Rapid Response

Responding to industry events is an opportunity to assert your company as a thought leader and as a relevant voice in your industry. These are drop-everything, all-hands-on-deck moments. Founders drive the urgency and excitement around these moments.
A well-executed rapid response is like a sonic boost to your companys visibility and credibility. Not all rapid responses will be successful, but learning from each opportunity will improve future odds.
When a rapid response is needed, the founding team must react quickly to assess the situation and create and publish a response. The response should reflect the teams authentic viewpoint on the situation. This is an opportunity to do a thought exercise around your companys niche in the market and where you can add value to the situation.

Events to watch for

  1. Competitive moves (e.g. acquisitions, mergers, product announcements, licensing changes)
  1. Industry changes (trends, standards, policy, law)
  1. Security breaches

Common response types

  1. Comment on how the event impacts the industry and why your companys mission/vision is relevant.
  1. Provide a solution, preferably using your product.
  1. Report on the situation in cases where you have insider knowledge.
Founders should set keyword alerts for ongoing new monitoring.

Rapid Response Process

Speed is paramount to a successful rapid response. When a rapid response opportunity arises, alert the company and OCVs head of content and COO for support. Rapid response communication with OCV will happen in the companys OCV slack channel.
  1. As soon as a rapid response is alerted, the CEO/CTO creates a Zoom call and all necessary stakeholders join. This could mean the entire company.
  1. Create a shared document for collaboration and begin populating it with links and comments on the situation. Determine how best to proceed with an external message, and create a plan. Assign activities and due dates to appropriate stakeholders. See Rapid Response Playbook for a list of possible tactics.
  1. Once a plan has been established, end the Zoom call and set a check-in call for 2 hours later.
  1. Resume the Zoom call after 2 hours to follow up on deliverables and assess any additional information.
  1. Coordinate publishing of public materials with social media, community responders, and anyone else involved.
  1. Assess results and progress as you release materials. For example, did you tweet about the situation and get a lot of attention from that tweet? Should the topic of the tweet become a blog post?
  1. Continue this rotation for 3-5 days, or until the news cycle has ended.

Rapid Response Playbook

Each response opportunity will require a custom plan. This is a generic list of actions needed to execute a rapid response:
  1. Internal documentation of the situation including official company stance and response.
  1. External facing blog post and/or YouTube video
  1. Product demo(s) & documentation
  1. Social media posts
  1. Comments on Hacker News and/or Reddit
  1. Swag giveaways, coupon codes
  1. Press briefings/contact press
  1. Graphs and data science
  1. In-depth technical articles
  1. User profiles that show the human side of the story
  1. Interviews with journalists and providing on-the-record commentary
  1. In-person events and meet-ups
  1. Twitter spaces