"In 4Ps-ICMR survey, we were one of the most trusted brands"

Sray Agarwal and Mrinmoy Dey | January, 2011


Girish with over 17 years of experience with leading firms across industries has been bestowed with arrays of awards (almost every year). To his credit, he played a vital role in launch of Reliance Power IPO and had served as a CMO at Reliance Capital. Under his leadership, most of the brands he worked for saw a steep improvement in various brand surveys. Currently, working with Godrej Properties Ltd (GPL), Girish is quite optimistic about the unique marketing campaigns they are launching for their new projects.

In your career journey so far, you have worked in different and versatile industries. What differences did you notice in the marketing strategies across industries, over time?
I have spent around eight years working in the FMCG sector with Reckitt Piramal and Johnson & Johnson. Then I was associated with the launch of Kingfisher Airlines and Reliance Power IPO and in the branding strategies in UB Group and Reliance ADA group for another eight years. And currently I am with the Godrej Properties. At the end of the day, the ability to identify the key driver, issues and challenges associated with the business domain is the hallmark of a good marketing and sales professional. Across industries, the product offerings vary but the main challenge remains the same — satisfying the consumer needs.

In the last few decades Sales and Marketing has gone through dramatic changes. How have your leadership style changed over the period?
Sales and Marketing is the people oriented function of an organization and the sense of appropriate action and the ability to convince the set of people you are interacting with – be it your customer, your subordinates — is of utmost importance and hence a collaborative approach is quintessential. We, at Godrej Properties are not in the business of brick and construction but it's a business of building relationships. Hence, I follow a leadership where the focus is on driving and thriving on people's desire and wants and the ability to manage as well as exciting them by sharing the passion among them. Instead of using a strict approach, getting people to appreciate and respect the decision I take is my leadership mantra.

Did you have any mentor or a leader whom you admire or draw inspirations from?
Inspiration doesn't necessarily have to come from other leaders of the function. Honestly, I draw inspiration from everything; it might be from a colleague of mine or people of different profiles, it can come from even within your body. Hence, it is essential to keep an open mind to keep learning and reinvent oneself in the process.

What is your approach towards developing a project and formulating a marketing plan?
The affordable housing project (with a tie-up with SBI) that we have across India is about deriving a price point which appeals to the masses. So, a marketing plan would involve in creating a high level of trust around Godrej Properties project and constantly look for suitable media and mode of communication with target audience to let people know about the project proposition and Godrej Properties as a brand in whole. For that, we look at various consumer activation opportunities. We organize and sponsor in a lot of Gujarati theatre to tap on to our 'Godrej Garden City Ahmedabad' project. Thus, we try to create a favourable perception around the project. We launched a premium project called 'Godrej Platinum' in Bangalore. To promote it, we have tied-up with Karnataka Golf Club (KGA) to build a premium/ royal image and to cater to the customers.

Godrej Properties Limited has recently launched a YouTube portal where people can share videos about Godrej Properties. How does this add value?
One of the most important factors we focus on is building trust. People who can’t come to the project site (for example NRIs) to have a feel about it, can log onto Youtube and via our channels can browse through videos and project information. We also have an image gallery on Flickr. Thus, it allows people to have a more clearer and excite-full understanding about our different projects without directly visiting our plants.

How Godrej Properties' environment awareness drive sync with the company's philosophy?
It is our Vision and we strongly believe in creating a sustainable environment. So, everything we do is keeping that focus in mind. While running a promotional campaign in Kolkata we created Oxygen masks wherein people came and breathe pure oxygen which facilitated us to affirm and create a perception of how one can experience such fresh air in the environment itself by increasing greenery. And, we do all this in an eco-friendly manner.

What are the future marketing plans of Godrej in order to increase the brand value as well as to increase the market share?
This is a two way approach as far as strategic direction of the brand is concerned — one is to build Godrej Properties brand and the other is to develop different project brand. Building Godrej Properties brand would involve creating awareness wherein people, who see our logo or design language, can comprehend what the brand stands for. We have a township project named ‘Godrej Garden City’ in Ahmedabad, ‘Godrej Prakriti’ in Kolkata and then ‘Godrej Platinum’ in Bangalore. These different projects have different focus and different set of customers. So, they need to be marketed properly keeping the target audience in mind. So, we do lot of direct mailing, organizing and sponsoring various events in order to communicate with the customer and build the project brand accordingly.

What are the overseas marketing plans of Godrej Properties Limited?
We have partnerships with various firms in the US and UK. We are developing opportunities in Canada. At the same time, we have Middle East, Australia and Africa also in the mind. Basically, we are focusing on those regions which have a strong NRI population. This year, we have sponsored the Grand Indian Independence Day celebrations in California which was largely to showcase and share Godrej properties portfolio to the NRI audience.

Godrej Properties has recently won best marketing campaign award at CMO Asia award. We would like to know how these awards inspire?
We won the CMO Asia Award for our Oxygen mask campaign for developing an environmental consciousness. Beyond this CMO Asia Award, the more important thing is that in a recent 4Ps-ICMR survey, we were considered as one of the most trusted brands. These kinds of independent surveys help us in creating a sense of confidence among the potential customers. And, we feel good about it that our efforts in decoding trust and building relationship is getting more visible and being appreciated by an independent firm.