The importance of the sector for the country’s development is expressed by its huge value chain, which includes construction materials, machinery and equipment, real estate services, buildings, over 8 million direct jobs, as well as its economic integration with a variety of sectors.
This recent positive cycle was the result of a favorable macro-economic climate that included a major increase in resources for housing, a drop in interest rates, an increase in the income of the general population and in the availability of credit, as well as a substantial growth of the C Class* and of some of the major Brazilian cities.
However, the global economic crisis undoubtedly hit this industry much harder than other sectors of the Brazilian economy, especially real estate credit operations, which represented only 5.93 percent of the GNP, a much lower level than that of other countries. But since civil works have a major impact on a country’s overall economy and employment rates, the government gave the sector a hand by stimulating the construction of low-income housing, and through the so-called Growth Acceleration Program (Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento – PAC), a set of economic measures for this sector.
A key trait of the residential and commercial building sector is its high concentration and competition, resulting in greater barriers for new entrants, especially considering the relevance of brand assets such as a positive image and buyers’ confidence.
That is the general scenario for a very interesting case of brand construction and development, which is that of the Tecnisa Construction Company. Established in 1977 by Meyer Joseph Nigri, an engineering student at the time, the company was born thanks to his personal dream of creating a collective dream. In the course of the past 30 years, the company became one of the
largest construction companies in Brazil, launching over 15,500
residential units, divided into 128 developments with a total area of
3,000,000 square meters. The company is active in seven of the 27 Brazilian states, with an emphasis on the state of São Paulo – the nation’s wealthiest state – where it is present in 14 cities.
Tecnisa clients belong to classes AB* and pay an average of US$ 160,000 for a property – they belong to the ‘hard-working middle class’, as the company’s marketing director, Romeo Busarello, likes to put it. More recently, Tecnisa reached out to yet another market: the so-called class C*. As in many other segments, women between the ages of 27 and 37, in addition to having a great influence on any decisions associated with real estate investments, are responsible for over 30% of the units handled by the company.
In addition to the market’s overall prosperity, over the past three years, Tecnisa featured an 80 percent growth, which is much higher than the growth rates experienced by the market in general, having exceeded US$ 500 million in sales in 2008.
Such a performance is the result of a great deal of segmentation throughout the marketing composite, as well as an innovative attitude – a key element in the corporation’s very DNA. Tecnisa was a pioneer in many areas, such as, for example, the use of the Internet not only as a channel of information, but as a sales channel, which enabled it to sell 509 units in 2008 with the help of the worldwide web.
Its close relationship with the Internet and its understanding of the Web’s importance in the buying process led the company to use social networks for making contacts, communicating content and information dissemination.
Tecnisa was also the first company of its kind to have a Twitter account and to use the network in a process that recently closed a deal on an apartment that cost more than US$ 275,000. Twitter reduces the investments required for an online sale by 80 percent compared to other channels.
The construction company has also been in the forefront in the use of other contemporary innovations: a corporate blog that boasts 25,000 unique visitors/month, an iPhone application and a specific mobile strategy. The relevance of the new media has led Tecnisa to become the first construction company to have a manager for social networks.
Special attention has also been paid to segmented marketing, which identifies audiences that have not been attended to or even ignored. Tecnisa was the first to publicly assume a gay-friendly attitude, guiding relevant communication efforts and customizing real estate according to the preferences of this group, which currently represents 12 percent of its clients.
This year, the company incorporated yet another segment that had remained
all but invisible in the eyes of the Brazilian market: the elderly. Tecnisa adopted a focus on gerontology – the study of the aging process – and launched the first project to offer an inclusive architecture designed around the needs and desires of the elderly – a vision to be incorporated into all Tecnisa
projects from now on.
By identifying alternatives for the elderly and by improving the quality of life of the over-60 population, Tecnisa is positioning themselves in a growing demographic. Population growth projections show that the average age of the Brazilian population is rising, leading to a natural and significant increase in the elderly population. According to IBGE, the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics, by 2050 there will be more people over 80 years of age than between 20 and 24.
Such initiatives certainly strengthen the brand of this innovative company, which keeps close track of its target audiences. So close that 22 percent of all its units are bought by past clients or recommended by them, unmistakable proof of their loyalty, which is of the utmost importance in a sector with so many requirements and expectations. The fact is that invisible people and segments are revealed as soon as a company acknowledges them and designs products for them. In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character is encouraged to build a baseball field by an inner voice that keeps saying, “Build it and they will come”. That’s exactly what Meyer Joseph Nigri did.
* The Brazil Criterion uses Class A as one extreme (the richest segment of the population) and Class E as the opposite (the poorest). The rich and the extremely poor are not part of this stratification system.