The Right Person for The Right Statement

“Our company is at its distress position. However, this won’t affect our services to the consumer…”

Who will believe that kind of statement? Will you change your perception towards the statement if the corporate behind it were using their executives to say that?

Spokespeople, is a critical and significant aspect in delivering the messages to your public.

“It is by far one of the most critical aspects of corporate communications — putting the right person forward to tell your story. But what a company and the media each look for in ‘the right person’ is, to put it bluntly, poles apart.” – Rob O’brien, Weber Shandwick.

Recently I found an interesting writing related to this spokesperson matter in PR works from Weber Shandwick Asia website by Rob O’brien, a media specialist, Singapore at Weber Shandwick. I copy his writings below for your reference. The original article can be found here.

The particular type of person needs in facing journalists:

1. Expertise and news knowledge

Being invited to talk on TV means you’re going to be asked about your company and its workings. But you have to put your company into the context of the news cycle, so you have to be a standalone expert and someone who knows what is going on regionally and globally. A good global spokesperson will have a 360-degree perspective on his business, the market and where both sit in the global news cycle at any given moment.

2. Humor and humility

A massively undervalued couple of assets, but I have seen global spokespersons control interviews from the off with charm and humour, which they adapt to questions appropriately. Journalists do respond well to people that they like: likeability should be the currency of a global spokesperson.

3. Confidence and accessibility

One journalist I spoke to told me that “briefings without expectations” were a good way to fill in gaps in stories they were working on. The benefits of being able to open up and engage with the media are hugely valuable, but there are still a lot of companies uncertain about taking this step. A good global spokesperson shouldn’t have a problem with this – see points 1 and 2 .

4. Insightful and social

A senior producer shared this: “We like it if our guests are open and transparent and happy to share his/ her knowledge rather than focusing on their key messages. We look for people who are frank and open and can offer genuine insights.” Companies and PR prepare executives a certain way, which means ‘genuine insights’ are not always forthcoming. Therefore they are at a premium for journalists. A global spokesperson will be able to go above and beyond any brief and can talk outside of company messaging. Of course, it goes without saying that a ‘social’ global spokesperson – one that is prominent on all social media platforms – is the full package.

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