As the 21st century workforce gets younger and more tech-savvy, what kind of leadership style you think is needed to shepherd such a team?
Today’s leaders need to be agile. Having a vision and the buy-in of teams is important but change is the only constant and it is only through dismantling silos that we can have a truly robust, flexible team that collaborates to accomplish the impossible. I take a different approach to leading each and every team member which allows me to make more of a personal connect. I also believe in getting down to the nitty–gritty of the problem and yet remain a futurist who has come to embrace technology for the efficiencies it brings about.
Being a relatively new brand in the real estate sector, how has Godrej Properties fared so far?
Our vision is to be one of the top three real estate brands in India. Being a relatively new player with only a handful of employees, we had to interpret the new brand language for our business and establish a pan- India brand that could shore up launches in cities we had never entered before. In the small two-and-a-half-year period since taking over as custodian of the Godrej Properties brand, we have expanded our presence to cover eight cities in India, targeting varied ticket sizes and segments across geographies extending all over the globe. We have over 40 awards for branding and marketing excellence and my team has pulled off some amazing launches while remaining ahead of the curve as far as technology is concerned.
How important is the role of employees in building a brand?
Our employees are at the forefront of the action, facing customers and investors every day – be it within India or abroad. Having hand-picked a talented and self-driven team, coming from diverse backgrounds, I can say that a large part of what the brand today has become is due to the team’s dedicated hard work and neversay- die attitude.
What is the message that Godrej Properties wishes to deliver through its various brand positioning strategies?
The first thing that we built over 117 years ago is trust, and that is synonymous with any Godrej brand. There is no part of us that is not aligned with the founding brand ideology or values. Our strategy and long term vision are clearly defined and adhered to. The new brand identity for GPL is very niche and stands apart from the real estate clutter of brands and depicts our values of transparency, sustainable developments (all properties have some level of green certification) and contemporary homes designed keeping in mind the needs and insights of the target segment, culture and geography. The brand stands to provide living and work spaces that foster imagination and better experience to the customers through deep understanding of their lives and needs.
We do this by following world-class benchmarks and by providing superior value through ensuring trust and transparency.
How do you manage to keep yourself going under a highly stressful, competitive and target-driven work schedule?
I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance, practising Yoga and meditation. My wife Radhika is a tea sommelier and there’s nothing like a freshly brewed cup of herbal tea to soothe the senses.
What has been the most effectively used brand communication vehicle for Godrej Properties?
For us, customer engagement starts well before a Godrej Properties home is booked and does not end after the purchase. Hence, we strongly believe that we aren’t in the business of selling homes but building longterm relationships. Brands need to look at long-term investments in this relationship to become the kind of brand that Godrej has become – one that touches millions of lives every day. Innovation and design are other aspects that any product needs to incorporate. Since social media is the preferred mechanism to connect with both individuals and corporate entities today, we use it to build communities of like-minded individuals, without an overt brand presence. This allows for a lot of creative flexibility and the ability to co-create products by crowd-sourcing trends and preferences.
What are the changes that you wish to see in the Indian real estate sector?
Increased transparency is something that we, as a real estate company, have always believed in providing to our customers. Regulations governing this aspect should be welcome. Transparency in information and financial transactions will help buyers make up their minds before investing their hard earned money on a property.