By Shunick Sachdev
Every marketing course I’ve taken, and all the case studies—global or Indian, have been primarily about consumer goods brands—from Coca Cola (or Heineken) to cookies and cereal. As far as I can remember, not a single professor used examples of real estate brands. Thus, it never occurred to the marketer that real estate was even an option. It was always a dream to join the Nestles or Britannia’s of the world, and creating high-volume TV ads for them seemed like the pinnacle of a marketing career. Real estate was at the bottom of the list.
why? Because most real estate companies use branding techniques in the form of sales brochures, billboards and newspaper ads to spread their communications. And that it was. It wouldn’t take more than a 3 member brand team to drive this type of communication each month. What can be sold? Size, location, or price – and in the most uninspiring way possible. I see quarter page advertisements on an inside page that read – “A place you can call home, now has indoor and outdoor pool and running track built only for residents,” or the rate was paid, “Book today at a price you can’t get tomorrow, a price exclusively for you.”
Over time we have seen this industry develop, albeit slowly. The realization that maybe a website would be a good idea, then that became a competitive advantage for renewable energy brands – who could create a fancy website and put most of their information uniquely. I remember my mentor at the agency in 2015 telling me to take advantage of this new realization. Everyone wanted a website, and they are willing to pay.
But this is where it stagnated. Nobody wanted to sell campaigns, and brands didn’t allocate serious marketing budgets.
Cut to the day and with this digital development, the boring industry is filled with endless possibilities. With 3D videos, AR/VR taking over the user experience, how-to videos and a heavy reliance on audience engagement on digital channels – today, real estate is a huge player in this digital world. The entire shared economy (living together and working together) is based on digital today.
Even brokerages, commercial and residential listing platforms are putting marketing dollars into digital channels to propel themselves there.
A very interesting campaign that really reached the peak of interest in this sector was carried out by Square Yards. The campaign was primarily based on OOH, with bold statements about finding a home, which were digitally duplicated/supplemented by a push from social media. There was a slight similarity to Indigo Airlines, they used sexual innuendos and matched them with buying a home. Well-made messages that really caught one’s attention. What really caught my eye were the negative sentiments of many sensitive Indians on social media which helped boost the campaign’s reach to thousands and, as I understand, drove site visits to mind-boggling numbers. What a feast for those digital marketing executives who are waiting to remarket the lives of these users 🙂
The kind of content WeWork has been providing in the past couple of years to ensure the security of their workspaces is very interesting and can be linked and shared. They make sure that their members or potential clients are in a safe place with simple and clean content. You turn on any of their social pages and you will completely forget that it is a real estate brand.
The kind of video content created by Phoenix Kessaku is awesome – sitting in the luxury of my home, I can watch every corner of Phoenix Kessaku’s building, mock houses, club, infinity pool and more. It was a joy and made the life of a salesperson so much easier. The further you look, there are real estate tours looming on the horizon, and that makes one very optimistic about this sector.
With all these changes and trends in real estate, it seems that people can now look to real estate brands and their work, as well as look to them to inspire digital innovation in the coming years.
I also secretly hope that Netflix releases more lucrative real estate shows like The Sale of Sunset in India and Glory of Space.
-The author is Chief Marketing Officer, Your Space. The opinions expressed are subjective.