7 Tips for Successfully Navigating a Crisis: What To Do When the News is Bad and You’re In It

7 Tips for Successfully Navigating a Crisis: What To Do When the News is Bad and You’re In It

Politics is the ultimate reality experience. Successful campaigns can’t afford to live in ivory towers.  But when it comes to bad news breaking, people in the political arena too often naively think “It can’t happen to us.” Sooner or later, it almost always does. The first rule of political communications is, “Expect the unexpected.” And in the ever-evolving instantaneous News Cycle you can’t afford mistakes. Following these seven steps will help when you discover the news is bad and you’re in it. 1) Have a pro-active crisis communications plan Remember, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. The time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens. Knowing what to do will be immensely helpful when the raindrops start falling. The first step is identifying your Crisis Communications Team. Pick a select handful of individuals in advance who will guide you through the crisis and inform them they are on this team. This is a case of less is more: when a crisis hits, everyone wants to be helpful and offer their advice. But the last thing you need to hear is a barrage of contradictory input about what you should or shouldn’t do or say. Gather the Team, close the door and discuss the situation openly and frankly. Team members should be cool headed and steady in tough situations. Their task is made all the harder by a Henny Penny who runs around screaming, “The sky is falling!” This is a time for clear thinking, not for Nervous Nellies to vent their anxiety. 2) Have One Designated Spokesperson In a crisis, one -and only one- person...
Growing Support Through Social Media

Growing Support Through Social Media

Our Director of Digital Media, Megan Hanson, recently wrote about our social media campaign for the Ashland County Park District in the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association’s Byline Magazine. Read about our work below or click here. Rural County in Ohio Gains Support for Ballot Initiative through Social Media While millions of Americans were captivated by the top of the ticket in last November’s election, for many parks and recreation districts around the country their focus was on issues much farther down the ballot. The Ashland County Park District in rural Ashland County, Ohio was one such district. Following two previous attempts that failed by small margins, they were campaigning for a third time to secure a tax levy supporting their work. Losing this time would mean possibly closing or abandoning several of their parks, so to ensure success they hired our Colorado-based political consulting firm, Olson Strategies and Advertising, to run their campaign. In addition to the more traditional methods of campaigning – direct mail, phone calls, advertising and blockwalking – we also identified another way Ashland County Parks could increase their support: social media. As Olson Strategies’ Director of Digital Media, I began working with the Ashland County Park’s Facebook page in July 2016. At that time, it was a nearly stagnant page with just 711 likes and minimal interactions. Through creative content, targeted advertising and interacting with the community, by Election Day the page had become an engaging page with 3,016 likes — an increase of nearly 325 percent and over 10 percent of the voting population. Not only did our social media campaign create more interest...
Doug Lane Part 2: Creating the “Money Shot” Staging Presidential Events

Doug Lane Part 2: Creating the “Money Shot” Staging Presidential Events

“IT IS FASCINATING HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK YOU CAN WORK FOR 18 STRAIGHT HOURS. IT’S AMAZING.” — DOUG LANE on taking care of yourself on the road.

This week, we continue our conversation with Doug Lane, founder of FastLane Productions. He has spent more than 30 years planning and staging presidential caliber events for political campaigns and the private sector.

Doug shares more of his fascinating perspectives gained by working on behalf of presidents, presidential campaigns and VIP sports and entertainment figures.

I have worked with Doug and Fastalane numerous times, and I can attest he is among the very best of the best in this small, highly specialized field.

In this episode, Doug explains why money isn’t always the top consideration when staging the most ambitious events; how teamwork makes all the difference when working on a tight deadline; and the single most overlooked thing when dealing with your production team…

Doug Lane Part 1: Creating the “Money Shot”

Doug Lane Part 1: Creating the “Money Shot”

“YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO PLAY TO: THE 200 PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE, OR DO YOU WANT TO MAKE A SHOT LOOK GOOD FOR THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WATCHING ON TV?” — DOUG LANE on the Purpose of a Presidential-level Press or Campaign Event.

In this episode, we speak with Doug Lane, founder of FastLane Productions who has spent more than 30 years planning and administering presidential caliber events for political campaigns and the private sector.

In a wide ranging two-part interview, Doug pulls back the curtain to reveal the mistakes rookies often make … and how you can avoid them.

He tells how he transformed a small company providing DJ entertainment at local events into one of the nation’s premiere firms for designing and administering top shelf events.

Doug learned valuable tips from military planners and turned them into a business strategy that brings sizzle to the most important big-name gatherings.

And he’s had the chance to rub elbows with presidents and legendary entertainers along the way, too.

We know you will enjoy hearing his fascinating stories and great advice.

Kelly Sloan: Clinton Leads First Debate with Chin

Kelly Sloan: Clinton Leads First Debate with Chin

The first presidential debate of 2016 is now history with neither candidate emerging as what anyone might term a “winner.” Perhaps the best summary was provided the morning after by Politico’s Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, who wrote in the PoliticoPlaybook “Donald Trump didn’t throw up on his shoes. But Hillary Clinton had the far better night.”

Indeed, initial polling indicated that Clinton, having presumably engaged in extensive debate preparation beforehand, made a somewhat better impression than Trump – CNN logged the figure at roughly 64% having thought Clinton won.

But it was, at best, a hollow victory. Neither did what they needed to do…

So You Want to Run For Office … Now What?

So You Want to Run For Office … Now What?

A friend from high school contacted me. Nice guy. Successful career. Good family man. “I’m considering running for public office,” he said. “What do you think?”

My reply was short and simple: “Have you done your Candidate Checklist?” You could almost hear him scratching his head in his reply. “Do you mean have I lined up political supporters and financial backers? Do I know how to assemble a good campaign team?”

No, that wasn’t what I meant. Those things are important. But would-be office seekers should do something else first. Answering five questions on the Candidate Checklist now will make your entry into the race easier later, or even spare you serious headaches if you find running isn’t right for you (or not right at this particular time). [READ MORE]

Keeping the Crowds Engaged – Sean Bartley Plugged Into the Audience at the RNC

Keeping the Crowds Engaged – Sean Bartley Plugged Into the Audience at the RNC

Courtesy of the Ashland Times Gazette, written by Kristi Schweitzer on August 10, 2016

A lot went on behind the scenes to make this year’s Republican National Convention a success, and one particular Ashlander took part in leading those efforts.

For political consultant Sean Bartley, it was an opportunity to help make the convention run smoothly from the inside out.

Hired through his employment with Olson Strategies & Advertising based in Denver, Bartley was asked to be a part of the convention program team, working to engage crowds during the July 18 to 21 convention.

From leading the crowds in chants to making sure the audience present and at home stayed engaged, Bartley worked behind the scenes, blending in throughout the four days.

Phone Calls: Annoying or Effective?

Phone Calls: Annoying or Effective?

Almost every time I suggest any type of grassroots phone calling, no matter if they are automated, paid live calls, volunteer calls or candidate phone calls, I am met with groans, puzzling looks or outright hostility towards the idea. The “statements of fact” start immediately.

“Everybody hates them.”
“Nobody listens to them.”
“Volunteers hate making these calls.”
“I have better things to do.”

As you may guess, I disagree with the hyperbolic statements above and in a moment I’ll break down these objections one by one. First, I’ll discuss how I use each of these call types in the course of a campaign.

Wayne Laugesen PART 2: How to Ace a Newspaper Endorsement Interview

Wayne Laugesen PART 2: How to Ace a Newspaper Endorsement Interview

In this episode, we speak with Wayne Laugesen, Editor of the Editorial Pages at the Colorado Springs Gazette.

In Part 2, Wayne gives candidates, causes, and issue advocacy groups unprecedented insight into how the Editorial Board Interview process works. He lays out just how the Ed Board prepares for the interview and how the interviewee should prepare. Wayne provides invaluable advice on how to conduct yourself during the interview. He goes on to explain how editorial boards make their decision on which way they are going to endorse and then how they actually go about writing the endorsement editorial.