» » PR, branding offer keys to property market

VNRE - Brand building and marketing strategies will increasingly be important as buyers are now more cautious because of high inflation and tighter monetary policies issued by the Government, experts said at a seminar held yesterday in HCM City.

Patti Ndzana Etoga, operations director of CB Richard Ellis, said entering 2011 many high-rise developers were sitting on large amounts of stock, primarily condominiums. The majority have few unique selling points and face stiff competition from other properties.

However, properties with unique selling points can be branding and marketing potential.

The developers should be more creative and use lucky draws or add appliances to the purchase.

CBRE uses marketing tools such as these and has sold 60 units recently, although buyers remain cautious, hoping prices and interest rates will fall.

In order to move real estate marketing forward, she said developers needed to conduct research about other competition, design, size, facilities, amenities and prices.

To increase sales, they must learn about their target market.

"For marketing budgets, the developers are advised to prepare to spend up to 3 per cent of their revenue to support sales. Good public relations as well as press and social media are factors in successfully marketing strategies to promote their image," she noted.

The rise of branding in the real estate sector will help customers quickly identify property and service. It also enhances the value of the property.

In addition, product quality was the key in making decisions and should also be emphasised, she said.

Tuong Tuan Thong, managing director of FTA market research, said according to the company's recent survey about premium property projects, buyers'decisions are based on brand choices and their budgets.

Being able to identify the more prestigious projects among the many that are on the market is important. Buyers often cannot differentiate genuinely premium apartment projects.

"In the downturn period, buyers have been very cautious, so they only trust credible project owners. Therefore, propositioning as a giant project owner who has high credibility and strong financial capacity would help the project owner maintain trust," he noted.

The developers should take full advantage of a wide range of communication channels to make marketing more effective, such as a direct approach by phone, face-to-face, internet, listing on transaction offices, transaction floors, speciality magazines for real estate, and email marketing.

It was suggested that there should be a website specialising on real estate as a one-stop shop for all buyers. Full services, including project listing, consultancy, property valuation and even legal consultancy would help the decision-making process of buyers.

The website could be seen as a credible transaction floor in which there is participation of credible real estate organisations, project owners and agencies.

"Pricing strategies should be considered and adjusted to adapt to market trends if real estate companies want to have effective marketing activities to support their sales plans in a time of harsh competition," he said.

Most of the projects are based on market price in comparison to others of the same kind. For project owners with strong financial status, the price is mostly fixed. However, for those who are weak financially, prices could be adjusted by offering extra values and promotions.

Communications should also be focused on the profitability of the property to draw consumer attention and drive purchase intention.

Most buyers need to see the profitability of the property as the top trigger to make a decision to buy, even if they are buying for accommodation or investment.

Brett Ashton, managing director of Savills Viet Nam Ltd Co, said that "more distribution channels mean more opportunities."

The channels include third-party agents, product introductions in other localities, trading floors, and wholesale markets for institutional buyers.

Marketing activation includes organising teaser campaigns before the official launch and events such as a showhouse opening, press conferences and other sales events; tracking the effectiveness of advertisements; and proposing necessary timely adjustments.

At the seminar, Ashton also pointed out that the next product generation in Viet Nam which can create differentiation and attract more buyers such as a wide range of facilities would include water or river frontage, eco-friendly landscape, design and transport linkage.

The seminar was organised by the LEAN media group in collaboration with IRVING Seminar and Training.

Source: VNA

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