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THE ART BEHIND SELECTING THE RIGHT SPOKESPERSON

Cutting through all the clutter is no easy feat in today’s connected world. If you want to reach your target audience, you’ve got to be strategic and maximize every opportunity. Eric Wright and Mike Bako of DS Simon Media recently shared valuable insights on the art and science of selecting the right spokesperson to represent your brand.

Authenticity is key.
Your spokesperson needs to have relevance and a connection to your campaign that goes beyond money. They also need to be comfortable with your product or brand.

Negotiate important details during contracting.
Make sure you and your spokesperson are on the same page when it comes to your media strategy.

  • Will your spokesperson be able to travel to a particular location?

  • Do they have any time, health, or other restrictions that could limit their availability for certain activities (i.e., media tours or meet-and-greet sessions)?

  • Are there ways to leverage the spokesperson’s availability to support internal communication initiatives for employees?

Practice makes perfect.
Always test your spokesperson to make sure they are camera ready. Provide talking points and have your spokesperson practice them until they sound natural. Take the opportunity to tailor the messages for local media markets. Also, spend time rehearsing sound bites for trade and print stories.

Be strategic when pitching to producers.
Highlight the visuals you can provide to maximize the appeal of the story, like the location, costumes, or props. Emphasize any personal connection your spokesperson has to the local market.

If you anticipate producers will want to talk to your spokesperson about other topics during the interview, discuss this prior and ask them to set aside 30-45 seconds of the interview for your messaging.

Take advantage of seasonal tie-ins and current events.
Consider when your campaign will run and how you can tie-in themes or current events to maximize relevance. Just make sure your spokesperson has a strong connection.

Capitalize on your spokesperson’s signature.
Is your spokesperson known for having a unique way of dressing or communicating? Do they have a compelling personal story to tell? If so, incorporate these elements into your campaign in a creative way.

Be ready to handle crisis situations.
Always have a backup plan in case negative coverage appears about your spokesperson.

  • Think about shifting your story to other elements of the campaign.

  • When necessary, pitch an alternative spokesperson. This is especially important when your spokesperson is synonymous with your brand (i.e., Progressive Insurance, Subway).

Leverage your media results on social media channels.
Share media clips to expand the reach of your campaign. This action will support future efforts by providing “proof of concept” to producers and highlighting the appeal of your spokesperson.

Thank and promote media outlets that ran stories about your brand. They’ll appreciate your sense of reciprocity.

Link to presentation: IABC FINAL Spokesperson Selection Presentation.

You can reach our presenters.

Our thanks to IABC member, Suzanne Grogan for writing this event summary.

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