Don’t confuse a rapid response with a relevant one

On Feb. 3 at 7:48 p.m., it seems countless marketers simultaneously decided rapid response was the new key to relevancy. The buzz from Oreo’s brilliant tweet during the Super Bowl power outage: “Power Out? No problem…you can still dunk in the dark” spawned endless imitators.

But unfortunately for many of those brands, they failed to realize that rapid and relevant are not the same thing.

A few months ago, I attended a seminar featuring Matthew McGregor, digital rapid response director for the 2012 Obama presidential campaign. Every time I see one of these brands fumbling with relevancy, one tidbit from McGregor’s presentation keeps coming back to me: “great rapid response takes planning.”

McGregor gave an excellent example: When Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, the Obama Campaign had a response video posted within seconds. There wasn’t any magic to it; they had produced videos for all of the most likely VP nominees. When the moment came, they simply posted the video for Ryan.

They took the same approach to other key events, identifying the timeline and the likely conversation, so they could be armed with the appropriate response.

But this strategy isn’t specific to politics. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your company is delivering responses that are both rapid and relevant:

Create a social “media plan.” Start looking two or three months ahead. Identify opportunities to connect and build a social media editorial calendar for your brand.

Predict the conversation. Figure out what your audience will be talking about so you can make a meaningful contribution to a conversation that’s already happening.

Nail the content. People will only listen to what you’re saying if it is actually interesting. Ensure your content is relevant to them, not just your C-suite.

Execute early. Deliver on time. You don’t want to be fumbling with last-minute changes, so build your plan on a flexible foundation. Then listen and understand the landscape so you can strike while the iron is hot.



Dave Hanson is a senior copywriter at Milwaukee-based Core Creative (@Core_Creative,

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