Brand Audit: Real estate is neither known for brand campaigns nor for bold advertising that is not seeking sales measurable ROI. The latest TVC of Hosuing.com is hence seen as market disruption that has compelled even the critics to talk about it. Track2Realty brand audit finds that there could have been no better statement of brand turnaround of Housing.com than this TVC.
In an upwardly urban young couple’s life when the wife is too engrossed with her cellphone the husband thinks, “Bade Badle Badle Se Hain Tere Action, Kya Tujhe Mila Hai Mujhse Badhiya Option?”(Your actions have changed. Did you get a better option than me)?
And when the wife replies to end his suspension, “Ek Nahin Do Do Mil
Gaye,”(Not one but I have got two options) the husband is in shock. The situational comedy then unfolds to jubilation as the wife shares she has zeroed in on two prospective houses at Housing.com.
This is definitely not an ordinary real estate advertising by any stretch of imagination. It instantly connects on an emotional level with every young urban couple. The musical sitcom advertising has in it a little bit of every young urban couple’s life where the wife is independent & empowered to take decisions. The husband is also conscious that he can’t afford to take his better half for granted.
In a sales driven and measurable ROI dictated environment of the Indian real estate, the ad campaign comes as a market disruption. It is a result of great thought, deeper understanding of the urban housing realities and a bold statement that the company has not only been witness to a turnaround (after controversies of the past) but also confident enough to gamble now to stay ahead of the competition curve.
Some facts that seem to suggest why this TVC reflects the market reality:
A joint study by Track2Media Research & MarkEquity finds 70% buyers buy products that they could relate to or connect with emotionally
In Top 10 cities 74% women are catalyst to home purchase, either as decision maker or influencer
66% married women taking lead in family home buying
13% married women are major contributor in home buying
In double-income young couples, 84% women are directly involved in home purchase
70% women than 58% men prefer real estate as first investment
Despite these supporting facts, the advertising across the stakeholders of Indian real estate has mostly lacked emotional connect. There has been so much of focus to generate the sales leads that the brand campaigns have never been a priority, often seen as money guzzler. No one is bothered to gamble with the medium term or long term outlook. The job at hand is to justify the expenses and generate the sales lead.
And it is here that the TVC is being hailed even among the advertising professionals, who always asked for breathing creative freedom in this business. The campaign reflects an emerging theme borne out of the growing financial independence and enhanced digital footprint of women – not only are they key decision makers in the home-buying process, they are also showing the world the new way to choose a house.
Starring Vicky Kaushal and Kiara Advani, the communication targets the millennial home-seeker in major cities in India. The campaign draws insight from a consumer behaviour study conducted by Housing.com, wherein the trend shows that women participate in equal measure during home search and in fact are found to be more diligent, rational and practical in their approach than men.
The study finds that the involvement of women between the age group of 18 and 34 (millennials) is growing rapidly in property-related decisions. In 2016, women users accounted for 51% of the sessions online, while men accounted for 49%. In 2018, women account for 54% of online sessions on Housing.com, and the share of men in this regard has fallen to 46%.
This campaign is hence launched to celebrate the increasing participation of women in the home buying journey and at the same time to showcase Housing.com‘s Smart Search Technology that enables users to find their dream home by providing in-depth information in a structured and effortless manner.
It helps users to quickly and efficiently compare price trends by locality, identify nearby amenities in the neighbourhood such as schools, hospitals, supermarkets and ATMs among others and find customised home listings of their choice be it in the luxury, affordable or ready-to-move-in segments. The campaign has been created around the need for focussed search in a quick and efficient manner.
Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, and produced by Chrome Pictures, the campaign is built around an endearing dynamic between a husband and wife, with the wife playing a critical role in the home search process. The ad is weaved around a situational comedy involving a couple on what is meant to be a typical morning. The narrative evolves into a pleasant surprise in the end, with the man doffing his hat to his wife – “Ghar Dhoondhna Koi Inse Seekhe”.
Janmenjoy Mohanty, Regional President – North and East Lowe Lintas said, “Our first set of commercials for Housing.com reflects an emerging theme born out of the growing financial independence and enhanced digital footprint of women – not only are they key decision makers in the home-buying process, they are also showing the world the new way to choose a house. That is why we say, “Ghar Dhoondna Koi Inse Seekhe”.
Requesting anonymity due to clash of business interest, the creative head of a Mumbai-based ad agency admits that the TVC of Housing.com promises to be a trend setter, if it works for the company in its overall brand positioning. According to him, there has been so much clutter around the real estate marketing campaigns that it is not easy to differentiate the campaigns of various companies, forget creating any emotional connect with the brand.
“I think Housing.com, being written off by the critics after controversies in the past, has already done a turnaround. This TVC probably is to announce to the world that they have a brand vision beyond mere sales goal. If other competing realty portals follow such campaigns, it would be acceptance of thought leadership edge of Housing.com within the sector. And if not, Housing would be seen as market leader in the collective consciousness of home buyers,” says the creative head.
Real estate has traditionally not been known for best brand campaigns. The ad campaign definitely raises many questions, like how did this group conceptualize the present TVC? Was it a conscious decision to go for brand campaign than sales campaign? What tangibles/intangibles they had in mind?
In an exclusive interview with Track2Realty Snehil Gautam, Group Marketing Head, Housing.com explains that the campaign draws insights from a consumer behaviour study, wherein the trend shows that women participate in equal measure during the home search process and are, in fact, found to be more diligent, rational and practical in their approach than men. The study discovered that the involvement of women between the age group of 18 and 34 (millennials) is growing rapidly, in property-related decisions.
“A brand campaign was conceptualised to celebrate the increasing participation of women in the home buying journey and at the same time, to showcase Housing.com‘s Smart Search Technology that enables users to find their dream home by providing in-depth information, in a structured and effortless manner. We have been doing sales campaigns across the year, around tactical benefits. However, for a deeper brand connect and saliency impact, a brand campaign was needed,” says Snehil.
That said, the fact of the matter is that brand campaigns are costly propositions. The campaign aims to target the millennial home buyer in major cities in India. It has been amplified across TV, print, digital, radio, cinema, DTH and outdoor media. The total spend across platforms, is estimated to be around INR 35 crores, with a major thrust on television, followed by digital.
Does it indeed connect with the end users the way Housing.com team would like to position? More importantly, how far has it connected with the women TG? Taran Deep, a woman marketing communication professional and Director of Uplifto gives her vote of confidence to the campaign. According to her, the campaign today is a discussion point in urban households where the women are feeling proud, and actually teasing the men at home, with reference to this campaign.
“As a woman and also as a marketing communication professional I would definitely give my appreciation to this brand campaign. And I am not just saying because it has been ahead of the branding thought process of a business like real estate. The fact is that if a campaign turns out to be a talking point within the families, and that too for the life’s costliest purchase, it has indeed hit a bull’s eye. The top of the mind recall would definitely goad the consumers to Housing.com as first choice for property search,” Taran Deep explains.
Though the present campaign is focussed on the end users and their experiences, within the industry it has never been easy to forget that Housing.com has been in unwanted controversies after the exit of its founder and CEO, Rahul Yadav. As a matter of fact, the critics had started writing it off. The turnaround was therefore needed around a strong brand philosophy.
Snehil maintains that the marketing goal was to position Housing.com as a superior offering, by showcasing the smart search technology that puts home buyers in control of their home search process.The goal hence has been to position Housing.com as a superior home search platform and eventually become a preferred choice for the consumers and partners to buy, sell or rent a property.
“Housing.com was formed on the philosophy of “Look Up”,that is to deliver optimism in the real estate sector. As a brand, we have always stayed true to this philosophy and that has helped Housing.com emerge as a very strong player in the category. Housing.com is India’s most innovative online real estate portal. From being the first one to introduce verified listings to celebrating women’s participation in home search, we have always been a thought leader in the category,” says Snehil.
Speaking on the growth in terms of revenue, Mani Rangarajan, CBO, Housing.com says,“We have been very focused on business and our numbers reflect the same. Our revenue y-o-y in FY18 grew at 125% and we have already achieved a growth of 95% y-o-y in H1FY19. Our listings on the platform in H1FY19, have shown a robust growth of 90%. The brand campaign will further reinforce our promise of delivering unparalleled value to our partners and customers.”
Real estate property listing portals in India reflect a cluttered market place. Claims & counter claims apart, the quest to emerge as the market leader has more often than not been juxtaposed to the sales goal. After all, there is no clear winner in the space and even the top lines hardly reflect the stress over the bottom lines.
In such a complex market reality, it is not easy for any property portal to raise its hand as the technology leader, and make bold decisions to focus on brand. Housing.com has nevertheless strived to create an unmatched experience for home buyers through a campaign that is focussed on consumer connect.
Needless to add, what matters more than the Smart Search Technology tools like Neighbourhood Map View, Locality Price Trends, Featured Collections and the industry first – Natural Language Based Search, is to connect emotionally with the lifestyle realities of today’s young upwardly mobile urban home buyers. After all, the young couple somewhere see their own reflection in the protagonists during their home search journey.
Track2Realty is an independent media group managed by a consortium of journalists. Starting as the first e-newspaper in the Indian real estate sector in 2011, the group has today evolved as a think-tank on the sector with specialized research reports and rating & ranking. We are editorially independent and free from commercial bias and/or influenced by investors or shareholders. Our editorial team has no clash of interest in practicing high quality journalism that is free, frank & fearless.
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