All’s Fair In Love And War (Rooms)
“I need everything”
These are both the best and the worst words a war room operative can hear. Typically they come after a piece of breaking news – a tweet or live cable news report that sets a campaign, organization or corporation into motion. In the span of five minutes, a piece of great or devastating news can go from a local news desk to every major reporter’s inbox to the Twitter feeds of millions of followers around the world.
This is the modern information age, and it’s impossible for any large organization or campaign to navigate these waters without a highly-functioning war room.
Before joining Definers, I spent more than a year in war rooms serving major trade groups, national political organizations, and – last but not least – the presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Those three words – “I need everything” – were often uttered by my boss on the Rubio campaign. The statement usually meant my co-worker and I would spend the next several hours scouring every corner of Facebook, Twitter, national and local television, and the Web for how people were reporting and reacting to a given event on the trail.
As the campaign moved from state to state, our jobs became more complicated. We were challenged to find more content, and faster, because there were moments when our campaign and candidate needed to get information the minute it happened.
The news is just that – new – and it doesn’t wait to break between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. This was part and parcel of being in the thick of a presidential campaign, but the message doesn’t always translate flawlessly to the private sector.
Businesses, though, are confronting many of the same challenges. Whether it’s an op-ed in a local paper, a tweet from a customer, or a mention on a local evening newscast in Boise, Idaho, businesses are expected to understand and respond to consumer and media content faster and more efficiently than ever before.