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Customers’ tastes have changed as they want to buy from trade centers that enjoy special facilities. Sepehr Trade Center, which is expected to provide spare parts for light vehicles, will become operational in the next few months. This Trade Center has unique characteristics and has executed regular programs in the field of branding and marketing. Designing of the strategy and promotional campaign of Sepehr Trade Center has been implemented by Eshareh Advertising Agency. We have interviewed Majid Ostadi, Managing Director of Sepehr Company; Mohsen Haj Ali Akbar, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sepehr Company; and Morteza Ashjari, Project Manager of Sepehr Trade Center from Eshareh Company in order to shed more light on the activities of Sepehr Trade Center.

Q: Would you please tell us about Sepehr Trade Center?

Ostadi: Sepehr Trade Center has been launched to provide services in the field of spare parts for light automotive. The center will become operational in mid-summer.

Q: What audience has the trade center targeted?

Ostadi: The audience group of the trade center is divided into three categories: The first group comprises those who intend to buy a trade space in order to provide spare parts for light vehicles. These are people who directly offer the products to the second and third groups. The second category are those who themselves offer the products to the final customers in another space but refer to the center for major purchases. This group of the people is usually active in the cities. The third group is the final customers who usually refer to such centers for a better purchase.

Q: Would you please explain more about the project for Sepehr Trade Center?

Ashjari: The project for Sepehr Trade Center started with designing the Nowruz promotional gifts: The gifts whose shape and design differentiated Sepehr Trade Center from the remaining rivals and showed that Sepehr will operate differently in the area. The gifts had been designed exactly in accordance with the group of audience of Sepehr Trade Center. In this regard, a catalogue was also prepared for the center and its unique features through which explanations were made to the audience. After awarding the gifts and conducting a major survey with the cooperation of the managers of the center, we reached the conclusion that Sepehr Trade Center has great potentials for carrying out more extensive promotional activities. Sepehr Trade Center is a new event in the traditional Iranian Bazaar: A center that will become a major sales reference for car spare parts in the near future.

To maintain the credit for the center and attract reliable people in the field of sales of spare parts for light vehicles with an aim of having their presence in Sepehr Trade Center were among the important targets we followed in the first steps of the advertising programs. In order to realize such targets we launched the phase for peripheral advertisement for Sepehr Trade Center.

When a brand or business enters into the phase for peripheral advertising, if it designs an accurate message and transfers it to the audience, it will certainly gain the credit. The phase for peripheral advertising was launched around the location of Sepehr Trade Center: Advertisements which received a satisfactory welcome. But in Tehran, there are other centers for the sale of automotive spare parts and perhaps those active in such centers would not pass through Sepehr Trade Center. Therefore, the peripheral phase was carried out more extensively in such places with an aim of transferring the message of Sepehr Trade Center in greater scope.

Q: Would you please explain the implementation process of branding activities of Sepehr Trade Center?

Ostadi: Sepehr Trade Center is located in one of the most traditional streets of Tehran. Cheragh Barq is a street where nearly seven thousand trade units and about 50 to 60 trade centers, mostly known as the shopping centers, are located. Managers of Sepehr Economic Development Company have decided to build a modern, safe, state-of-the-art center with a different design in this street. In fact, it can be said that construction of Sepehr Trade Center is far beyond the construction process of the buildings and trade centers of the area: Buildings and trade centers that have only sufficed to select a name in the branding area and have not done anything else in this regard.

Sepehr Trade Center plans to provide different services than the remaining trade centers of the area offer: A center that has drawn great attention in selecting the first category of its audience accurately.

Haj Ali Akbar: Sepehr is the only center in the area where comprehensive research has been conducted for its operation. In this research, the profitability and economic conditions, the audience group and the choice of the area of activity and the business units were carefully analyzed. This research has been systematically conducted by our team as well as by market research companies.

In this research it was found out what group of the audience the center is expected to offer services to. Because if you look around the center you will notice that Sepehr is located in the middle of the trade centers and business units, each of which present automotive products. Therefore, in the first stage, research was conducted on what the identity of the center will be. In this regard, detailed study was conducted on the audience, the appearance and architecture style.

As a result, the existential philosophy of Sepehr Trade Center, took shape prior to obtaining its license. The proper formation of the existential philosophy was very important as the maps were repeated for several times and the licensing process was complicated. The maps which were changed for the group of audience, and in my opinion were very fruitful. One of the main differences between the center and the active centers in the area is the points that I have already mentioned. The center was formed based on scientific and specialized principles.

Great care has also been taken in construction of this center. Quality materials and professional contractors have been used in its construction. The facade and architecture of this building also enjoy unique specifications. For the design of the building, a competition under the name of “façade” was held and professional designers were invited. Different designs after the presentation were judged by the masters in the field of cultural heritage and the design was selected.

The building of the trade center is also safe and defendable in terms of immunization, lighting and so on. For the presentation and advertising, we took advantage of one of the best agencies in the country. We hope that with cooperation of each other Sepehr Trade Center will be introduced as one of the best projects of the country.

All the activists in the area know exactly what limitations are considered by government agencies for construction. The cultural heritage, the energy department, the fire department, etc. are among the organizations that have their own specific rules and regulations and for construction coordination should be made with all of them.

Q: What about the design of the message and the promotional plan?

Ashjari: The architecture of the building and facade of Sepehr Trade Center is specific. In its design, efforts have been made to use the Iranian and Islamic elements. In total, the architecture and the exterior façade of the building have high visibility value. Therefore, for the basic design of the peripheral advertisement, the 3D image of the center was used. In the promotional plans both the daytime and night views of the façade have been used. Implementation of this measure led to the diversification and non-repeatability of the promotional schemes.

Q: Would you please explain the advertising theme?

Ashjari: Sepehr Trade Center is supposed to have a modern operation in a traditional atmosphere. The center is defining a new horizon and vision in its field of activity. The center is about to upgrade its level of sales and offering spare parts service in the area in the near future. Sepehr Trade Center has unique features. The theme covers all the characteristics of the trade center and in one sentence expresses its advantages to the audience. “New Horizon for Automotive Spare Parts” is a theme that was eventually picked after many studies: Studies that led us to the essence of the brand of Sepehr Trade Center. The essence of the brand of the Sepehr Center points to the modernity and up-to-date atmosphere of the center.

Sepehr Trade Center has many competitive advantages: Advantages whose multiplication makes designing of the message both easier and more difficult. When the advantages are high, their conglomeration in one single message would be somehow challenging, but on the other hand, multiplicity of the messages would help the designers to examine the issue from different aspects. Therefore, the activity for Sepehr Trade Center was a new and very enjoyable experience for our team. Promotional activities of Sepehr Trade Center were not limited to the peripheral phase and attractive programs for the opening ceremony of the center have been planned.

Q: What are the advantages of Sepehr Trade Center over its rivals?

Haj Ali Akbar: One of the most important rivals of Sepehr Trade Center is Kashani Center in Amir Kabir Street. These two centers are compared with each other in terms of position. But the important point is that Sepehr is the first center in the area that is being launched with such a process, and perhaps the only difference which distinguishes Kashani Center from Sepehr Trade Center is the number of units. Although parking has not been considered for all units, the parking lot has been designed in such a way that the car can easily move up to the doors of the storages. However, the fact that a center has been able to congregate several plaques and provide such conditions in Amir Kabir Street is a rare event in the area.

In sum, all the advantages that had been considered since the start of the project have been reflected in the advertising and marketing activities.

Ostadi: Immunization was the most important factor that was carefully applied in the construction of Sepehr Trade Center. The building is made of metal framework and is immunized and controlled against earthquake. On the other hand, most trade buildings are located in the old area and have not been immunized against fire. However, for the construction of the Sepehr Trade Center we used consultations of the fire department’s advisor from the outset and the entire building is equipped with a fire alarm system. The equipment also includes the parking lots, the storages, and the exclusive space of the entire shared environment.

The building is also noteworthy in terms of facilities. Sepehr is the first trade center in the area which is equipped with a heating and cooling system. Great attention has been paid to the designing and we are among few centers in the area that have used interior designers for this purpose. In sum, all those who have visited the building have expressed full satisfaction over the equipment and immunization process.

Q: Under the current recession, have you encountered any problem with selling of the units?

Haj Ali Akbar: Perhaps it can be said that the country is facing an unprecedented record in the past 50 years in terms of the sales of the trade units despite the recession. But given the conditions, we will be careful and selective in choosing our customers. Factors have been defined for the selection of the customers and there is the possibility that some of them may not have the necessary criteria and therefore would be removed from the list. All these cases are good indications that specify we are moving in the direction of a predefined strategy.

Q: What challenges have you been faced with in construction of the center? In your opinion, would some centers copy your model of performance in this street in future?

Haj Ali Akbari: I hope this will happen and other centers would follow the model of Sepehr Trade Center. We were also faced with various challenges in the construction phase. One of the challenges was the cultural preparation of the area for the acceptance of Sepehr Trade Center. We are trying to change the culture of the area and build new culture from different angles such as the format of contracts, advertising and information dissemination, choosing and selecting the buyers and so on. We try to be the right reference in the area and increase the level of projects implemented in the district.

Q; Tell us about the feedbacks received till now?

Ostadi: The most important feedback is the good welcome from the buyers of the units in Sepehr Trade Center. Up to now (that this interview is being done), more than 1000 visitors have come to buy the units. This is a rare event in recent years. With regard to the current condition of the country, the choice of the people in the field of making investment has changed and many trade centers conduct selection, interview and research works for choosing the buyers. Fortunately, so far reputable people in this business have been selected as the purchaser.

Q: Tell us about the promotional activities done so far?

Ostadi: Prior to the end of the year 1397 (2018-2019) advertisements were limited to promotional gifts. In this regard, the center was introduced through the social networks in which most of those interested in the center are members. Gradually, the culture of the area and the look at the center and the style of Sepehr advertising changed and for the first time in the area a well-equipped sales office started operation. Catalogs and brochures were well-designed and detailed information was provided to the purchasers at the time of their visit to the center. After these measures, we entered into the phase of peripheral advertising: Advertisement that was carried out in the area for the first time with all the existing restrictions. There is no billboard in the area and we inevitably used only straboards to convey a promotional message. Since the beginning of the month of Ordibehesht (April) this year, the peripheral advertisement of Sepehr Trade Center has started. We received good feedbacks from the advertisements: Advertisements that encouraged those active in this field to refer to the center from throughout Tehran. It should be noted that no unit has been given to the investors and only those active in this field have been included in the list of our customers.

Haj Ali Akbar: We hope that with the help of the consultants of Eshareh Advertising Agency and by planning a sound strategy the path which is expected to be taken in 5 or 6 years in order to reach a good brand, will be shortened. At the moment, sales are no longer a part of the business goals of Sepehr Trade Center. To obtain credit and brand designing is among our major priorities. Up to now, good cooperation has been established between Sepehr Trade Center and Eshareh Agency: Cooperation that has brought us satisfaction. We hope that the path to the realization of targets has well advanced and that the formulated expectations would be realized.

Q: Would you please tell us about the future plans of Sepehr Trade Center?

Haj Ali Akbar: We hope that in the month of Tir (June/July) this year all the units would be delivered to our customers. According to the previous agreement, the customers have a two-month time to set the units into operation. The unveiling ceremony will be held in late Mordad (August) and in the month of Aban (October/November) the center will be opened.

Currently we are focusing on providing information for the final customers of the center: Customers who, when looking for a prestigious center in the field of automotive parts, would immediately remember the name Sepehr: Customers who are demanding major and minor parts. This is the ultimate goal we expect of the branding.

Ostadi: Many contractors and customers have expressed their satisfaction with the project and compared it with the Palladium and Iran Mall in terms of quality and facilities. We hope that we could implement the formulated programs in a timely manner and solve one of the biggest challenges in the automotive parts market. The challenge for offering non-standard parts is an issue that currently has damaged the automotive parts market. It is hoped that with the launch of this center, trust of the customers will be secured and no non-standard parts would be delivered to them.

We are also trying to build a restaurant on the third floor to offer proper food compatible with the center’s identity. Studies have also been conducted on the food to be offered. At the beginning, it is planned to offer special “Dizzy” (special Iranian stew) to the customers at this restaurant at reasonable prices. This has happened for the first time in the area. There is no center in the area which is equipped with a restaurant. Altogether we are trying that customers, upon their entry into Amir Kabir Street, would refer to Sepehr Trade Center and make shopping there.