Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is a great example of being a very visible spokesperson. Hardly a day goes by when he isn’t in the media because he knows what the media will be interested in and how to show his company the way he wants it perceived. He is known to answer all the hard hitting questions and is always prepared and up to date with everything Tesla is working on.
Don Meij, CEO of Dominos Australia is also a great example of a visible spokesperson. He is the face of Dominos after a successful campaign where he was the centre of all ads and media releases. He knows who his stakeholders are and what they want from him and the company.
Your spokesperson is the face everyone will think about when they think of your company, so it is important to build a profile and reputation to allow your audience to connect with your company.
Many spokespeople go through vigorous training to be able to handle the pressures of being interviewed. You don’t want a spokesperson who will crack when the hard questions hit, this could end in your company looking bad.
You want someone who is prepared to be in that situation, someone who is up to date with everything happening in your company, and someone who has a lot of knowledge in your company.
Know your stakeholders
Your spokesperson needs to know every group/person with an interest or concern relating to your company. You need to know what affects your stakeholders and what you can do to keep them associated with your company.
An effective spokesperson also needs to know the audience and what is important to them so you can target your message to that particular group. If the majority of your audience are millennials, the topics such as job security, housing affordability, and technology could be important to know.
Know the media
Knowing which media outlets would be interested in your company, as well as outlets that your stakeholders are interested in is important. To have a good relationship with the media can help you in times when you need some coverage or need a press release covered immediately.
When you know which outlets to target, your spokesperson needs to understand how they work. Your spokesperson needs to know what they want from you while also getting what you want from them. It is important to know how they can be portrayed in the media so you can control how your company is seen to others.
If your spokesperson presents themself like they are hiding something, this can be detrimental to your company. Your company needs to be open with your stakeholders, a way to do this is by your spokesperson answering every question that gets thrown at them.
In high pressure interviews the worst thing is to look like you’re avoiding answering certain questions as it will start to get people thinking ‘Why didn’t they answer that?’ Your spokesperson needs to present the look of complete transparency on behalf of your company.
Have a good photo
One thing that gets dismissed as important is a photo. Having a professional photo for your company’s spokesperson is essential to get the message across ‘we are professional, and we mean business’. There’s nothing worse than a spokesperson of a company being in the media with a Facebook photo as their picture (yes, this happens).
There’s a lot to consider when appointing a spokesperson, and training is important. Your spokesperson is the face of your company, and you need to consider their reputation and personal brand along with the company’s.
By Catriona Pollard, CEO of CP Communications and author of From Unknown To Expert.