VR Mall – Photography Case Study

by Sudhir Ramchandran

It’s about CREATING A NEW REALITY THROUGH VISUAL STRATEGY TO ACHIEVE branding and business objectives.

 

The Challenge

VR Bengaluru was developed as an integrated lifestyle destination with a focus on making it the center of the local community. However, there were several challenges:

1. EXPERIENCES:

VRB had 4 disparate quadrants of experience verticals - retail, co-working space, hospitality as well as food and entertainment – essentially 4 completely different experiences.

2. BUYER PERSONA

The consumer catchment in Whitefield was identified but their persona and ethnography had to be clarified so that the visuals we make can have the same clarity to future prospects.

3. AS A SINGLE STORY

Integrating the quadrants was critical so that one identity is felt and not seen as confusing forgettable mixed experiences of 4.

4. THE BRAND SPIRIT

This is the toughest aspect – how do we connect the singular spirit of – “Playful Sophistication” brand experience so that it fits into the marketing needs of the brand positioning?

 

The Visual Solution – Creating “THE NEW REALITY” Visual Strategy

Consumers and prospects needed to get clarity of what to expect. We create the visuals needed to take the brand to a powerful indelible positioning so that the brand becomes the first choice during a buying decision.

STEP 1 - CLARITY

After much research and studying the space for 2 weeks, the premier “existence” of the millennial consumer, the luxury brands they cared for and the multiple activities that took place in the environment that closely aligned to the millennial facets were clarified.

STEP 2 – AUTHENTICITY

All we had to do is create visuals that showed with authenticity this new reality. Most importantly the brand VRB, should emerge the HERO. So we showed the actual consumers and their activities with the VRB architecture –

a. With the elements of rejuvenation like the yoga within VRB spaces
b. The workouts with the VRB gyms
c. The families with their kids with the VRB entertainment centers of activities
d. The connected world of coworkers with the VRB co-working space and
e. The sleep therapy with the VRB hotel among others.

 

We created a real and authentic visual experience of the diverse VRB spaces so that the disparate activities together blend as an integrated entity of a very large multi-unit space of immense engagement possibilities.

The photographs were based on a strategy to get immense brand valuation so that consumers will buy into the brand.

STEP 3 – BRAND EMOTION OF THE VALUE PROPOSITION

The core spirit of the VRB brand drove the emotion of the brand.

Every visual needed the positioning of “PLAYFUL SOPHISTICATION” captured in the target audiences’ hearts and minds. So, we needed to create natural situation pictures in natural environment showing the fun element of “PLAYFUL” and the people who are naturally comfortable with their environments “SOPHISTICATION”.

The youthful excitement behind VRB’s experiences needed to be captured as ONE ethos across all the 4 quadrant-offerings. To be consistent with the authenticity approach, we created natural situations based on visually recorded pictures done during conceptual stages. It was not just the authenticity of the people, their attire and activities but also the various emotions they displayed when they were intensely involved during the preconception stage. This emotion became our visual script as we recreated the pictures with the right brand values so that the united ethos was preserved across the quadrants.

 

STEP 4 - THE VISUAL STORYTELLING STYLE THAT CREATED TRUST

The creative style that we evolved became known as the 'SNAPSHOT AUTHENTIC' as it looked like emotional moments plucked out of pure unposed authentic situations. The Snapshot Authentic style that we developed created the same photographic magic across disparate subjects as diverse as the exterior architecture of VRB to the humane smile on a youth's face. They all had the singular energy of the modern millennial youthful energy.

By using real people in actual situations, instead of staged actions with models, the photography began to play a very powerful role as it became a mirror to actual lifestyle situations that were authentic. This created the most valuable currency of branding – TRUST.

 

The Brand And Business Outcomes

Essentially mirroring the key positioning of 'playful sophistication' using our unique visual language, Sid Yog the primary investor said on launch day, "Sudhir, you have taken something beautiful and made it spectacular!"

The aesthetics aside, the success outcomes were

1) In the enhanced footfalls from 5,000 to 18,000
2) The curated brands occupancy grew from 67% to 97%
3) The investment – The platform got valued at 600 million dollars and 76% of VR was acquired in less than half the expected period!
4) The mammoth gain was also the PR in terms of being featured in prominent relevant magazines like the Vogue and GQ among others extolling the values of the property.
5) Needless to say the pictures that went to the various awards committees (obviously the buildings cant go to the juries!) ensured that we won 25 international awards in every category of hospitality, retail, entertainment and best malls in the country!

 

WHY ARE WE DIFFERENT?

We innovated a customized style of consumer-centric photography to create the new reality, with a display of bursting sense of playfulness for the relevant sophisticated consumer.

Hence, we narrated VR's story with authenticity and emotion that created a singular NEW REALITY of the brand’s high equity value and brought the resultant success outcomes.

Every brand today has millennial as their primary audience and we have realized that the same creative touch or photographic interpretation cannot be applied to all. It will not only be boring and clichéd but there will be a complete absence of the unique spirit of a brand that has come after much differentiating value research and consumer understanding.

Hence our treatment for every brand lies in defining the need with crystal clarity when creating innovative styles that connect uniquely to the hearts and minds of each target persona.

This customized photography style treatment makes the visual messaging a true reflection of the brand's soul and a purity of that reflection touches the potential buyer's hearts and minds.

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