The Key to Successful Rapid-Response Campaigns

How to Swiftly Respond to Crises and Influence Public Affairs

Tamrah Chalom

Category: Strategy


In the fast-paced world of policy communications, the ability to respond swiftly to breaking news or legislative developments is paramount. The key to effective rapid-response campaigns lies in preparation long before the need arises. Here’s how to build a strong foundation for rapid-response campaigns and how to respond when a crisis happens.

Quick and effective responses hinge on having infrastructure ready to deploy. By investing in a robust brand identity and maintaining an extensive media library, organizations can avoid the last-minute scramble for assets. 

“When you need to act on short notice, you don’t want to lose time crafting assets from scratch,” says Account Director Vincent Levin. “We encourage our clients to invest year-round in their  brand and media libraries so if the time comes, they can move that much faster.” 

Building and maintaining a repository of pre-approved assets that already align with a brand’s look and feel gives you a valuable head start for rapid-response campaigns. This includes images, video clips, and ad templates for common display sizes. When paired with a messaging framework that gives teams a baseline for ad copy, you’re able to reduce approvals and execute more quickly.

Invest in Sentiment Tracking 

Keeping a pulse on industry conversations and public sentiment is crucial for crafting rapid-response messaging. At NJI, we advise clients to invest in year-round sentiment and issue tracking to monitor trends and gather data on what resonates with audiences. This can be done in small ways through social listening software and in larger ways through dedicated research surveys and focus groups. Knowing how audiences perceive topics can help make your campaign all the more effective.

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Understanding the core issue and who needs to be influenced is an essential component of rapid-response campaigns. Whether the goal is to combat an opposing narrative or shoot down a piece of legislation, there must be a clear definition of the desired outcome. Once there’s alignment on a specific goal, clients can tailor their message to resonate with the right audiences. 

NJI works with clients to narrow down who to target and how to reach them. Flooding the market and online spaces is expensive, so we help clients hone in on specific committees, legislators, regulators, or industry influencers to maximize impact. For instance, we can use first-party data to deliver hyper-relevant ads directly to legislators, their staffs, and associates through direct mail or out-of-home placements along routes they frequent. This tactic creates immense value without the steep price tag.

For clients in high-profile industries that are often in the spotlight, we encourage proactive, “always-on” campaigns—focused on building positive, general sentiment towards the company—rather than isolated responses to specific events or legislation. 

“The key for policy-focused clients is continued investment and a presence in the Capitol,” says Managing Director of Accounts, Daniel Kemether. “Don’t wait for crisis to engage.” 

We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t highlight the importance of collaboration with an agency and its clients. Ongoing communication, including weekly check-ins, regular audits, and flags for concerns, allows for proactive planning behind the scenes. At NJI, we prioritize being a good steward for our clients, which means understanding their industries thoroughly. 

“From setting up Google Alerts to stay ahead of industry news to building networks with influential D.C. stakeholders, we are always preparing for rapid-response scenarios,” says Senior Account Manager Aubrey Peterson.

Check out the rapid-response campaign we delivered with Direct Supply that helped save $44 billion in senior care funding in under 72 hours.

See how we can help you assess your readiness for a rapid-response campaign.

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