Who is the face of your business?
Who’s the “go-to” for marketing, promotions, and interaction with the media?
Who is the embodiment and personification of your brand?
A spokesperson is the face of your brand. It’s the person who consistently speaks for your organization when handling public relations and marketing. They are the one the public sees and hears whenever your organization communicates.
Selecting a spokesperson for your business is critical for public relations and marketing. This person will become the face of your brand for both internal and external resources. In situations of new launches, large announcements, or crisis, the spokesperson is the one that everyone will turn to for insight into the brand’s position.
What is the purpose of a spokesperson, and how do you choose one to represent your brand?
Why do I need a spokesperson?
People connect with people, not corporations. A spokesperson embodies the personality and behaviors of your brand. They put a face and voice on your brand in a more relatable, interpersonal way.
Beyond being the personification of your brand, the spokesperson also becomes the “go-to” person to interact with the media. They are professionally trained to handle public relations and appropriately maintain quality control.
The person becomes the best way to spread information. They can be used for:
- Press opportunities for business announcements or special events
- Handling crises
- Building the voice of the sales team
- Creating the marketing and promotion
- Speaking at events
Ultimately, this spokesperson will be the representation of your brand inside and out. They will manage key touchpoints between the brand and its stakeholders.
Whether you’re a small brand or retail giant, every organization needs a spokesperson. So how do you select the right spokesperson that will properly embody and present your brand?
How do you choose the right spokesperson for your brand?
1. Define your brand voice.
The purpose of a spokesperson is to reflect your brand philosophy, mission, and voice. Thus, before you select a spokesperson, you need to have a deep understanding of what your brand philosophy is. You have to comprehensively define your brand before you can find someone who will embody that definition.
You need to first know your brand in order to choose the person who best embodies that brand.
In some cases, though, the spokesperson will determine the brand voice. If your business was founded on the heart and vision of its leader, then that leader might innately be the point person for the brand philosophy.
For example, Virgin’s fun and innovative spirit rests on Richard Branson as the spokesperson. If Richard Branson stepped down, Virgin would need to elect a new spokesperson who is equally as creative and animated.
2. Start with the leaders.
When looking for a spokesperson, start by looking at the key leaders in your organization. For smaller brands, the spokesperson is usually the CEO or top manager. Larger brands often choose the executive with the most poise and information access.
They should be high enough in the organization to have access to all the information that’s necessary to effectively communicate and respond to situations.
Don’t necessarily default to the communications director unless they truly embody the brand. You want a spokesperson who is a leader within the company as well as a trailblazer outside the company.
Who is the best fit? Do they portray the values of the brand? Do they know the business inside and out? Do they have enough information available to them?
3. Consider your audience.
You typically want the spokesperson to represent your target audience. This helps your consumers and stakeholders experience a closer and more intimate interaction with your brand.
However, the spokesperson doesn’t have to be the exact representation of your audience’s demographics. Steve Jobs wasn’t necessarily the same demographic as all Apple consumers, but he had the right psychographics. He had the same mentality that the Apple target audience has: innovation drives the world forward.
The purpose of a spokesperson is to interact with your audience. Make sure that your brand and consumers speak the same language with the spokesperson as the intermediary.
4. Address their credentials.
You want to ensure your spokesperson has the right personality, qualities, and credentials for the job.
First, they should have some level of authority in their position and in their brand. They should be able to exude that authority with a resolute and resounding voice when addressing the media. This is why it’s common for a spokesperson to be a top executive.
Secondly, they should have communication skills. You want them to be able to articulate ideas and information in a clear, concise way. You can’t have a spokesperson who has a fear of public speaking or confrontation. They should command respect while responding to questions with a level head. They should be well dressed and well spoken.
Thirdly, they should have some level of likeability. Charisma helps persuade an audience to their side, which can be useful to troubleshoot with the media and build a loyal backing of customers.
Fourthly, the spokesperson should be morally ethical. This can be hard to detect—if it were easy, you probably wouldn’t have an immoral person in your company to begin with. But it’s important to choose a spokesperson with a clean record.
If the CEO is the spokesperson and he has to step down due to a scandal, it makes the whole company look bad. If the CEO has a scandal but there is a different spokesperson for the company, it doesn’t reflect as badly. The spokesperson reflects the business even more so than the CEO in a number of ways. Their reputation will reflect the reputation of the brand.
Finally, you want the spokesperson to embody the brand. We’ve discussed this extensively, but it’s important to reiterate it here. You want their authority, communication, and charisma to reflect the business. Can they answer the tough questions “in brand” (aka maintaining the same brand voice in a consistent manner)? Do they genuinely believe in your brand, product, and vision?
P.S. Remind your spokesperson that their name and image will be linked to the brand just as much as the brand is linked to them. If they believe in your brand, they’ll be okay with this. If they’re uncomfortable with their name being the “name” of the brand, they’re likely not the right spokesperson for your business.
5. Provide training.
After you select a spokesperson, you’ll want to train them for the job. Teach them how to spread information internally and externally. Discuss etiquette for speaking into microphones, on cameras, and in interviews.
Being a spokesperson is a job. It shouldn’t be its own job title, because you want the person to be entrenched in the company culture day-in and day-out. However, you might want to incentivize the spokesperson with additional compensation, whether through salary, training, or promotions.
“Spokesperson” should be a part of their job description, and their training should be associated with how to be the personification of your brand.
6. Consider multiple spokespeople.
It’s not typically recommended to have more than one spokesperson for your brand. However, there might be some situations where your brand might want multiple representatives.
For example, international businesses may need a different spokesperson in each country.
There may also be different types of spokespeople. We have mostly been discussing how to select a spokesperson for public relations. However, the spokesperson for marketing might be different.
For example, Flo has become an embodiment of the Progressive brand. But she’s not the one that speaks to the press if Progressive is going through a change or crisis.
If you select multiple spokespeople, you’ll want to ensure that they both embody the brand in the same way. They should also build a relationship through consistent communications so they maintain a reliable and steady brand voice.
Remember that the spokesperson you pick isn’t just an intermediary between your business and the press. The spokesperson is the go-to embodiment of your brand. They are the spokesperson for your brand in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.
A passionate spokesperson can create a narrative around your brand philosophy. They handle the media, engender customer and employee loyalty, and build branded interactions.
What does your brand look like? Who is the voice of your brand?
Not sure where to begin marketing your brand with your spokesperson?