Advertorial: Open Avenues

Innovating in Real Estate Marketing

Girish Shah, CMO, Godrej Properties
Godrej 101, Gurgaon
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Girish Shah heads the Sales and Marketing vertical at Godrej Properties (GPL) and has been instrumental in setting new benchmarks in innovative real estate marketing, along with his team. He has also successfully established a global sales and distribution network. Prior to this assignment, Girish held leadership roles at Reckitt-Benckiser, Johnson & Johnson, Reliance and the UB Group.

What are people looking for when buying a home? How do you reach out to people with different criteria?
Simple comforts of life are what most customers look for while buying a home and that will not change even in the future. People today prefer an all-encompassing location which can take care of all their needs: be it work, play, live or eat. At Godrej Properties, our aim is to provide a holistic living experience to our customers.

While there are the traditional mediums of print, outdoor, radio and television, we are reaching out to customers through various innovative, on-ground brand activations and sponsoring shows that are in synergy with the company’s broad engagement objectives. We have introduced numerous customised consumer engagement programs to connect with customers from various backgrounds, cultures, demographics and regions. To enhance brand recall, we have defined a few platforms that we will associate with, such as golf, theatre, art and music, and use these mediums to reach out to audiences. The company will continue to foray into these spaces across cities and associate itself with key events based on these initiatives.

We have also centralised some core branding and CRM processes while giving more autonomy to all our regions. This helps in providing our customers a more seamless experience when they deal with us. To add to this, we also believe in the widespread use of technology to save on both time and cost – to that effect, we have made significant investments in upgrading the consumer journey. We are taking the lead in the use of technology to have a lasting impact and be a sales enabler. Tablet and mobile apps help us connect with customers on the move, and our platform-agnostic website anchors prospective customers and motivates them to spend more time looking at properties online.

What, according to you, sets Godrej Properties apart from its competitors?
At Godrej Properties (GPL), we believe in homes that provide a holistic living experience to all end-users, be it a customer who has bought it for personal use or an investor who sees it as an asset. At the end of the day, there is someone going to use that house to stay and spend precious moments of his life with his family in the house. So, for us, what really matters is creating homes that suit the needs of buyers and stand tall for generations.

What is your strategy to help Godrej Properties reach new heights?
GPL’s constant emphasis on innovation and design-led thinking has been the key to our success. What makes Godrej Properties a success today is our capital-light asset model and business model based on outsourcing. While conceptualisation, design, marketing and sales are functions handled by us internally, the land is acquired through joint ventures with landowners and construction work is outsourced. This has helped us keep our balance sheet light and expand rapidly across 12 cities in the country today.

Can you tell us in brief about some of Godrej Properties’ most exciting ongoing projects?
As a company, we have a diversified portfolio spanning cities and segments including residential, commercial and township projects. Godrej Properties is currently developing projects spread across approximately 10.67 mn. sq. m. (115 mn. sq. ft.) in 12 cities.

With the recent launch of our flagship project, The Trees, we have added hospitality and retail to this list. The Trees will house premium office space, residential towers, high-street retail and five star hospitality - all centred around a large landscaped park.

Some of our ongoing residential projects are:

• The Trees, Mumbai
• Godrej Vihaa, Mumbai
• Godrej Prime, Mumbai
• Godrej Infinity, Pune
• Godrej Sky, Byculla
• Godrej 101, Gurgaon
• Godrej Azure, Chennai
• Godrej Prana, Pune
• Godrej Aria, Gurgaon
• Godrej Platinum, Bangalore
• Godrej E-City, Bangalore

What are your success mantras?
At Godrej Properties, it has been our endeavour to provide the highest level of service to our customers at all levels of interaction with us, be it the product or service. Real estate is a business based on trust and relationships and it is how you nurture these relationships to create a seamless experience for customers that will define the success of any organisation.

On a personal note, can you tell us a little about your family?
We are a small family of three. My wife Radhika is a tea sommelier and runs her own tea venture ‘Radhika Fine Teas’ and my teenage daughter Shloka is an accomplished dancer.

Is there anything you like to do in your free time? How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional life?
Maintaining work-life balance is always a challenge but my family is my strength. Radhika, despite her busy work schedule makes sure that we always manage to find family time. Whenever we get that little extra time, we set off on a short trip together or catch a play or a rock concert together.

Do you have any advice for aspiring youngsters who are looking for a career in realty marketing?
The rules of customer engagement are changing and evolving with each passing day, however the one thing that will always remain constant amidst this dynamism is a brand’s innate need to find and retain loyal customers.

Today, a marketer’s job does not end once a sale is made and spreads across a larger timeline spanning not only the lifecycle of a product but even beyond that. The rise of the mobile, coupled with an evolving virtual marketplace, will present a vastly different communications landscape going forward and the real challenge for brand managers in the near future will be to think like technology guys. They will have to play the dual role of a Brand Custodian and IT Specialist.

(Advertiser-Sponsored Feature: A Marketing Initiative)