A spokesperson can make or break a campaign. Who you’re trying to target and what sort of image you’re trying to create are crucial questions to answer before deciding who is the best bet to front a campaign.
Company/ Brand Representative:
The suitability of a corporate spokesperson comes down to what the story is. If the company is central to the story then a company representative might well be the most appropriate person. Shout! Communications was involved in a radio day recently about a major supermarket looking for a town to be at the centre of a year long recycling experiment – why that company was doing this, and the details of the scheme, could only really be answered by the company themselves.
But if the story was based on research – and the company’s only real involvement was to have commissioned that research – then journalists will be more sceptical about taking a corporate spokesperson. After all, commercial TV and radio stations have advertisers to answer too, who will question why they’re paying for air time but others are getting it for free – and BBC journalists must adhere to their own Producer Guidelines.
Celebrity spokespeople can be an expensive, but often an extremely effective, way of reaching a broad audience.
Celebrity endorsements can be very influential and a having a well-known name and voice can encourage people to listen to your story – that’s good for both broadcasters and your broadcast PR campaign.
In a broadcaster’s eyes they take the commercial sting out of the story and will make it seem less branded. In an ideal world they will have some genuine link to the campaign – for example, a celebrity linked to a charity might have lost a friend or relative to the cause.
As long as they are relevant to the story many an expert can wear this hat – from vets and doctors, to psychologists, academics and analysts – as long as they can talk round the subject in a knowledgeable, unbiased manner. They will add credibility to a campaign and this can only result in more coverage.
Some of the best coverage comes from using two of the above together. Radio particularly likes this style – so BBC regional radio mid-morning shows might take a corporate spokesperson to talk about the nitty-gritty of the research, but have a psychologist sitting beside them to talk round the whole topic.
Whoever you decide is the best fit for your next broadcast PR campaign a couple of top tips will help you secure maximum coverage.
– Ideally spokespeople should be Media trained or have some media experience. You want a spokesperson to be an effective communicator of your key messages – not dry up with nerves.
– Spokespeople must be well briefed and understand the key messages – but at the same time they need to communicate them in a natural way.
– Less is more. Communicating one key message makes for a successful interview. Obviously you need some sort of branding – but over-brand and you won’t be invited back again.
– If you’re using a celebrity make sure, in your briefing, to remind them why they’re there! Part of the attraction of a celebrity for a broadcaster is if they’re doing something themselves – they have a new film, song, production coming out – but they also need to endorse the brand that’s paying them!
– They have not appeared on any broadcast shows in the last, ideally, 4-6 weeks as broadcasters don’t like to repeat their guests too often.
– They must be presentable by which we mean they must suit the image you want to convey.
– And last but probably most importantly, they must be willing and available – especially if you’ve told a broadcaster they are! There’s nothing worse than getting an opportunity just to have to turn it down!
For more details about how to be the perfect spokesperson download our media training E-book: “Make your 15 seconds count – media training guide.”
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