Realty Corner

Branding the Blocks

Darshana ParmarIshwar Parmar Group, which has been in real estate for 40 years, believes that the last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in the way business is promoted and in the buyer profile. DARSHANA PARMAR, Deputy Managing Director, iParmar Group, talks about the brand makeover that the company has opted for and how technology is an essential component for them.

 

Are young developers joining the family business or venturing on their own, playing a role in making the real estate segment dynamic today?

Real estate is a developing story today and most of the second generation has joined the family business, daughters and sons alike, with fresh new ideas. Global educational exposure has brought about some corporatisation.


Cite differences between developers of the older generation and the newer generation. Are there differences to be seen in terms of educational exposure, the global outlook and the new age business best practices?

The older generation has brought in a strong foundation and companies are a reflection of its people and policies. I see a lot of processes and standardisation coming in with the newer generation. HR policies are playing an important role in retaining talent within the company. The younger entrepreneurs have accepted and promoted online media and social networking as part of marketing and reaching out to customers. The newer generation is building on a solid foundation provided by our parents in their companies.


Recently, the iParmar group has gone for a brand makeover. Tell us something about it.

Ishwar Parmar Group has been in real estate for 40 years. In the last decade there has been a paradigm shift in the way business is promoted and in the buyer profile. We did an extensive in-house study to assess the group, market and our way forward. This involved that every employee is aligned with the goal. We conducted brand workshops in-house first before rolling out the brand. We wanted our logo to tell a story that is of legacy and of fresh ideas - a story of experience and yet refreshingly innovative. A committed team led by a visionary. That is what is represented by the new Ishwar Parmar Group Logo.


How important is branding especially for the real estate segment? What does the new branding suggest?

The real estate industry is rapidly transitioning from being an unorganised family business ownership to an organised professional corporate industry. Branding is a pivotal springboard that can assist in propelling your business forward and provide your product a competitive edge.

A well communicated USP, convincing product differentiation and building the right brand perception in the minds of customers helps drive sales, builds customer loyalty, increases brand value and above all serves as a catalyst for future business growth.

Simply put, branding is all about establishing an identity and becoming favourably recognised for it. My father, Mr Parmar, said in his speech at the launch, “Our new logo is literally a new face that reflects solidity, integrity, future focus, vision, energy and sheer passion of the group. It is a promise that in all that we undertake, we will always strive to Construct Greatness.”

In real estate, unlike the retail industry, you are not branding a particular product, but it’s all about conveying a company philosophy and management vision that establishes functional and emotional connect with the group in a consumer’s mind. Real estate being the single largest investment a consumer makes, favourable perception of a company plays a very important part.

And communicating how you want your company to be perceived is what makes branding essential. It conveys the positioning of your company in the market. It goes well beyond the physiological recognisable dimension of having a flashy logo, an attractive tagline or a catchy jingle. It involves delivering an authentic brand promise that connects rationally and emotionally with your consumer via consistent brand reinforcing. These are just some of the pieces that need to come together to ensure successful branding of a real estate company.


What were the key challenges faced while executing the branding exercise?

It was to establish the need for branding within the management team, which was a challenge. Having done this, defining the strategy for branding based on the authenticity of our vision, and clear communication of our company in two words was a challenge.


Elaborate on the vision that you have envisaged for the iParmar group and the many steps followed to take the group to that pedestal.

Our company was established as Ishwar Constructions Pvt Ltd in1975. We used iParmar Group as an encompassing brand in the 1990’s. The rebranding exercise we undertook as Ishwar Parmar Group involved a lot of effort and soul searching. All the senior management went to the thinking table to discover the philosophy and way forward for the company. It was an effort of over a year to understand ourselves and convey it internally within the company and then to the outside world. Every employee within our company has committed to Constructing Greatness with us and that’s what will make this vision achievable.

Ishwar Parmar Group wanted to appeal to the emotional quotient (EQ) as well as the intelligent quotient (IQ) of all stakeholders, namely employees, vendors, customers, business associates, media, industry peers and all other lives that we touch. In short, branding involved creating a positive perception to strengthen the EQ and IQ association of a stakeholder with the brand Ishwar Parmar Group.

The nature of branding in real estate has undergone a sea change. We believe that instead of selling plain brick and mortar structures, we need to promote active lifestyles, a vibrant community and better quality of life along with our homes.


You are responsible for introducing technology in the group. How has the use of tech streamlined operations in the organisation? What were the challenges that you faced while getting people to accept the use of ERP systems?

Technology is not limited merely to use of ERP within our company. Our entire Marketing and Sales is linked through software. At any given time, I can track a customer phone call, from what hoarding or newspaper it was made. We can hear how our sales team is taking to our customers. We use these recordings for training our telecalling and sales teams so we can provide the best customer service and also get the best bang for our marketing dollars.

ERP enables in standardising the SOP’s that are laid out by the company without micromanaging employees. There was severe resistance when we decided to go with ERP. The general mood was that these things are not meant for construction industry.


What was the homework that you did before joining your father in the realty business? When did you join him and before that what were you doing?

I have worked in the IT field for 12 years, with various companies like Zensar and IBM and French company Sanofi-Aventis. My husband and I decided to move to India in 2009 and that’s when I joined Ishwar Parmar Group.


Please elaborate on the new projects that iParmar is offering is Pune.

We currently have a 34 acre project on Chikhali, Pimpri Chinchwad called iParmar’s River Residency. This is a very beautiful project with a boat club and 1-acre nature walk exclusively for residents. We have a commercial project in the pipeline in Pune along with another 30 acre project coming up in Mumbai suburbs. A residential scheme is also coming up in east Pune.

 

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