The purpose of this paper is to analyse how the espousing of customer relations has evolved over time in the real estate sector. Has a shift occured within the Swedish real estate sector from product thinking towards customer thinking?
The research is based on an analysis of 25 commercial real estate companies' annual reports from the last five years. The annual reports are analysed through text analysis using the theoretical framework of Mintzberg's five Ps.
The Swedish real estate sector has in general made the shift from product orientation to customer orientation. There was, however, no significant change during the last five years and most of the companies espoused customer orientation already in 2004. The study implies that it is not sufficient to categorise the companies between product or customer oriented. Instead four categories are suggested: product, customer, project, and financial orientated. Customer orientation, as measured here, was higher in listed companies and in larger companies.
The research in this paper is limited to the Swedish real estate sector.
The paper shows the espoused values regarding customer relations of the commercial real estate companies that can be found in their annual reports. As the annual reports are a marketing instrument it should reflect the senior management's core values. By highlighting how the top management's core values regarding customer relations are espoused an understanding for the sector is built up.
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