Publication Name: Realty Plus
Date: August 2015
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Nick Talbot, Global Design & Innovation Head, Tata Elxsitalks about the brand’s association with Brash.
Importance of brand building for the real estate sector?
A respected brand image is a builder/ developer's most valuable asset. The business of building and selling real estate can be a constant, never-ending struggle against incredible market odds. In the final analysis, it is a builder's name that inspires confidence and sells his projects. He also establishes his reputation by a long-standing presence on the property market. This matters a lot, because there is a high dropout rate among builders who cannot deliver consistently or are not equal to the fierce competitiveness of the market.
In real estate, particularly buyers are more cautious because most times, people put in their lifetime earnings not in just a product- but a dream. Branding is an effective way to facilitate the growth of business, a good brand in the real estate sector also gets you a better price over your competitor which in turn leads to higher profits. Branding also positions the development justifying price premiums and helps in projecting a lifestyle to the potential buyer.
We feel that brand building in the real estate sector is important as its not only about the identity you create but the strategic insights that we discover and the ‘white space’ we identify for each of our clients – this ensures a unique positioning for the developer/development, guaranteeing stand out in a crowded market. In real estate the product will often be ‘intangible’ for many years to come, therefore the brand and subsequent brand experience delivered through considered and planned customer journeys, across many touch points, including marketing suites, becomes even more pertinent.
How branding and design can be a catalyst for the real estate industry?
With the ever expanding middle class group, and dramatic increase in purchasing power, real estate industry is on a steady growth curve. Increase in real estate price is primarily augmented by infusion of branding in various aspects of real estate. Branding curves out a niche for a particular real estate project and thus helps in targeting the right audience.
It helps to build trust and insight into the beliefs of the developer. Equally with an increasing number of projects being launched, creating standout call is the need of the hour. The consumer is buying into a dream and for that they need reassurance. Brand helps the consumer to visualise that dream.
On the other hand design helps to express the brand experience. It can help the real estate sector to come up with more customer centric and engaging solutions that would set the real estate giants be a cut above the rest. It creates a vision that customers can align themselves to, which translates into tangible collaterals and physical spaces that the consumer can experience.
We feel that design enhances the overall product offering. Our design is rooted back into the strategic work that has been created and the brand opportunity that has been identified, everything we design has a meaning and a reason behind it. Design has a story to tell, and everything that leaves our studio is beautiful and crafted unique to the client. It is more then skin deep – it shapes experiences and creates emotional impact. When the story is communicated well, and the brand experience is brought to life, it sets the development a part. And often can contribute to justifying a price premium in the mind of the consumer or investor.
How India is becoming a key market destination for real estate businesses to invest and people from all over the world to live?
The Indian real estate sector is one the fastest growing sectors in the country after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 % over the next decade. In fact the Indian real estate market size is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. The centre’s move to relax the FDI in the sector, growth of the corporate environment, rapid urbanisation, positive demographics, increasing income levels are some of the main drivers of growth. International Real Estate giants like Blackstone Group LP, Morgan & Stanley investing in India bears a testimony to the fact that India is indeed a lucrative option for real estate sector.
As far as people globally showing interest to stay in India is concerned, it’s mainly due to the good quality of life, knowledge, influence, and economic activity which people can get in the country that are the key factors for them to opt to settle in India.
From the clients we work with and the market analysis we do, we are seeing a demand for quality finish and considered design across all demographics. As competition increases, consumers are demanding more. Developers across the board realise they have to up the ante, and focus on delivering, not just a quality product, but also a timely one. With this conscious rise in standards, it’s only natural the market will be seen as more attractive.
What is the current status of luxury real estate in India?
In the recent times, the demand for luxury homes has risen in metros and other major cities as a result of increase in purchasing power, increase in the affluent class, rising aspirations of buyers and the change in demographics. Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are the key markets in the country that one cannot miss out on.
Real estate developers are keen to bring in the element of global luxury into their projects. Even the Tier I & II cities are attracting property developers and architects on a global level. Real Estate giants are developing projects that would create finesse in luxury living by constructing group housing and residential condominium clubbing with international architects and establish the true meaning of world class living.
The latest trend in luxury housing is branded residences and golf townships. Leading developers in India are collaborating with renowned global luxury brands and hotel chains to develop branded luxury villas, flats and service apartments. Developers are looking for new ideas to attract the HNI’s attention and luxury livings.
Mumbai for instance witnessed an overall 30 % increase in luxury home sales past one year. While Bangalore has seen a rise of 35%. Also with increase in FDI Investment in India, has attracted lot of potential buyers from overseas to invest in the country.
Looking at all this, the luxury real estate market will certainly grow at a steady pace and India will remain a hot destination for investment for people around the globe.
Luxury, along with its synonyms, is also a much overused term in real estate. A cosmetic frill will be deemed as adding a touch of luxury. We have delved deep into what luxury really is and what the future holds. For example how many real estate brands can truly brag of craftsmanship, how many can offer provenance and a story that goes deeper and justifies the detail behind every design element? We work very closely with real estate developers to ensure their claim to ‘luxury’ is true luxury, as that sweet spot will help elevate the development above all others.
How does Mumbai real estate fair as compared to the rest of the country?
Mumbai is not just the financial capital but it is also the luxury capital of India. Although the city is constrained for space, it continues to dominate other property markets across India and remains the first choice for luxury brands, film stars, MNC’s and global conglomerates.
According to a recent survey, Mumbai has emerged as the top Indian city for property investments by NRIs in the UAE with Bangalore being the second most popular.
Though poor infrastructure is an issue in Mumbai and new cities like the NCR are coming up, but Mumbai is definitely not losing on this front. In fact, a lot of redevelopment projects in Mumbai are offering luxury residential houses. Also the city has its own aura for luxury living. Compared to rest of India, Mumbai still gives better returns on investment for the luxury real estate segment. With several upcoming and planned infrastructure projects, there would be more redevelopment and taller buildings to come up in future and Mumbai will continue to retain its top position in India's luxury realty market for coming few years.
How this partnership is helping real estate brands to compete in the global radar?
With Indian real estate companies aspiring to have a global presence and attracting a global clientele for their local and international markets, it is imperative that the brand (Corporate and project related) has to resonate with the same ambition. The brand therefore requires an in-depth understanding of the different global real estate markets, competitors and a diverse customer profile which can then be translated into a cohesive and differentiated brand.
While Brash has a unique approach, it energises businesses with brands. Brash’s process starts and ends with the client and the people the brand aims to inspire. With unrivalled experience in real estate across the globe, Brash can quickly grasp the challenge at hand for. While Tata Elxsi has expertise in creating compelling brand applications and experiences for its international clients. Taking the above into consideration and combining it with Tata Elxsi’s on ground insight and capabilities, we come out with an award winning partnership.
The Real Estate market in India and the importance of branded developments. And how this partnership is helping this sector in specific?
The Indian real estate sector is one the fastest growing sectors in the country after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 % over the next decade. The growth of the corporate environment and the demand for office space as well as urban and semi-urban accommodations are the main drivers of growth.
Real Estate sector is extremely competitive in India and builders are emphasising on the importance of brand building and design to give that edge factor to their properties. As buyers who have no experience in purchasing undeniably are being attracted by branded real estate giants as they are more trusted, have more credibility, branded properties would fetch more returns on investments for both builders and the buyers.
Thus, there is tremendous opportunity for branding and design services for Real Estate in India.
Where the Tata Elxsi and Brash duo really adds value and stands apart from the rest is that we focus on key areas to maximise the business value, we don’t just design a logo – we create strategic solutions that deliver impact. The answer may be a tweaked brand positioning, a refreshed brand identity or a whole new bold experience. We offer tailored solutions to each individual client.
Highlight Brash and Tata Elxsi’s partnership, the work they have recently executed?
Tata Elxsi in association with Brash announced a major strategic partnership in 2012. The aim of the partnership was to provide businesses in India the best of both the worlds, leverage the international experience, expertise and learning’s together.
Through this exclusive partnership, while Tata Elxsi will focus to build Brash business in India, Brash will represent Tata Elxsi’s portfolio of design services throughout its international offices such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Singapore.
We have executed several projects in the hospitality and the real estate sector in the last two years. There is a genuine collaboration across every stage of the project for our clients. For example for our recently executed work on a luxury residential project - The Imperial Edge in Mumbai for SD Corp, while Brash drove the strategic brand and creative direction resulting in a differentiated brand positioning, realised through the brand identity, look and feel, as well as signature collateral and advertising, the experience centre and customer experience design was executed by Tata Elxsi.
Another example of our collaborative work efforts is for the St. James’ Court – A Taj Hotel, London where Tata Elxsi and Brash helped design and articulate the brand strategy, brand identity, signage and way finding design for the brand. While designing we ensured to retain the iconic status of the heritage hotel but with relevance to contemporary business and leisure travellers, position it as a contemporary brand, and create a proposition that stands out against competition while retaining the distinctive feeling of Taj. Over 100 collaterals to be used across various consumer touch points for the luxurious hotel were designed and developed.
In Delhi, we have most recently launched, Lotus Greens, a new developer, with a vision to do things differently, from an environmental, social and ethical perspective. Taking a clean and fresh approach, we developed the brand strategy and identity, taking it through to collateral, resulting in a very successful launch last September. Brash and Tata Elxsi are currently working on a development of theirs in Noida after successfully delivering the corporate brand last year.
We’ve also worked on projects outside of real estate and hospitality, including the identity and brand for the Indian Super League team, Kerala Blasters.
Where do you see this relationship 5 years from now? What will be your focus of operation?
The partnership is growing currently in a very progressive way. India will definitely be our key focus market as there is humungous opportunity in this country. We would also like to work on more national scale projects where we can work on showcasing our-end-to-end capabilities.
Share some interesting observations / what’s unique about the Indian real estate market that the partnership has witnessed?
The Indian real estate market is in the midst of a renaissance; with new projects being announced every day, the industry is expected to witness a huge growth in both commercial and residential real estate sector.
Indian real estate industry ended in 2014 on a stable note in comparison to how it started the last year. The industry is going through a rapid midway phase between policy actions and anticipatory development of the 100 new smart cities.
India’s economic condition has observed an improvement amplifying the rise of the GDP growth leading to increased spending power of individuals. Real estate scenario in 2015 will largely depend on faster implementation of the projects, adherence to project timelines, delivery as per committed schedule, improved quality of construction and finishes, coping up with ever growing expectations and demands of the stakeholders which include clients and investors.
Brand building will definitely gain pace in the current year, with the increase in the development of high end projects. The reason behind creating a brand is to capture a specific mind space of the target audience, thus indirectly helping in the growth of sales figure.
Branding adds a premium aesthetic quotient to the property promising better lifestyle that in a way helps in increasing the price value and appeal to a larger segment of the target group.
What is the nature of the strategic partnership between Brash and Tata Elxsi?
Tata Elxsi has partnered with UAE - based Brash to offer brand consultancy and integrated design services in India, GCC and Asian markets. According to this tie-up, Tata Elxsi will be building Brash’s business in India and Brash will be representing Tata Elxsi's design services portfolio throughout its international offices.
The strategic partnership enables clients in India to get the best of world, international strategic and design expertise, coupled with on ground insights and execution. The partnership will offer clients just that. It’s a true collaboration where each party plays to its strengths.
Apart from real estate, the partnership would also look at catering to the sectors like Hospitality and Urban Environments to provide branding, graphics, signage and service / experience design services in GCC and other Asian countries.
As a leading design and technology company, tell us the way you will be supporting Brash in this partnership?
While Brash brings international expertise and knowledge in developing Brand Strategy and development, Tata Elxsi being the end-to-end design services company will help Brash to take the Brand across various consumer touchpoints. Be it through developing collaterals, designing the signage or way-finding for environments, or through service and experience design. The partnership will attempt to leverage each other’s strengths to the fullest and help Brands to compete in the global real estate radar. The partnership aims to help the real estate customers to create a distinctive place for themselves in this fiercely competitive space.