Ashutosh Limaye, National Director - Research, JLL India
India 01 September 2016: It is natural to wonder why certain realty projects, such as ‘Worli 1973’, ‘W54’ or ‘Three Sixty West’, are so named. Or why some developers come up with esoteric names ranging from Greek gods to foreign flora for their projects. In fact, the naming of realty projects is an important exercise carried out by marketing and strategy teams.
Contrary to common perception, naming projects is a well-researched and executed exercise. Most leading developers invest a great deal of psychology and marketing thought in this process. The aim usually is to best convey the value proposition and market positioning of the project in one (or a few) words. At other times, the goal may be to stir up a certain aspiration in the minds of target clientele or associate the project to uber-luxury or select global locations.
For example, continental names intend to conjure images of exotic European locales and life there. Generally, it is the theme-based or luxury projects and gated townships that get named in such a fashion. The developer tries to evoke a sense of ‘arrival’ in the buyers’ minds apart from representing the global ambience and exclusiveness such a project would offer.
Two upcoming projects in Mumbai have been named after ‘Paris’ - featuring French-styled apartments – and ‘Miami’ – as the project gives a great view of the Mahim bay. In Bengaluru, Prestige named two projects after London’s Kensington Gardens and Wellington Park, as they have a lot of open spaces, greenery and recreational facilities.
In Noida, a mixed-use development under development is called ‘Twin Towers’ – perhaps with the intention of making an impression as an edifice. There are names associated to architectural styles too. For instance, a project inspired by Roman architectural style is called ‘Romano’. Projects can get other names too. ‘Fable Castle’ in NCR is so called because it is based on fables by Walt Disney.
Another project in NCR is called ‘La Vida’, which means ‘live life’ in Spanish. Developments around the Buddha F1 racing circuit in NCR has buildings named ‘Speedway Avenue’, ‘Grand Stand’, ‘Grand Circuit’, etc. to evoke visions of the professional car racing ethos In Bengaluru, a luxury offering flaunts its elitist tag through the name ‘White Meadows’, which naturally conjures up images of pastoral grasslands.
How it all began
In Mumbai, this trend was most probably kicked off by the Hiranandani Group at their flagship township in Powai, where each building was named after a Greek God or a foreign locale. The developer continued with this practice, and because of its success, this unique exercise was adopted by several other developers and further innovations followed.
Different developers follow different schemes. Godrej Developers often name their buildings after foreign flora and precious stones. Thane’s Vasant Vihar area has many buildings named after Indian flora and trees, many of them having a special place in Indian culture.
Foreign flora has emerged as a common favourite of developers across India, with many residential buildings, and entire townships, named after exotic flowers. So we have DLF Camellias – inspired by an evergreen shrub’s flowers said to symbolise desire, passion and refinement – in NCR and Sobha Mayflower – inspired by what is considered to be the tree of love – in Bengaluru.
Now, developers are getting more innovative and exclusive with very distinct proejct names with greater recall value. Omkar’s ‘Worli 1973’ project in this upscale precinct of Mumbai stands out not only because cricketer Virat Kohli and an aspirational gentry has bought sky villas there, but also due to the uniqueness of its name, which is derived by merging the location’s latitude (19°) and longitude (73°). This may very well be another first for Mumbai, though there are other projects using numbers in their names.
Another developer has used its initial 'W' to name projects. One of its projects is named ‘W54’, clearly derived from this initial followed by the number of units it was initially supposed to have. ‘Three Sixty West’ presumably gets its name because its height is 360 meters and all apartments face the western direction. ‘Avenue54’ probably gets its name because select roads are called avenues in Santacruz and the area’s pin code ends with 54.
So intense is the competition of using unique tags that most developers maintain a shroud of secrecy around their projects’ names until they have actually kicked off their marketing campaigns. This is done to reduce the possibility of losing names to competition, as a robust copyright mechanism is still not existent.
Affinity to European names
Call it a post-colonial legacy or the universal human psychology of finding foreign-sounding names more attractive, but there is no denying that Indian customer’s psyche equates such names to better value propositions, international concepts, design and amenities. Not only NRIs but local buyers too are impressed by the idea of world-class designs and amenities associated with foreign names.
Increasing globalisation has exposed Indians to international locations, and the global appeal of such names attract the jet-setting, niche set of buyers. Also, such names are seen as neutral and cosmopolitan. Given the tangible results of using such names in recent years, it is a trend which is here to stay - and developers are bound to get more and more innovative with the science behind naming their projects.