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How Social Perception Can Affect Brand Reputations

Social responsibility is becoming a greater component of the business world. Apartment communities should stay on top of hot-button issues and be prepared to address them.

Knowing how to handle events and issues that relate to the apartment community industry is crucial to maintaining good public relations. Being aware of current events is essential to joining relevant conversations, especially when they take unexpected turns.

For example, retailers such as Wal-Mart and eBay were quick to ban sales of goods sporting Confederate flags in response to a groundswell of public calls for removing the flags from government buildings following the Charleston church shooting. Those moves demonstrated sensitivity to the event and public opinion, wrote Pino G. Audia, a professor of management and organizations at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, in the Harvard Business Review. Another example is larger corporations increasing their minimum wages in response to public opinion.  Smaller businesses that fail to respond may find themselves in precarious situations, Audia writes.

For the apartment-community industry, issues such as affordable housing and disparate impact liability have been hot topics lately. Public opinions were plentiful following the release of an audit by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s  that found more than 25,000 families getting public housing assistance exceed income limits. Public housing authorities were fairly quick to respond and provide relevant feedback.

When appropriate, lend yourself to similar conversations. Two additional tips to keep in mind if and when you do: Don’t join the conversation too late, which may appear to lack sincerity, and don’t respond in a way that contradicts your company’s values.