Every marketing course I’ve taken, all the case studies – global or Indian, were primarily around FMCG brands – from Coca Cola (or Heineken) to cookies and cereals. As far as I can recollect, not a single professor used examples of real estate brands. And thus, it never occurred to a 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 large-scale TV adverts 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 used branding techniques in the form of sales brochures, billboards and newspaper ads to push out their communication. And that was it. It wouldn’t take more than a 3-member brand team to push this kind of communication out every month. What could one sell? Size, location or price -and in the most uninspiring ways possible. I’d see quarter page ads in an inside page reading – “A place that you can call home, now with an indoor & outdoor swimming pool and a jogging track built only for residents”, or it was price-led, “Book today for a price you can’t get tomorrow, a price exclusively for you.”
Over time we’ve seen this industry evolve, albeit slowly. The realization that maybe a website would be a good idea, and then that became the competitive edge for RE brands – who can create a fancy website and put most of their information uniquely. I remember my mentor at the agency in 2015 telling me to capitalize on this new realization. Everyone wanted a website, and they are ready to pay.
But that’s where it stagnated. No one wanted to sell campaigns, nor did the brands allocate serious marketing budgets.
Cut to today and with this digital uprise, an otherwise boring industry is filled with endless possibilities. With 3D videos, AR/VR taking over the user experience, video walkthroughs and massive dependency on capturing the audience on digital channels – today, real estate is a huge player in this digital world. Currently, your-space (my existing company), gets 90% of their leads from digital sources. The whole shared economy (co-living & coworking) is dependent on digital today.
Even brokerage firms, commercial and residential listing platforms are putting in marketing dollars into digital channels for pushing themselves out there.
A very interesting campaign that genuinely peaked interest in this sector was done by Square Yards. The campaign was primarily OOH-based, with bold statements around finding a home, that was replicated on digital / complimented by a social media push. It had a slight similarity to Indigo Airlines, they used sexual innuendos and matched it with buying a home. Beautifully crafted messages that really caught one’s attention. What really caught on was the negative sentiment of many sensitive Indians on social media which helped enhance the reach of the campaign to thousands and as I understand, pushed website visits to mind-boggling numbers. What a feast for those digital marketing executives waiting to remarket the life out of those users 🙂
The kind of content that WeWork has put out in the last two years to ensure their workspaces are safe is super interesting, relatable and engaging. They’ve ensured that their members or potential clients are in a safe space with the use of simple, clean content. You run through any of their social pages and you’d forget it’s a real estate brand altogether.
The kind of video content that has been created by Phoenix Kessaku is fantastic – sitting at the luxury of my home, I could view every single corner of Phoenix Kessaku’s building, mock homes, club house, infinity pool and more. It was a delight and made a salesperson’s life so much easier. The further you look, there are real-time property tours on the horizon, and that just makes one extremely bullish about this sector.
With all of these changes and trends in real estate, it does seem that people can now look forward to real estate brands and their work, and also look up to them for inspiring digital innovation in the years to come.
Keep an eye out for my brand (your-space) as well, and all of us in the real estate space – you’ll be amazed to see what’s going to come. I’m also secretly hoping Netflix releases more lucrative real estate shows like Selling Sunset in India and glorifies the space.
This article is authored by Shaunik Sachdev, Chief Marketing Officer, your-space.