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The Role of Culture in Crisis Communications

When we talk about crisis communications, we often think of legal teams, public relations, risk management and operations. What we often miss is human resources and the role of culture. Culture is critical to responding well to a crisis, and it’s easy to err on either of two sides that are greatly impacted by culture – too much transparency or too little transparency. Transparent Cultures Transparency is an important aspect of many of the best corporate cultures in the country. Associates in transparent cultures feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, and are more motivated to grow the business and collaborate with other departments. Unfortunately, transparency in these cultures can often mean sharing information the moment it’s first heard – before facts can be confirmed and the drawbacks of sharing fully considered. You can thank the 24-hour news cycle for that misunderstanding. When a crisis hits, you can’t share everything the moment you think you know the facts. I’ve managed way too many crises in which what is known minutes after the incident changes drastically two hours later. The last thing you want to do is share information immediately without confirming facts and waiting for the investigation to develop, especially with the media and residents. Taking a breath and letting information develop is key to ensuring you don’t say something false, misleading or down-right inappropriate that can lead to lawsuits, an erosion of trust with residents and severe reputation damage. I often recommend waiting several hours after a crisis strikes......
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Integrated MarCom Every Time

Whenever I mention running an integrated marketing communications program, everybody in the room nods in agreement, as if to say, “Of course.” Whenever an individual marketing idea or subject comes up, however, everybody seems to jump at getting the task checked off the to-do list without putting a comprehensive, multi-pronged campaign together. And there’s often a litany of excuses: “My boss wants this done yesterday,” “I just don’t have the time to put together a plan,” or “We can’t wait any longer. The next conference is just around the corner.” The reality is, we often forgo integrated marketing communications plans because we want to check the to-do off our list. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, just checking it off the list is often the biggest mistake we can make. We not only render the marketing or communications effort ineffective, but we also create a habit of doing what’s expedient rather than what’s effective. Fortunately, we can break this habit with just a little discipline and the willingness to sell a better outcome. Here are three ways to ensure your marketing efforts, whether you’re a supplier partner, third-party manager or an apartment owner/operator, are always integrated: 1. Always take a step back and push back … in the right way. Every time someone comes up with a killer marketing idea and drops it on you like it’s the next iPhone, stop and think about it for a minute. Marketing and communications don’t work like a faucet. You can’t turn them off and back on and expect the leads......
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Elements of a Rock Star Review Response

  Responding well to an online review is more involved than you might think at first glance. There’s a lot of customer service and public relations theory working in the background that has to be incorporated into a few short sentences. And it’s happening while you’re trying to hold back the emotion from being skewered online. If you can find a way to tame the angry beast inside and remember the following five elements, you can become a response rock star. Authenticity This isn’t a statement to the media or a legal letter. It’s a response to an upset resident with hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective renters watching. If your response reads like you outsourced it to your legal team, it’s not going to sound natural and prospects are going to know it isn’t genuine. Be natural, be authentic and prospects will believe you truly care about your residents. Honesty The worst thing you can do is lie. Saying your service manager was at the community at 9 a.m., when they didn’t show up until 3 p.m. might seem like a good idea because prospects will believe you arrived on time. But the truth always comes out and it’s more believable when it comes from a resident. The resident will call you out on a follow-up post and other residents might post their own negative reviews about late service just out of principle. Always tell the truth, even when responding to a review. Friendly It’s hard to be friendly to someone who just ......
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The Value of Public Relations in the Multifamily Industry

The Value of Public Relations in the Multifamily Industry
Contrary to popular belief, public relations (PR) means more than just press coverage and media interviews. There are several aspects of PR, from press releases, to internal communications, to reputation management, and many things in between. PR builds your brand’s visibility and fosters a positive perception. In the multifamily industry, there are a variety of reasons why PR is relevant to you. Here are a few instances where PR is valuable:     Market Launch. If you are in the process of building a new apartment community, having a focus on PR is extremely valuable for the development of your brand. You’ll need to put a launch strategy in place that includes communication efforts internally as well as externally. Pitch information about your new community to local newspapers and lifestyle magazines, and consider participating in events within your neighborhood to spread the word about your new apartment community. It’s always best to begin planning a PR strategy as soon as possible, in order to build anticipation and interest before you actually begin the lease-up.   Brand Awareness. Whether your community is newly constructed or well-established, you want people to know about it! It’s critical to stay at the top of people’s minds in order to build your community’s visibility in your local area. From participating in local events, to branded materials, to media coverage – it all plays a role in reinforcing the power of your presence. Scope out events or media opportunities where you’ll be able to showcase your community and draw the attention o......
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