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Working Through the Spokesperson Decision Tree

Posted By Lesley Waldsmith On March 2, 2015 @ 4:13 pm

A topic that comes up time and again in conversations with clients is the question of a brand spokesperson: When should the founder be the face of the brand and when does it make sense to look elsewhere for a spokesperson?

As we’ve seen with Wendy’s, Men’s Warehouse, KFC and Perdue, there can be risks (and also huge rewards) to closely tying a founder’s personality [1] to the business.

When evaluating a potential spokesperson, whether it’s the company founder, an influencer or an executive, we analyze different scenarios while developing a recommendation.

As illustrated by an excerpt from the decision tree above, we can address the topic by reviewing seven questions to guide us when thinking of the candidate as a spokesperson with media and social media.

#1  Would this person make sense on national TV?

One of the questions that we ask ourselves is if it’d make sense to put this person on national TV, such as on TODAY.

When we put spokespeople on national TV, like TODAY, we do thorough media training prior to the segment, preparing for numerous on-air situations. Yet, there are still always a few surprises. That’s an unpredictable high-stress situation, and you want to make sure you have the right person in the hot seat before the camera rolls.

If our work with a client will include national media outreach, a spokesperson should resonate with a national audience and be comfortable doing a live segment.

#2  What about local TV?

If regional/local television is part of a media or social outreach plan, evaluating a potential spokesperson for her/his ability to connect with audiences in different areas of the country is key.

Some personalities relate well in the Midwest and East, but maybe not so much in the West. We had this situation with one of our CPG clients – Simplot. We were launching CravOn Never-Fried French Fries as it rolled out in grocery retail stores across Southern California. This launch was strategic in that it was a new retail French fry product from Simplot, and it also presented an opportunity for the company to market directly to consumers.

The brand didn’t have anyone in L.A. or on staff who would be an effective spokesperson in Southern California. So, we looked outside of the company and identified a Food Network celebrity chef who aligned with the brand’s target audience and definitely had a personality for TV. We utilized Chef Nikki [2] as our primary spokesperson in L.A. throughout the campaign, which contributed greatly to the success of the product launch.

#3  What’s the context – live or taped?

Before selecting Chef Nikki as the spokesperson, a team from Fahlgren Mortine visited her and conducted extensive interviews and training to evaluate her responses in a live interview. Because we had that opportunity, we were confident in booking live demonstrations with media.

#4  Ok, now how about the content?

After determining our POV for the context of when to use the spokesperson with media, we move to a content review. What are the topics this person can authentically speak about on behalf of the brand – all while staying in line with the brand’s values and appealing to the brand’s audience?

#5  Does a candidate work well on social media channels as well?

If connecting with an audience through social media will be part of the spokesperson’s efforts, many of the same questions apply.

#6  What’s the context?

The first step in evaluating a candidate’s resonance is to determine which social platforms will be used – based on the brand’s target audience. For instance, if the brand’s primary target is moms with young children, then Facebook and Pinterest might make sense to start.

Looking at the selected platforms, the spokesperson could contribute to the brand channel or have her/his own channel to compliment the brand’s presence. Knowing that our goal is to ensure we keep and grow the target audiences’ attention, we analyze the potential for strengthening the brand and its engagement with consumers versus causing confusion and message dilution.

#7  What content would this person offer?

Having decided on the context, next we analyze the content – what content from this spokesperson would best resonate with the target audience at a national level? Will the spokesperson also authentically engage with social followers who comment on the content shared?

By answering these seven questions and thinking strategically about the context and content of potential media and social media opportunities, we are able to provide a thorough recommendation to a client. Have you been in a situation when you needed to make a decision about who to use as a brand spokesperson? Share how you reached your decision in the comments below.

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    Article printed from Fahlgren Mortine – Marketing and Communications Blog: https://blog.fahlgrenmortine.com

    URL to article: https://blog.fahlgrenmortine.com/2015/03/working-through-the-spokesperson-decision-tree/

    URLs in this post:

    [1] closely tying a founder’s personality: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/business/media/when-a-founder-is-the-face-of-a-brand.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2

    [2] Chef Nikki: http://www.cravon.com/chef-nikki-shaw/

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