The overarching goal of a brand transformation is to elevate the brand above ‘features and functions. Re-branding allows a company to communicate changes and future direction among the employees and the marketplace in a visible, definitive manner.
A company’s ultimate goal is to focus on satisfying customer desires and enhancing consumer experience. The management needs to think about the unique value their organisation is adding to an area’s culture including elements like grit, ingenuity and even progressive thinking.
Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (DFPCL)is one such progressive company, which recently announced the unveiling of its creative living campus Creaticity in Pune. From offering holistic solutions in Home & Interior Lifestyles to an array of Food & Beverage and Entertainment options, Creaticity is a re-launched version of the erstwhile Ishanya Mall and is expected to be home to 100+ national and international brands across fashion, F&B, home decor and entertainments categories.
In an exclusive interaction with IMAGES Retail, Mahesh M, CEO, Creaticity, talks about the new identity, design aspects, importance and impact of the re-branding of the mall.
Your brand recently transformed itself into a new identity – from Ishanya to Creaticity. Tell us about the new identity. Why did you feel the need to rebrand yourself?
We have been part of the Pune landscape for over a decade in terms of embellishing beautiful homes, simply stated- a furniture and furnishings aggregator with a whole host of brands and retailers. Over these years, we have learnt a lot from our customers and patrons and advisors. One common point that came up was that we needed to reinvigorate ourselves, the brand itself and lean on its heritage, yet let go of some baggage of the past. The last couple of years have been especially gratifying since our foray into F&B and emphasis on entertainment led us to believe that the category mix was substantially evolving, and we were indirectly laying the wire frame for a new journey of discovery. Therefore we began our ‘Mall and Brand refresh’ exercise which was built on the foundational premise of our existence as Ishanya- ‘to inspire the joy of creation in every customer we serve’ and one year down the line, we have crafted a new expression called Creaticity.
The journey of retaining the core purpose of our existence, yet giving a new look, feel, flavour and imagery have been exciting. I feel that unlike branding a product or service, creating a brand for a space is much more challenging. There are multiple offerings for multiple kinds of people and therefore can end up meaning very different things. The challenge therefore was to present a unified brand essence and meaning that stays true over time while delivering on multiple experiences. Idea for re-launching was to create something that matures in meaning over time while staying in tune with the growing, ticking persona of the place, adding intrigue and interest. After painstaking brainstorming, research activities and workshops in focussed groups, we realised a profound truth which is creativity is what makes life worth living for everyone and we would like to share it. With this core belief, we converged on the name and identity namely Creaticity. We would like to position it as a platform, a hub where everyone can explore, engage and express their individual creativity by creating something of value to them. The brand is a Creator that is exciting and inspiring and also down to earth, unpretentious, empathic and democratic in its behaviour.
The brand focuses on being a creator for others and inspires others to become creators. In easy language, we wish to be co-creators with our customers and patrons.
How different is Creaticity from Ishanya? Please explain in detail.
Well, there are two perspectives – functional and holistic. Functionally, from a category and offerings perspective, we have shifted from a ‘Home Only’ to a ‘Home, F&B and Entertainment’ focus. This is translated into space allocation and utilisation also. Further, bringing in co-working spaces, design institutions etc have helped to ensure logical adjacencies.
This shift is more interesting, from just an aggregator of retailers and space provider role that we were probably engaged in; we have now taken upon ourselves the role of ‘’total solutions provider’’ which is reflected in the kind of additional specialist services we provide in the Home category or for that matter the nature and kind of events we do which are aimed at sharing knowledge with our customers. In other words, we are not a mall but rather un-mall, we are creating an eco-system that builds communities, engageswith them and helps foster creativity. It is a space that inspires the creative side in you and helps expression freely and democratically and therefore this space comes across as a campus that has multiple cities for Home, Food, Sports, Fun, and Entertainment and Education. Th is you will observe is the orbital shift in the new avtar. Th e intended outcome is a superior and enriched experience that one can share and repeat.
Tell us about the campus concept of Creaticity?
Campus is a melting pot of culture and communities and there is always certain action going on in some form or the other. We believe that Creaticity is a campus that inspires free flowing exploration, discovery of multiple facets and creative expression of yourself that are not confined within, but which can be freely expressed to create, learn and take back something home. The simple six action words of ‘Make, eat, play, sing, learn and create’ welcome you to the campus.
The Creaticity campus provides a collaborative platform that allows one to carry put shopping or decoration for home, dine with family, friends or colleagues for various occasions, play and we mean ‘physically’ play a host of games such as futsal, cricket etc , attend a workshop, sit and paint in peace, watch a play or performance, shake a leg or attend live maestro performances at the well-equipped amphi-theatre. In various parts of the campus, nuanced service design ideas can be seen that inspire the creative person within you, right from Experience or fun maps, trail cards that will take you on a diligent trail along with a personal service scout who will share practical knowledge for making your trip effective and efficient.
What has been the impact of the makeover from a mall point of view?
In three months of the launch of the new avtaar, awareness about the brand was over 35 percent in Pune alone. We did both on and off -campus surveys with a large sample size and the results are very encouraging on all the required fronts of ‘first time visitors’, ‘visit experience for existing customers’ and ‘Demographic spread’. We now have good food for thought in terms of building upon the base and position.
On the second hand, retailers who are our first customers are as excited as us to see us travel this new journey together and they have been more than willing toco-create new experiences for the end-consumers.
Lastly, event organisers who are now witnessing the refreshed campus with plenty of avenues and venues for their shows are glad to get quality venue with a near perfect ambience. Overall, the physical makeover coupled with the brand rejuvenation is helping us enhance our image and opportunities
Has the footfall increased?
The footfall since the rebranding +launch has gone up by nearly 40 percent. The footfall analysis shows steady growth across existing and new categories and we are working on taking it to the 50 percent mark by end of this year.
Ishanya has been one of the pioneers of the concept mall for home interiors and design in India. Is home interiors and design is still the sole theme of Creaticity or are you targeting new concepts as well?
Our core has and will always remain to enhance the home lifestyles. With the launch of Creaticity, we have only strengthened this by increasing the range and depth, for instance, a homemaker can touch and feel over 500 designs of sofas, 400 designs of beds, thousands of décor and furnishing ideas and the works. With intense category management at the backend, we are working on ensuring the right kind of product offerings, trends, price -points and solutions to our customers. In fact, we have added the services element with MyFitBHK ,an exclusive specialist services provider for home maintenance, improvement and also turnkey interior solutions.
Dedicated service crews are available to handle customer needs on their furniture/ furnishing maintenance , all of which augments the product offerings there by giving more reasons for customers to have us as their service providers.
As a brand which believes that Creativity is what makes life worth living, and we want to share it with everyone,we have taken few steps to stand by our core belief. Creativity is not just our DNA of the campus, but we are now helping our retailers also to bring in some creative quotient in the way they display products, talk about the products by creating a knowledge corner or sheer colour play that can reflect creativity and make the displays and products farmore enticing. Another service design idea that we have implemented is the Curated Trail journey where the entire team of the campus management scouts accompanies every customer who walks in the campus and guides them on aspects of shopping, finance, delivery and maintenance. For Creaticity, therefore, such unique last mile deliveries have a become a way of life in creating an ecosystem that helps creative expressions.
Our second core is F & B which is arguably second to none in Pune, in terms of offerings, ambience and experience. With over 27 cuisines and a dozen outlets run by some of the finest minds and restaurateurs in India, this has become a true darling of the F& B lover in Pune. From IT pros having a light evening out to happening parties to family lunches and dinners and celebrations, Pune’s new hangout is here at Creaticity. Add entertainment and events to it, we have a combination unlike others, which is sustainable in the long run.
Which brands do you host in your mall? How are you creating differentiation for your mall and for these brands?
Creaticity has a blend of international and homegrown brands, from national chains to regional and city retailers and from lifestyle to premium offerings. @ Home, Ashley Furniture Home Store from the USA, Natuzzi Editions from Italy, Gautier from France, Houslife, The Home Sukh, Stories, a concept store (coming soon), Rawat & Tangent Furniture to name a few. Not to leave the ‘touch and feel’ that is so important for this category, onlinemajor Studio Pepperfry has their studio here as well. Over 60,000 sq. ft. of space is dedicated for over dozen Fine dining brands like Publiq, Baraza, Wicked China, Sassy Tea Spoon, Iron Bar & Grill, Good News Dhaba, Kk Sheesha, Nine Square Veg bistro, Opus banquets, Skybeam and few more to open soon by end of this year.
Would Creaticity like to take on a brand like IKEA as a tenant?
IKEA is a world renowned brand that anyone would love to have. We would surely welcome IKEA and support them for making and creating beautiful homes in Pune and Maharashtra.
Tell us about your innovations in customer engagement?
There are some distinct steps we have taken as far as customer engagement is concerned and this is a combination of technology and personal touch. Our interactive kiosks go beyond just directions and store directory, there is a layer of intelligent information available to customers. Our ‘third place’ seating and breakout domes lend that level of comfort which will lead to customer delight,the JOIE inspirational home, a 3BHK home showcasing latest products and concepts of the various home retailers is the next level of customer engagement and the service scouts available to customers for that personally curated trail is the deeper layer of engagement. The Creaticity app is the final layer of engagement which helps a customer not only known brands and products, but also offers service all the way upto booking a table at any of the restaurants or booking a ticket for an eventor show, and a whole lot of benefits that I won’t reveal now but leave it to the reader to download the app and find out for oneself.
Tell us about your marketing and promotion strategy this year.
Marketing strategy for this year is a three pronged approach – A) Reinforcing the range and depth strength B) Focus more on re-marketing to customers who have patronized us and those with referrals and C) to host events that are participative and helps in conversion for Home and Fine dining. This is simplistic, but at a macro level, the brand positioning of being a destination of choice in the categories we operate and inculcating the joy of co-creation is what we intend to pursue.
Is Creaticity an Omnichannel mall? If not are you planning to go Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a much used and abused word. To us, Omnichannel status is achieved when we offer a seamless shopping experience to customers. We are currently rolling out a very robust techno-malling experience for our customers with Creaticity App being launched for android and apple users along with a specific 360 degree technology supported experience for customers who walk in at Creaticity that helps ‘Inform’, ‘Engage’ & help customers complete the entire shopping journey. Our approach will be to draw and engage customers through a combination of knowledge leadership and content leadership backed by people and technology.
What can we look forward to from Creaticity in 2019?
We have some exciting plans ahead on the brand. The major ones are as follows:
1. Amplify the “explore and express” aspects of the campus with a host of activations and additions.
2. Enhance the “engage” of customers with some deep and rich insights on consumer behaviour
3. Strengthen the categories.