important to fit their brands into the customer’s life journey and approach marketing/ branding from his perspective.

Happy customers are brand loyalists. If you have a long list of happy customers, you will have a considerable lead over competitors. Keep your customers happy and encourage them to build your brand.

Is rural only a state of mind? What can marketers do to benefit from the new, inclusive India?

India has witnessed a remarkable growth story in the recent years and has brought about drastic changes in the lives and livelihoods of rural Indians. The Rural Indian is no more a distant poor Indian living somewhere in an unheard place. The advent of wireless and mobile technology has changed the way rural Indians live. It has not only enabled significant social, financial and economic inclusion, but also led to the creation of a strong ecosystem and thriving business models which in turn has lead to the creation of disruptive value at the bottom of the pyramid.

As an economy, India is seeing a decentralisation of Mumbai’s centre of gravity or let’s say decentralization of all metros and the real estate scenario reflecting just that given the pace at which erstwhile distant rural suburbs are now being seen as future cities. A case in point can be Panvel on the outskirts of Mumbai and Gurgaon in the north of India.

This works as a great opportunity for Marketers as they can now create a unified design narrative which allows them to set up the lifestyle proposition and further translate the core premise into visual branding, communication cues and activation.

New Rules of Engagement: Changing Expectations of Brand+Customer Interactions, your view?

Customer engagement has come a long way and a lot has changed in the world of customer engagement, but the one thing which remains constant is the brand’s inherent the desire to find and retain loyal and satisfied customers.

Marketing hasn’t changed in a 100 years, but the tools have. What do marketers need to do to survive the next 10 years?

The rise of mobile, coupled with an evolving, more web 2.0 like marketplace will present a vastly different communications landscape going forward. To rise to this challenge, Marketing and Brand Managers will need to think like their technology counterparts and there will be little surprise if we see marketing guys wearing two hats- that of a brand custodian and an IT specialist. Rising to the challenge will also entail many changes in old processes, from compensation to measurement. Whether you’re ready depends in part on what you do now.

We are taking the lead in the use of technology to have a lasting impact and be a sales enabler. iPad and Mobile apps help us connect with customers on the move, and our platform agnostic website anchors prospective customers and motivates them to spend more time looking at properties online. The website opened up the company to International home buyers who could not only view sample flats of properties from a 360 degree vantage point but also call us for free via integrated IP-based calling that is connected to our 24X7 multi-lingual call centre, which is trained to handle specific campaign-related enquiries.

This revamped and innovative website contributes significantly to improve and surpass the promises we make to our customers. The leads we convert to site visits are greeted by high-tech multi-touch kiosks, and we plan to build on the experience with WOW factors like virtual reality in the near future. This immediate availability of facts at your fingertips extends the transparency we are so well known for into the digital space.

Today social media is the preferred mechanism to connect with both individuals and corporate entities. We use a two-pronged approach to social media. First, we use it to build communities of like-minded individuals, without an overt brand presence. This allows for a lot of creative flexibility and the ability to co-create products by crowd-sourcing trends and preferences.

We also use it to convey rich multimedia content transparently and are probably the first real estate brand in the country to have branded youtube channel, which has sets dedicated to walkthroughs, news about the brand and project updates. We run contests on google +and linked that allow us to connect with diverse customers, and support our on-ground activations. Our flickr and Pinterest galleries are also popular as they are visual media.

Our on-ground consumer engagement activities are complemented by contests run on social media platforms- this not only build a positive association but also increasingly creates engagement opportunities with key prospective customers.

Our advanced online listening tools crawl the web to help us understand conversations about industry, brands and ourselves, allowing for both personal and one-to-many responses to comments and queries in the online space.

For any of our properties, design is a very engaged process spanning 12- 18 months. The design principles that guide the development of the master plan are carried through to the product proposition and customer communication. Our engagement is over an extended timeline spanning the lifecycle of a project and has been fairly successful – we have added design or ‘success by design’ as the fourth pillar for our brand.

Profile: Girish Shah heads the Sales and Marketing vertical at Godrej Properties (GPL). Since he took over the brand in November 2010, Girish and his team have been instrumental in establishing a sharp marketing & brand vision for the business.
Girish has also successfully established a global sales & distribution network by setting up overseas sales offices and signing on international partners for GPL. In addition to his key role of marketing & sales, Girish is also in charge of managing the Development Manager Operations for some of the Vikhroli developments of GPL including the highly successful Godrej Platinum.
A management graduate from the University of Mumbai, Girish is also an accomplished Speaker and Writer at many Domestic and International Marketing and Leadership forums.


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