He did his bachelor's and his master's at Georgia Tech in the US and was the only one to make it to McKinsey, when McKinsey wasn't even a regular recruiter on the Georgia Tech Campus. Today, he is the CEO of Lodha Group, India's largest real estate company. Abhishek Lodha is a world-class builder.
Abhishek went down memory lane and spoke about the creation of the landmark Lodha building, World One Tower in Lower Parel, Mumbai. It is touted as India's tallest residential structure. Abhishek had bought a prime piece of land in the heart of the city - at a price many people thought was crazy. He was determined to build one of Mumbai's finest residences and got the best partners in the world to work on it, including the architect IM Pei, who designed the pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris. They created a lot of open spaces and greenery which resulted in the World One tower zooming vertically and becoming India's tallest residential structure. Their audacity was also visible when they took on a large piece of land in Wadala and decided to call the area 'New Cuffe Parade'. This was to evoke similarities with the tiny area of Cuffe Parade in South Mumbai.
Abhishek has been instrumental in building and nurturing the brand 'Lodha'. He says "a brand is not what you say about yourself in your advertising. A brand is really about what people say about you when you are not in the room". Lodha's key drivers have been to build credibility, trust, deliver first-rate products and let people know the difference.
With a vision to build a strong and recognisable brand, Lodha Group partnered with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of The Times Group. Large, Innovative formats of advertising like Power Jackets and Gold Paper were used in The Times of India and The Economic Times to create impact and drive brand imagery. Brand salience was created through sustained presence and a very high share of voice. This was further augmented by Times Group's 360-degree media platforms covering all major consumer touch-points like TV, Radio, Digital and Out of Home.
Lodha Group kept their messaging classy and emphasised on consumer experience. They highlighted the quality, premiumness and differentiated nature of living spaces. Lodha Group was also amongst the first real estate builders to associate with top global names like Armani/Casa, Trump, Philippe Starck, Jade Jagger and Indian celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna. Today, Lodha Group's marketing approach and advertising campaigns are benchmarks for other Real Estate developers.
Abhishek shared a few of his success mantras which helped him create an organisation that is well-regarded in the pantheon of all corporates.
#1 The biggest constraint for an entrepreneur is time. It's best to have a to-do list and take full responsibility for it.
#2 Culture is an outcome of actions and not just words. The behaviours need to reinforce those values, every day.
#3 Smart People + Right Values = Big Impact. It's important to put together a solid team with a clear focus on the right values.
#4 Create bandwidth by adding organisational and personal bandwidth. People with intelligence figure better solutions and help take better decisions.
#5 Create a framework when faced with a problem. This ensures that the same problems don't keep coming back again.
#6 Adhere to the process, the outcome will take care of itself.
#7 Dress well, address well, dash well. Always be well-groomed, speak well and communicate clearly with respect.
#8 Manage the price - quality equation. Winning brands ensure that low price does not translate into poor quality.
#9 What is the downside of trying? Usually nothing. But if one does not try, one will never win.
#10 Respect your people. This is the recipe to create a great business.
Brand Capital is the strategic arm of Times of India group. Brand Capital I Brand Estate offers innovative brand-building solutions that reduce the burden of cash flow constraints on developers. A sustained brand-building effort is expensive and in a capital-intensive sector like real estate companies are often compelled to overlook the requirement for branding at the cost of growing their business. Brand Capital I Brand Estate offers value added support that includes brand and communication strategy, creative ideation and media strategy support along with offering access to a 360-degree spectrum of media assets including print, radio, TV, OOH, Events and the Internet.
Excerpts of the story are from Prakash Iyer's book - You Too Can.