Moving away from a scenario where buyers needed to negotiate their deals with mostly unorganized companies against the backdrop of an unregulated environment, the situation is now set to change as most builders are taking up brand-building as a serious task.
With builders gradually recognizing the need to have a strong brand value and enhance customers’ overall experience, buyers could now look forward to superior quality of construction, internal and external amenities, facility management services and post-possession services, among other things.
On the other hand, developers believe that brand-building will help them garner better pricing from the market participants, given the rising interest from private equity funds, unorganized companies considering joint development agreements and Reits (real estate investment trusts) being relaunched.
What’s for the buyers?
Given the fiercely competitive scenario among real estate developers in India, brand perception becomes a critical yardstick for potential investors, evaluating options in the Indian realty space.
Better services: Many leading developers have moved away from the traditional set-up, where a single sales/marketing team manages multiple functions and have created different teams within the overall sales and marketing gamut. For instance, on-site teams manage the initial booking formalities. Once the customer completes all the formalities, he is assigned a dedicated customer relations manager, who looks into the rest of the formalities, ranging from sending demand notices to processing of payments and paperwork at the time of key hand-over.
Developers have further split the formal sourcing function into different teams, comprising property agents, specialized workforce to manage the sales outreach, non-resident Indian clients and loyalty programmers. For instance, teams handling loyalty programmers interact with existing clients and seek references for expanding the customer base.
Superior construction quality and better amenities: As much of a developer’s credentials are driven by past track record, most companies keen on building a strong reputation will essentially focus on offering customers superior quality of construction and completing projects as per schedule. Additionally, buyers can also benefit from the peripheral facilities offered by developers including schools, swimming pools and clubs, among other things, all within a single gated township. In fact, most leading developer firms consider external facilities as a powerful branding tool to hard-sell their properties across several markets.
What’s for the developers?
Benefits from premium pricing are not restricted to buyers of residential units alone.
Developers believe that carrying a strong brand image will help them negotiate deals at a higher price compared with their unorganised or lesser-known counterparts. This sharpens their competitive edge and helps enhance their market value and brand image even in the international market.
Moreover, small-sized developers that are not well-known but own plots have started entering into joint development agreements with large companies to leverage upon the established brand value and proven track record of the latter. Both benefit from better pricing of the developed land. Private equity funds are also showing strong interest in the real estate sector, across top 10 cities. Additionally, high net worth individuals and financial institutions, which are keen to invest in the Indian property market, may see an avenue in the form of Reits that the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the capital market regulator, plans to reintroduce.
The way forward
Looking ahead, as the real estate market gathers greater momentum and newer projects are launched, the brand value of developer firms could emerge as an important benchmark, driving property purchase decisions for buyers. It would help buyers access key information about the builders’ track record, quality of completed projects and overall customer satisfaction.