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Brand, Real Estate Developers and NASSCOM

Brand, Real Estate Developers and NASSCOM

What a real estate developer wants?

  1. Deals – Land, Redevelopment, Joint Venture, Joint Development
  2. Money – Institutional/Bank Debt, Public Equity, Private Debt, Private Equity
  3. Customers – Buy, Leases

What is the single most important thing which will bring all the three to a developer?

BRAND

Brand

Advantage:

  • Better bargaining power with suppliers – land owners, societies or contractors
  • Better bargaining power for cost of funding and ROI to investors
  • Higher pricing capability

Buy cheap and sell costly is possible when a BRAND does business. This is why a brand commands a premium. Be it real estate or any other business.

Even a brand can attract the best of talents.

But branding is not what it is usually believed it to be.

Brand means:

Fair & transparent dealing, a commitment backed by trust, following financial prudence, delivery as committed, no hidden shocks or cost and help when needed even after sales is complete. Employees going out of the way to solve customer problems.

The brand is not a company logo and stationery, it has nothing to do with brand ambassador, posh office the company operates from, uniform company employee wears or event the company sponsors.

Any activity done by a company merely to sale will not create the brand, but every activity the company does to help existing and potential customers will create the brand.

“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

(Source book: ‘Launch’ by Michael Stelzner)

Brand means company culture reflected from every aspect of the enterprise. Branding does not need an advertising agency, it needs a customer passionate CEO.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com is the living example of what a passionate CEO can and should do. He is now on a life mission to spread happiness across the globe. He believes that,

“Companies with higher sense of purpose outperform by 400%.’’

Real Estate developers observed one day strike in protest of suicide by one of the prominent developers in Thane. They blame and perhaps rightly so the delay by Govt. in building permissions and existence of huge corruption.

Agreed.

However, as a representative body what is the role of industry association? I have never seen MCHI doing any good work to either build the good image of the industry or coming out with a best business practice policy for their members. They have a grievance cell, but no public information on how many complaints and against whom the complaints have been received and what action have been taken.

Builders today are known for delay in project delivery, unethical & corrupt business practices, no transparency in square feet, they sell to the buyers, not offering conveyance as per statutory requirements, selling the project before all approvals are in place, lack of customer focus or sensitivity, over borrowing, lack of financial prudence, increase in NPAs and many more brand destroying practices.

Members conduct destroy the brand of the industry that too when no action is taken against the errant members.

Isn’t it the duty of the industry association to;

  • Build good perception about the industry,
  • Help & educate members in adopting best practice,
  • Educate home/office buyers about how to deal with their members to safeguard own interest (SEBI’s investor education programs is the clue)

All the above initiatives will greatly enhance the image not of the MCHI but of the entire industry.

However, we see MCHI active Only and only during property exhibitions as if their only focus is helping their members to sell.

Building brand is the joint responsibility of the both – an enterprise for the self and its industry association for the industry it represents.

Indian IT Industry is US $ 14 bn in 2015 while Indian real Estate Industry was at US $ 93 bn in 2014 and is expected to reach US $ 180 by by 2020.

The size of both these industries is significant. But look at the website of MCHI and NASSCOM. Though MCHi is not representing all India real estate developers, but when MCHI is at this level what we can expect from other cities and housing associations in the country?

Web sites are the indications of roles both industry associations are playing in promoting and creating an image for the industry.

“ Nasscom played a significant role in establishing a brand image for India in global software services market.”  Prof  Subhash Bhatnagar of IIM-A writes in his paper India’s Software Industry.

Regular seminars, conferences, knowledge repositories, magazine, setting up of business standards and practices, disciplinary action, etc etc many things an industry association can do and should do in promoting the industry and parallelly uplifting the members to the best business practice standards.

Real Estate entrepreneurs and industry associations should introspect what ails their industry. What should have been done and not done? Reimagine your business practices, reimagine your brand building exercises, reimagine the role of industry associations.

NASSCOM is the perfect example to follow if this significant industry wants to grow with dignity.

At the cost of repetition, member and industry associations both must read and act on the following wisdom.

“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

(Source book: ‘Launch’ by Michael Stelzner)

Sunil Gandhi
Sunil Gandhi

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