Tag Archives: Brand Perception Audit Report

Simplifying a relative study of brand rating

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: In the process of brand rating team Track2Realty has encountered many critical reactions, often emanating from the dissatisfied developers who would like to define the brand metrics as per their convenience to stand at the top. Track2Realty Brand X Report 2016-17 hence tries to decode what is brand perception audit for the better understanding of the stakeholders. 

Realty Branding, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Property new, Home, Policy Advocacy, Activism, Mall, Retail, Office space, SEZ, IT/ITeS, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Project, Location, Regulation, FDI, Taxation, Investment, Banking, Property Management, Ravi Sinha, Track2Media, Track2RealtyThe real estate developers in India are, more often than not, having inwardly obsessed approach to deny that a study is a relative study. They live with the illusion that they understand exactly what their brand represents. However, such mirage may be more reflective of their aspirations for the brand, rather than the reality of public opinion.

Brand perception is owned and shaped by the consumers and not brands. Regardless of your medium, message or misunderstanding, whatever people are thinking and saying about your brand, that is your brand. 

The problem with most of the real estate brands in India is to perceive their customer’s perception as unreasonable. They maintain that consumers are only aware of a limited information about a brand when they are thinking about making decisions. This is myopic view of the brand and the market.

This school of thought fails to understand how conducting a brand perception survey is to assess the reality of market view about your brand, what brand attributes are preferred by the customers, and to identify how the customers competitively position your brand with the other competing brands in the marketplace. 

Track2Realty, on its part, tries to decode some of the myths surrounding the brand perception analysis. We are taking up some of the most common grouse & arguments and are offering a reality check for the better understanding of the brand perception. This may not be enough to stop the cribbing voices but nevertheless helps in making them understand about the study of brand, something that can help them if only the custodians of the brand are open to introspection and course correction:

Argument: Brand rating is just a perception.

Reality Check: Oh yes! Branding is always intangible and can’t be measured in absolute terms. So, basically it is about perception about a given brand than the measurement in terms of tangible and absolute numbers. Moreover, in a business where the large universe of the companies are not listed and even the debt is not reported on the books, any metrics applied will not calculate it in absolute numbers. We hence call it Brand ‘Perception’ Audit Report and not Brand Audit Report, since brand itself is all about perception. 

Argument: What is the basis of this ranking?

Reality check: The basis has been clearly defined through the metrics that has been employed to assess the performance of the brand. If only the developers look at these metrics and work out what causes spikes in the conversation around their brand, the perception will definitely change over time. Of course, the developers have to accept the reality that the brands rarely exist in isolation. Measuring the brand perception of your competitors can help you understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. The methodology and the metrics of evaluation are same for all the competing brands in the business.

Argument: I don’t think this brand rating has done justice with us.

Reality Check: Any study is a relative study and it is all the more challenging to evaluate something that is not tangible. Brand, after all, is not something that can be measured by any standards. It is a collective experience & perception of the public at large and hence we factor the public perception as the most important benchmark. Our jury board just evaluates what is already in the public domain and, more importantly, in the public perception.

Argument: Just look at our scale and what all we have achieved & sustained for such a long period of time.

Reality Check: Our brand rating in any given fiscal year is not about tracing the historical legacy but the performance of the brands in that fiscal year. While a sound track record definitely helps in having better top of the mind recall and positive public perception, the study on its part is always cautious to evaluate the performance of the said period only. Moreover, scale of operations is just one of the USPs of a brand.

Argument: No one has delivered more than us.

Reality Check: Size is not brand; failing which probably some of the largely sold FMCG products (say for instance, Patanjali) will be labeled as better brand than most of the multinational quality products. In terms of the real estate business also, size alone cannot determine the user experience or aspiration for the project or the developer. Delivery in the past is definitely no claim to fame when evaluating the performance of the brand in the given fiscal year.

Argument: Our sales figure shows who is Number One?

Reality Check: It is not the sales number that alone defines brand at any school of brand management and our brand study is no different. A developer might have sold a record number of units/spaces, but if the post purchase experience of the buyers is not positive then the developer does not stand as a credible brand. This is all the more true in a business like real estate where the product is sold much before it is manufactured. Sales figure indicates more about advertising clout and is critical linkage with the sales channel than the trust quotient of the brand.

Argument: We have won so many awards.

Reality Check: Excuse me! You are just a publicity hungry real estate business that believes in ‘beg, borrow or steal’.  Most awarded does definitely not mean most trustworthy in this business. Who does not know that in the business of real estate every award has a price tag and these are not credible endorsements? If you still feel buying so many awards entitle you as the best brand, please go ahead and display it on the billboards across the city. Please excuse us. Out brand study is not bothered about your award trophies.

Argument: Public perception is misleading. Our buyers are so high profile that they would not speak to such surveys.

Reality Check: Any survey is subject to random sampling and definitely not door-to-door survey among your high profile buyers. Hence, it does not necessarily mean that the researchers will speak to those buyers who have volunteered to be your brand ambassadors. If your brand is really strong and performing then the word of mouth publicity should be strong influencing factor beyond the only metrics of user experience. By the way we are open to suggestions, if any, for better methodology to evaluate the brands.

Track2Realty releases BrandXReport 2016-17

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

News Point: In the fifth edition of Track2Realy Brand X Report 2016-17, Sobha makes a hattrick of brand leadership. Godrej Properties is only developer to be in top 10 across the nation while Puravankara emerges as brand performer of the year, scaling up from 9th position to fourth position this year.

Track2Realty Brand X Report 2016-17, Brand perception audit report, Brand rating of Indian developers, India real estate news, Indian property market, Track2RealtyIn the fifth edition of rating and ranking the brand performance of the Indian real estate companies in the fiscal year 2016-17, developers like Sobha, Godrej, Puravankara, Embassy and Brigade have managed to improve their brand reputation in a challenging market environment. In a fiscal year where the sales figure might suggest a market crash, these brands have improved and consolidated their positioning.

Sobha steals the show this time around as the developer becomes the first real estate company in the country to make a hattrick of brand leadership. Prior to Sobha, only DLF could manage to be at the top of brand leadership for two consecutive years in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

In terms of the satisfaction index of the homebuyers also, Sobha continues to stand at the top followed by Godrej Properties and Puravankara. In a first of its kind global survey among the NRI buyers also, Sobha has been voted as best developer in top of the mind recall value. The NRIs also voted Godrej Proeprties and Puravankara as the second and third best developer to deal with.

The performer of the year is Bangalore-based Puravankara Ltd that has taken a giant leap from being 9th most admired national real estate brand to now 4th best developer across India. Puravankara also stands out as the 3rd best brand in South India. As a matter of fact, it has been rated ahead of some of the larger names like Godrej Properties, DLF and the Oberoi on certain defined metrics.

Nationally, the South Indian developers continue to top the brand leadership chart. Out of the top 10 national brands, 5 are from the South Indian market.

Godrej Properties in the only developer to be in the top 10 in all the four regions. However, the brand equity of another coroporate entity Tata Housing has taken a severe beating amidst plethora of consumer grievances and social media trial. The most striking brand upheaval has been noticed in North India where the slowdown, regulatory challenges and buyers’ grievances have taken a toll on the market leader DLF.

For the first time DLF shares the number one position in their home turf with a relatively smaller developer by market size, ATS. As a matter of fact, ATS sharing the number one position with DLF is the biggest news story in this part of thew world.

In North India, the customer-centricity elevates two developers, Gulshan Homz and Prateek Group, into the elite league of brand leadership for the first time this fiscal year. Mahagun continues to improve its brand positioning while another large size developer, Supertech, continues to lose its brand equity. SARE Homes also loses its brand leadership position in a significant manner.

In West India also, two new developers make their way into the top 10 list – Rustomjee and Kanakia Spaces. Godrej Properties stands at the top of the brand leadership, while Oberoi realty despite of its limited inventory stands close to Godrej at number 2. Lodha Group, with impressive sales figure that no other developer can match, loses its brand equity due to poor customer satisfaction index. Two strong entities, Mahindra Lifespaces and Kalapataru, could not retain their place in the brand leadership of the region this time around.

Two new entrants make their way into South India real estate as well with Salarpuria Sattva and Century India appearing into the list of top 10 brands for the first time. The most notable brand loser in the region has been Nitesh Estates that goes out of the list of the top 10 branded developers. Their poor consumer connect and increasing number of consumer grievances make them a case study in a brand’s fall from the grace. Tata Housing also loses its brand equity, like its brand loss at the national level, and drops out of the list of top 10 in the region.

No major brand upheaval has been noticed in the Eastern India. As a matter of fact, it continues to be the least brand conscious region. Overall, it has been challenging fiscal year for most of the developers across the country and the East zone is no different.

There has been no new entry into the list of top 10 residential brands. However, many of the emerging brands are knocking the doors hard and the challenging market environment is also putting pressures on the exisitng top brands. Some of these brands are facing the challenges of execution volume as well.

In office space segment, the market leader for the last four years, DLF, for the first times slips down to 5th position and Embassy Group becomes the top brand. Bangalore-based Salarpuria Sattva also makes entry into the top 10 brands in the segment for the first time.

Retail space has been the only segment where DLF could retain its leadership position, despite of losing its overall brand equity. The most giant leap nevertheless has been for the Phoenix Market City that has emerged as a serious challenger in the segment. The chain of malls has maintained decent performance across the country, both in terms of footfall, transactions and the satisfaction index of the visitors. Raheja Corp has also improved its performance in the segment.

Hospitality segment that has been long neglected due to the developers’ not seeing it as a profitable venture from ROI perspective has suddenly got more competitive. The sector seems to have woken up to the reality that the hotels in general and serviced apartments in particular can be a profitable proposition. It is also proving to be the brand drivers for the developers like Brigade, Embassy and Oberoi Realty. Eros Group also makes it to the top 10 list for the first time in the segment.

In super luxury segment, two of the corporate conglomerates – Godrej Properties and Tata Housing – make their entry into the top 10 brands. The surprise pack nevertheless has been Mumbai-based Rustomjee that got featured into the privileged brand list for the first time. Two other Mumbai-based developers – Sunteck Realty and Ahuja Group – got exited from the admired list of super luxury brands. Bangalore-based Sobha Ltd retains its leadership position but the brand performer in terms of making a giant leap has been Mumbai-based K Raheja Corp.

It has been a pretty flat year for the redevelopment space and no major brand differentiation was noticed. As a matter of fact, the nature of business is increasingly getting more challenging for the developers to use the segment as a brand dtiver. Only Omkar Realtors & Developers and Rustomjee could improve their brand positioning in the space during this fiscal.

In home finance segment, the focus of consumers is yet again shifting towards the PSU banks and SBI and PNB are the brand performers of the year. PNB Housing Finance, as a matter of fact, makes an impressive debut this time around. HDFC and Indiabulls nevertheless continue to hold the top two positions of brand leadership. GRUHA Housing Finance also makes it to the brand leadership chart. Tata Capital and HUDCO make exit from the elite list of top brands in the segment.

This year for the first time the study also looked into the senior housing segment from the perspective of brand driver for the developers. There is enough scope in this neglected sector and research suggests it can indeed be a brand differentiator for the developer.

The study also picked up some emerging brands that may not be otherwise into the top 10 in their given geographical region. These companies nevertheless are impressive in thier own right and are quite promising as the future brands. Some of them are, as a matter of fact, setting better examples of brand management than many of the larger developers. Their promising foray apart, they are still underdogs due to the sheer small size and limited inventory and/or geographical footprint.