I’ve had a look inside some PR campaigns that worked with celebrity spokespeople.
I wish I could tell you about the celebrity you’ve heard of who brought her mom to the media training. She had no connection to the brand and the cause the brand was promoting, treated the whole thing like a chore, and ended up flipping out and bailing.
But instead let’s talk about some tips in working with spokespeople, particularly those from outside your brand.
Why is authenticity so important when choosing a spokesperson?
What’s the value of earned media? It’s credibility. It’s that extra trust created by knowing that a gatekeeper made a decision to put this spokesperson in front of me. Your spokesperson needs to double down on that by speaking naturally, not in a canned way.
What are some best practices for corporate and non-profit spokespeople?
For spokespeople to be effectively authentic, they need to believe in the point of the campaign! An editor once said to me, “You know what I want to tell these PR people when they call me? I want to ask them, ‘If you weren’t getting paid to pitch this, would YOU even be interested in this?’”
That’s a fair standard for her to hold us to. And we ought to find spokespeople who meet it. In contrast with the rude daughter above, a pharma company I once worked with did it right. They did the research and booked a well-known golfer who has an immediate family member who struggles with the ailment their drug treats. He was naturally effective transitioning the interviews they booked for him away from his golf game and into raising awareness for the ailment.
What are some mistakes to avoid when choosing spokespeople?
Beyond choosing someone simply because he was the “celebrity we could afford,” be thoughtful about propping up your CEO just to support his vanity or because of default thinking.
Instead, explore using a real person – someone affected by your product, service or cause who is outside your organization. Media train them for sure, but let them tell their stories in their own voices. In today’s social-media-driven world, authenticity beats polish every time.