Crisis Control a.k.a Protecting Your Company’s Reputation

 Guest Blog Post by Mariana Toscas Nowak, Editor of the Journal of Property Management (JPM®) from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).


Did you know that your company’s reputation could go up in smoke in hours, or even seconds?

While you can’t affect the outcome of a disaster, you do have the opportunity to take control of communications regarding the event—potentially minimizing damage to an owners’ or managers’ reputation (not to mention your own).

Crises of all kinds—whether shootings, hurricanes, pandemic outbreaks, terrorist attacks, or all-too-common emergencies, like power outages, microwave fires, elevator malfunctions or petty thefts—are inevitable in places where people live, work and shop. Preparation is your best defense.   Here are some pointers to keep you calm when disaster strikes:

A crisis communication plan should identify:

  • Who makes up the crisis communication team;  
  • Who is responsible for what;
  • Who may speak to the press, and under what circumstances;
  • A strategy for handling the press;
  • Potential disastrous scenarios that could affect a property; and
  • Possible written or verbal responses to those scenarios.

Read more about developing an emergency procedures manual in the publication Before Disaster Strikes, 3rd edition.


Stick to the facts. Company statements need to be transparent, accurate and compassionate. Making sure all stakeholders—tenants, vendors and regulators—have all the relevant information in any crisis is key.

Develop key messages and phrasing to pass along, and then centralize those messages by relaying them through one source or spokesperson. Don’t identify your messages on the fly; get a firm grasp on what your clients’ expectations are in advance so you’re prepared.

Use all means necessary—phone, e-mail, Facebook, twitter and instant message—to ensure prompt delivery of information to stakeholders and tenants. Streamline delivery of these messages by using automated emergency notification systems that can reach large numbers of individuals instantly and simultaneously.

Find out how Japanese property managers turned to mobile technology during the Great-Quake Tsunami.

Don’t leave your reputation in the hands of other people. Be prompt and informational when communicating about a crisis situation. Seize control of the facts before rumor and innuendo fill the gap.

Read on about “Crisis Communication” in the May/Jun issue of JPM®.

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