Pinnacle Property Management Services, LLC

National Crisis Strategy & Communication

Pinnacle Property Management Services, LLC (Pinnacle) is a privately held, national real estate provider specializing in third-party property management. Pinnacle’s portfolio includes more than 172,000 multifamily residential units and 2.1 million square feet of commercial assets. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the Pinnacle team comprises 4,300+ employees across 30 states.

The Challenge

In its management of more than 800 multifamily properties across the U.S., Pinnacle regularly communicates with current and prospective tenants, collects rent, handles maintenance and repair issues, and responds to tenant requests and concerns. Most tenant issues are considered routine. Some, however, reach a crisis level that attracts local media attention. Depending on the nature of the situation, crisis-level incidents can potentially jeopardize the viability of a property and damage the reputations of owners, property managers, and/or asset managers. Pinnacle needed guidance, beyond a legal perspective, on how best to manage crisis events in real time – and it turned to HCK2.

The Solution

HCK2 recommended a two-pronged strategy. The first component was the creation of a strategic incident-communications plan that would provide employees an established protocol for communicating with internal contacts, external entities, residents and the media. As part of this plan, HCK2 defined a list of potential crises or incidents ranging from natural disasters–such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes–to man-made or criminal acts, such as theft, vandalism, shootings or cyber-attacks. Every type of incident was assigned a crisis level (level 1, 2 or 3), and each one had a specific action plan on “Who” to contact, “What” to say, and “How” to handle.

The second component was providing Pinnacle’s staff 24/7 access to HCK2’s crisis-management team so that we could consult in real-time when reporters contacted the property in-person, by phone or via email. Once notified, our team contacts the reporter, vets the opportunity or questions, counsels whether or not to respond, and drafts a media statement if warranted. In addition, if an incident needs to be communicated to residents, HCK2 drafts a letter communicating the situation and how-or-if to respond. 

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The Result

Pinnacle’s employees at every level were given an approved incident protocol to help them handle any type of situation on-property consistently throughout the organization. The plan provided training, tools and real-time support for property managers and their staff to ensure that employees would not take matters into their own hands and inadvertently damage the reputation of the property or the owner by granting an on-the-record interview. HCK2 provides written media statements only, which helps control the message while allowing input and approval from Pinnacle’s risk and legal teams before any statement is released. This program has successfully minimized negative or potentially negative media stories regarding properties managed by Pinnacle.