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Branded Apples

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Dato’ Ir Soam Heng Choon

Being a major name in the property industry, IJM Land would know the ins and outs of branding and how it affects their business. Speaking to Homefinder, CEO and Managing Director of IJM Land, Dato’ Ir Soam Heng Choon shares his thoughts and wisdom on what makes branding so important and how it relates to property developers.

Homefinder: To be labeled “Branded” is subjective, how does one qualify a trusted brand and separate them from the rest? What are the traits of a trusted brand?
For a company, a brand is a crucial part in a business and especially important in a highly competitive market place.  A brand represents the company and its products and services.  A good brand can inspire a customer to choose our products and services over our competitors.
A brand is a promise. If the brand delivers on its promise, the brand will reside within the hearts and minds of customers and make them return. In order to create a brand story for IJM Land, first we must know who we are, what our brand stands for and to understand the needs and wants of customers; then everyone in the organization from top to lower management will work hand in hand to create credibility around the brand so that our customers can trust the brand and can connect to the IJM Land brand emotionally.
Some of the traits of a trusted brand include:

  1. Message to the public is sincere
  2. Consistently delivers on its promise
  3. Communicate and ensure all employees understand the brand’s story and care for the brand
  4. Build awareness and create recognition with customers through advertising
  5. Cultivates brand loyalty

HF: Why are branded goods expensive?
In IJM Land, we embark on a series of improvements with an aim to enhance the products and services of the company.  Some of the areas the company invests in are as follows:

  1. Staff training and development
  2. Equipped with a comprehensive staff force from planning and design, finance, admin, sales and after sales support, to meet the expectation of customers.
  3. Research and Development ie. innovative features, use of quality materials, use of environmental friendly products, new methods to improve quality of workmanship, etc
  4. Higher advertising budget to create awareness
  5. Embark on various CR programs for sustainability ie. sponsorships, environmental events, gotong-royong, building homes for the poor, etc.

HF: A brand can be built in a day with good marketing, how does this compare to brands which took years to develop a good track record? Is the track record important nowadays?
Anyone can develop a brand but a good brand needs time to nurture and it takes great effort to manage and maintain the good profile of the brand and cultivate trust, but at the end the company will reap the benefits.  Building a good track record by being experienced, financially strong, have quality products with timely completion and a high level of customer service are  highly important as these would set us apart from our competitors.

HF: How will “bad apples” affect the industry?
There is no doubt that these ‘bad apples’ will impact the confidence level of the public.  It will create confusion in choosing the established brands and the growth of the property market.
In addition, the government will also introduce more new laws and regulations to govern the property industry which may not be necessary just because of these bad apples.