Sulekha.com, the Indian classifieds web-site which has also forayed into local deals, and property listings, has announced a brand makeover, introducing a new visual brand identity as well as a change in positioning, from being a vanilla classifieds player to an integrated local e-commerce company. The company is also running a multi-city campaign with a above-the-line and below-the-line marketing activities, and has allocated a budget of Rs 5 crore during the first month of the launch.

Speaking with MediaNama, Satya Prabhakar, Founder & CEO of Sulekha mentioned that offering different products like classifieds, listings and deals under their respective names was confusing users, so the company felt that it needed to create a more integrated experience focusing on the concept of local needs rather than positioning it as a classifieds site or a local search site, because users understand what they need, more than the different business terms involved. So the rebranding also marks a change in the company’s fundamental business strategy, orienting all of Sulekha’s services around user needs, making it a digital marketplace of sorts.

– Response to Deals site: On being asked how the deals site was doing and on the issue of differentiation, Prabhakar informed that the deals site has also been integrated with Sulekha’s homepage and claimed that it was at the 6th or 7th place in terms of ecommerce value, after being commercially launched in October 2011. He said that the differentiation comes from the fact that the deals are offered by the same companies which have business listings or classifieds on Sulekha and that there was no additional marketing cost or the need for a separate team to aggregate deals. This has also enabled the company to offer more local deals. Looks like Sulekha has dropped the ‘Best Buy’ tag from its deals site.

– Property portal: Talking about the property site, Prabhakar claimed that Sulekha was among the top 2 property sites in India with the largest number of sale and rental listings. We’re not too sure about the claim since the site competes with established players like MagicBricks, 99acres, and IndiaProperty.com, however, as a classifieds site, Sulekha has been offering property listings from the very beginning. He has promised to get back with figures for the exact number of listings on the site. The dedicated site was launched in October, and had claimed to offer over 67,000 unique properties across 42 cities in India at that point in time.

– Redesigning Blogs : Sulekha is also in the process of redesigning and relaunching its Blogs section, which, according to Prabhakar features 25 million pieces of user generated content, to focus on the functional aspects of content integrating Q&A, and user reviews and responses.

On being asked if Sulekha also intends to launch a ticketing platform similar to its US venture, he responded that its actively looking at it since it already has a technolgy platform in place to support the product, however, he declined to confirm any timeline for the launch.

– Plans for mobile: On leveraging mobile, Prabhakar informed that the company is just a few months away from launching a comprehensive product, and that it has taken some time because the company wanted to integrate all its offerings in the product. We’d still say that the company is a late entrant since competitors like Getit and Justdial are already offering mobile optimised websites and apps, and local search without mobile integration is incomplete.