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 company’s 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 team’s authentic viewpoint on the situation. This is an opportunity to do a thought exercise around your company’s niche in the market and where you can add value to the situation.
- Competitive moves (e.g. acquisitions, mergers, product announcements, licensing changes)
- Industry changes (trends, standards, policy, law)
- Security breaches
- Comment on how the event impacts the industry and why your company’s mission/vision is relevant.
- Provide a solution, preferably using your product.
- Report on the situation in cases where you have insider knowledge.
Founders should set keyword alerts for ongoing new monitoring.
Speed is paramount to a successful rapid response. When a rapid response opportunity arises, alert the company and OCV’s head of content and COO for support. Rapid response communication with OCV will happen in the company’s OCV slack channel.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once a plan has been established, end the Zoom call and set a check-in call for 2 hours later.
- Resume the Zoom call after 2 hours to follow up on deliverables and assess any additional information.
- Coordinate publishing of public materials with social media, community responders, and anyone else involved.
- 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?
- Continue this rotation for 3-5 days, or until the news cycle has ended.
Each response opportunity will require a custom plan. This is a generic list of actions needed to execute a rapid response:
- Internal documentation of the situation including official company stance and response.
- External facing blog post and/or YouTube video
- Product demo(s) & documentation
- Social media posts
- Comments on Hacker News and/or Reddit
- Swag giveaways, coupon codes
- Press briefings/contact press
- Graphs and data science
- In-depth technical articles
- User profiles that show the human side of the story
- Interviews with journalists and providing on-the-record commentary
- In-person events and meet-ups
- Twitter spaces