Brand Trust: elements and influences on Industrial Landlord/Tenant Relationships
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There is a lot of research into the concept of brand trust amongst numerous industries but it has not been researched in relation to the real estate industry and in particular industrial property developments. The elements and influences on brand trust are numerous and disparate dependant on the industry within which the concept is researched. However, the literature did identify certain common elements and influences amongst the industries researched. The existing literature on commercial and industrial property developments identifies there are many aspects of a property that tenants take into consideration when leasing including location of a building or site, rent incentives, lease terms, operating expenses and management of the property. There are also many intangible influences on the decision making process that are not as easily identifiable but can primarily be recognised from the relationship between landlords and their tenants in terms of trust, balance of power and overall satisfaction. The existing literature identifies that the tangible aspects of the relationship are considered more significant than the relationship in commercial leasing. There is a clear gap in the research between the concept of brand trust and its value in landlord/tenant relationships in industrial property developments. This dissertation proposes to answer the following questions: What are the elements of brand trust in landlord/tenant relationships in industrial property developments? What are the influences on brand trust in landlord/tenant relationships in industrial property developments? What is the influence of brand trust in comparison to other aspects of commercial leasing on tenant retentions in industrial developments? This dissertation primarily reviews the existing literature on the concept of brand trust as well as the literature on landlord/tenant relationships in industrial property developments and the influences on tenant retentions. An exploratory research method is utilized to collect data. Semi structured interviews were conducted with 6 respondents who were tenants of medium-large sized industrial property developments with multiple tenants and managed directly by the landlord. This study identifies that the predominant elements of brand trust in landlord/tenant relationships in industrial property developments include accessibility, benevolence, communication, competence, conflict resolution techniques, cooperation, coordination, credibility, equality, flexibility and professionalism. The primary influences on brand trust are the level of landlord power, the level of tenant power, the economic environment, the tenant mix in a development, the power balance in the landlord/tenant relationship, word of mouth and experience. Subsequently this dissertation identifies that the influences on tenant retentions in industrial property developments include switching costs, alternative attractiveness, the tangible aspects of the relationship including lease, location and building, the economic environment, the power balance in the relationship, brand loyalty and brand trust. The elements and influences on brand trust that are identified in this dissertation are generally consistent with the existing literature. However, although the dissertation identifies that brand trust is influential on tenant retentions, it is of less importance than the tangible aspects of the relationships including the location, building and lease. This only partially supports the existing literature on the influence of brand trust on commitment. In conclusion, the implications for management are that, provided landlords are able to meet tenant’s needs in relation to the tangible aspects of the development, then they should focus on the level of brand trust in the relationship to gain an advantage over other landlords in retaining their tenants.