Puravankara Limited has emerged as a leading real estate company since its inception in the year 1975. Over the years, the company has successfully established two distinct and successful brands, Puravanakra and Provident, on Indian real estate map.
In an exclusive talk with MediaCatalyst, Ms. Minol Ajekar, Group Head- Corporate Communications, CSR & Business Processes, Puravankara Limited shares how marketing activities at Puravankara has evolved during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the CSR activities the company has been undertaking. Ms. Ajekar believes that it is critical to address customers’ anxieties and take effective action to alleviate the same.
Here are the excerpts from the interaction with Ms. Minol Ajekar.
- Real estate is fairly known for its traditional structure. With the evolving needs of consumers, how do you look at marketing to your young audience?
Puravankara’s customer-centric approach has enabled us to consistently improve our operations and offer real-time solutions to our existing and potential homebuyers. With a majority of transactions within the business becoming virtual, we were quick in leveraging our technology to ensure that we offer virtual support to our customers at every step. As an organization, we engage in rigorous research and assessments to continually learn about the changing needs of our customers. For instance, with remote working being the prescribed norm, we realized that residential spaces would also now have to function as workstations as well. Thus, we factored this into the layouts of our projects.
Buying a home is one of the biggest milestones of an individual’s life. We are cognizant of the concerns and apprehensions that a customer might have before making a decision. Our legacy of transparency and unwavering commitment towards our customers, enable us to assist them throughout their journey. Our research has indicated that our younger customer base tends to identify and evaluate investment opportunities through digital platforms. Hence, we have continued to strengthen our social media presence and have enhanced the overall customer experience at all interfaces and touchpoints, to ensure that no question goes unanswered, and every query receives a satisfactory solution.
Our versatile portfolio of offerings – affordable, mid-segment income, luxury, and ultra-luxury- enables us to cater to the needs of a diverse customer base. We have continued to build a company that adapts to the evolving needs of homebuyers, with a focus on design, function, and a superior living experience. A digitally powered outlook towards marketing and operations, have enabled us to ensure business continuity as well as generate positive sales traction.
- Digital came as a rescue to brands amidst the pandemic. While all companies are taking a digital route, how challenging was it (if it was) for Puravankara to go digital? What new things did you bring under the gamut of digital innovation?
At Puravankara, all our endeavours revolve around just one entity – our customers. We call this “The You Philosophy.” This philosophy has been instrumental in our overall growth in the last 45 years. During these years, we have navigated through some of the most challenging phenomena– the recession (in 2008), demonetization, policy transformation (advent of RERA) and now, the pandemic. While the past year presented several difficult realities, it was our core principle that helped us navigate through it all.
We knew that amid the uncertainties, we would need to support our customers amid the uncertainties, more than ever before. With transparency and agility, in adapting advanced technology, we underwent a digital transformation. It was critical for us to remain accessible to tour customers during the lockdown. So so we introduced Virtual) site tours though augmented realty, video calls, online secure payment gateways to name a few. On the similar line we launched BookMyHome, under the flagship of Provident Housing Ltd. This online feature that enables potential home buyers to access a virtual tour of a house of their choice. This allowed the customers to seamlessly explore their housing options without having to step out of their homes.
- Brands have started to see CSR as an important aspect of brand building. What are your views? How do you see it at Puravankara?
At Puravankara, we are aware of the tremendous responsibility we have towards having a positive impact on our communities, our institutions, and our planet. We have continued to harness our resources to build a more equitable and sustainable future. Our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts are etched into our being and are an important aspect of every business decision that we take.
We are steadfast in our mission to have a long-term impact on the communities around us. We do not reduce our CSR efforts to a checklist that we need to follow. Our aim is to make a change that is relevant and sustainable. We realize that real change can be achieved only through concrete partnerships between public and private sectors. Hence, we have partnered with the state, community-led groups, and various legislative bodies, to be part of a solution tht has a long-lasting impact. Our approach towards CSR is not limited to just the present, but rather focussed on laying the foundation for a better and brighter future.
A few initiatives that we have undertaken are:
- Testing kits: We strongly advocate that collective action between the state and the corporates is necessary to drive change. Last year, we extended our support to the Karnataka government, by providing testing kits to be administered free-of-cost in underprivileged districts.
- Access to education: In association with NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov), we initiated the ‘Provident Housing Scholarship’ in Goa, under the platform of Vidyasaarathi. This was aimed at offering financial assistance to students from a lower economic background.
- Environmental sustenance: Through concentrated efforts, we have optimized our water consumption and significantly reduced the generation of waste materials.
- Civic beautification: We have partnered closely with the civic authorities in Bengaluru for the beautification of medians under Namma Metro, BBMP, and a park in the city. This helped enhance hygiene and cleanliness in the surrounding, as well as improve public awareness on the same.
While we are proud of the progress of our actions, we are always mindful of the needs of the community and are consistently working towards being a better corporate citizen. The world is battling an unexpected challenge at the moment. We realize that we are in a unique position to extend help. With a strong focus on public health and access to essentials, we have strengthened our partnerships with the government and the civic society, to lend support to most vulnerable pockets in the country. We will continue to learn and unlearn as we navigate through this new reality. We will deepen our commitment to empower communities, and work towards achieving desirable social and ecological outcomes.
- Any tip for emerging marketers on brand building in the post-Covid world?
The most important takeaway for us has been to always listen to our customers and adapt to their changing needs. It is critical to address your customers’ anxieties and take effective action to alleviate the same.
One of the lingering effects of the pandemic that is likely to spill into the next phase is economic uncertainty. Consumers are more cautious about their investments and their purchases. They would rely on brands that are familiar and are trustworthy. Hence, it is imperative to build a personal connection with the customer and assure them that your product will add value to their life. How brands harness digital technology to tell their story and reach the people will really determine their relevance in the post-pandemic world.