PropertyGuru Group's director, brand and consumer marketing, Meenakshi Shunmugham, is stepping down from her role after close to eight years. She (pictured above) first joined in 2016 as head, brand and corporate communications for the group and took on the role of head, brand and consumer marketing before being promoted to her current role, overseeing Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Among her list of achievements at PropertyGuru include spearheading its first-ever brand refresh in 2018, conceptualising and rolling out the Own Your Home programme in Malaysia, and leading a region-wide initiative #LoveHome early last year, her LinkedIn said. She also conceptualised and launched a branding campaign for PropertyGuru Finance in late 2020, with the theme "perfectly matched, under one roof". Before heading over to PropertyGuru, Shunmugham was with Brillant Agency for more than three years, last helming the role as business director and brand strategist. She also worked at Singapore University of Social Sciences, and BBDO Asia.
Following her departure, a new director of brand position has been created to oversee the five markets that PropertyGuru is present in - Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. According to the job description on PropertyGuru's website, the director of brand is responsible for defining brand strategy for the group and driving its execution through key stakeholders in the marketing and product teams. The director of brand is the key counterpart to group senior leadership in all brand-related matters. He or she is directly accountable for group branding, including purpose, positioning, values, and identity, as well as employer branding, and consumer brand strategy. The director of brand will help drive execution of group and consumer brand strategies, in partnership with marketing leaders, and will also collaborate with the product team to define and execute identity and message strategy on its platforms.
PropertyGuru's CMO and head of fintech Bjorn Sprengers (pictured below) confirmed the news to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, adding that Shunmugham joined the team just as it was leaving the start-up phase and entering into a scale-up stage. "Under her guidance, we created the self-awareness, brand vision, and identity that enabled us to be a hypergrowth tech business in recent years and were at the basis of being voted Asia’s most influential online property brands in November 2020 by Influential Brands. We wish her well in her new endeavours," he said.
According to Sprengers, the new director of brand will be tasked to think and act across a broader range of stakeholders and strengthen its position as an influential online property brand.
Meanwhile, PropertyGuru has promoted Sushmita Mohapatra (pictured below left), regional content marketing lead, consumer marketing, to head of content marketing, and Ryan Thoo (pictured below right), head of marketing, Malaysia, to director of consumer marketing. The remit for both individuals covers all five markets that PropertyGuru has a presence in. Mohapatra joined the team last year and works with the consumer marketing teams across Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, to develop a communications strategy to support long-term brand objectives and meet monthly KPI targets, according to her LinkedIn. Meanwhile, Thoo came on board PropertyGuru in 2015 as marketing manager. As head of marketing, he led consumer marketing and drove brand and marketing campaigns, his LinkedIn said.
The hunt for a director of brand comes as PropertyGuru is expanding its business scope from a property marketplace towards a vertically-integrated property ecosystem. For example, it launched a digital mortgage brokerage in Singapore last March named PropertyGuru Finance, and acquired MyPropertyData last November to build its data capabilities. Concurrently, the brand is also evolving its positioning to from "Find" to become a platform where property seekers can "Find. Finance. Own" their home. Separately, the company recently brought on board Circles.Life's head of omnichannel and martech platforms, Gaurav Gupta, as director - consumer products. Gupta is now part of the marketing leadership team next to Mohapatra, Thoo, and the new director of brand, and reports to Sprengers.
PropertyGuru's marketing plans for 2021
Despite an uncertain year last year, PropertyGuru doubled down on transparency on property market trends and insights. According to Sprengers, it also leveraged its technology strength and reach to quickly build and launch a service that connected searchers for short-term housing to suppliers of short-term rentals, helping frontline and foreign workers. It also innovated to launch digital offerings for buyers during the pandemic, such as the Asia Virtual Property Expo in November. At the same time, the company also invested towards supporting its customers and partners by offering payment relief and product discounts.
This year, Sprengers said its priority is to bring trust to the property ecosystem in Singapore and across the region. This is done not only by ensuring that all available properties in the market are on PropertyGuru, but also ensuring the listing content is accurate and offers insights that help propertybuyers become more confident of their purchase.
"This involves a bigger focus on first-party data, both for listing quality and user journey optimisation. We will also further improve access of people to finance, particularly in markets such as Malaysia with mortgage rejection rates of more than 60%, as well as in Singapore where people often are not aware of how much they can borrow," he explained. Sprengers said these priorities enable PropertyGuru to build a brand of trust and they are a prime focus for the director of brand role.
"We aim to continue educating, offering insights to the property seekers in each of its markets to help them make confident property decisions. Ultimately, our objective is to be the platform that creates trust between consumers, agents, developers, and banks," he added.
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