Lights, Camera, Action! You’re On: The new breed of spokespersons
Advertising, check. PR, check. Social, check. Trade show, sponsorship, promotions, check, check, check. Your marketing plan – done.
Except that you are missing a crucial element that is right under your nose.
You know it better than any of these elements. In fact, you look at it every day.
What is it? In a word, it is you.
That’s right: you.
If a mobile phone was held in front of you this moment, would you be on-brand, on-message and perfectly happy to be on that screen? Unrehearsed, unscripted and impromptu?
Quick check: What are you wearing? How are you standing? What words tumble immediately out of your mouth? In short, does every part of you express the brand? Can you say something immediately that you’d be happy to see go viral?
Welcome to the world of the ‘Always-On’ Marketer.
Marketing managers need to live and breathe their brand and serve as natural brand advocates.
Social media demands ALL spokespeople deliver compelling but crisp key messages contribute to a positive image of the company, all while remaining authentic.
This means you have to be ready to rock and prepped for the limelight social media will throw on you at all times. You have to be ‘On Brand’, ‘On Message’ at all times. The world of social media demands that you be.
And your role requires just that. In our ‘Always-On’ world, the role of the spokesperson is no longer just confined to the CEO. Today’s marketing manager needs to be someone who is able to articulate your company’s marketing messages in a 1 minute video, ready to be uploaded on social media at any time.
You could be in your jeans, tearing open boxes on event set-up day; and if a passing stranger asked a question, your response could find itself on Instagram faster than you can say ‘Let me rephrase that’.
You could be joking in a networking event one minute, then find your private joke ripping its way through the social network the next – with no chance of a retraction. And the blogger who mistakenly identifies you as the CMO will not pause to ask whether you want to be identified on his post.
How does one become a credible, compelling spokesperson? Is it possible to be a good brand ambassador at all times? And what does it really mean for one to be ‘On Brand’ and ‘On Message’?
The easiest way to think about this is to imagine your brand as a person. What kind of clothes would my brand wear? How would I sound? How would I speak? What sort of personality would I have - am I an extrovert or introvert? Would I be bubbly or contemplative?
You can start with this simple exercise daily. At random times of the day stop yourself mid task and ask the question: am I On Brand now? If a hidden camera caught me in this moment – talking to my team, briefing the agency, walking to the lift, ordering a coffee – would my behaviour match my brand’s image?
Here’s an easy list to start with as you do this freeze-frame check:
· Voice: Does the way I speak match my brand? What kind of tone should I take?
· Body language: What would an observer conclude about our brand from the way I carry myself? Do I hold myself, move and gesture in a way that matches our image? What are the things that are important to me? Is my behaviour guided by my brand’s values?
· Expression: Where is our brand on an attitude scale, and how closely do my expressions match that? Do I need to look more serious or lighten up?
· Wardrobe: Do I match the brand with my style and overall look right down to my accessories, my pen, and my hairstyle?
Being a brand ambassador requires you to embody the brand at all times. You provide visible, credible representation for your brand. A social media brand ambassador is someone who does the same on social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Social media demands prompt and immediate responses. There is no luxury of preparation time in the world of social media. The question is posed, the answer is recorded. No warm-up, no ‘take two’. Whether the question comes to you on Twitter, from the audience during Q&A, via a LinkedIn message or over a couple of drinks, what you say exemplifies your brand message.
Invest time now!
Step one: Establish a key narrative and messages that will help support your brand. Develop a set of core phrases you can use on any occasion that will support your brand messages.
Step two: deliver them! Practice your delivery. Every experienced spokesperson will tell you that just reading the document is not practice. You have to pull your eyes away from your script, look people in the eye, and say it from the heart.
Practice with people. Colleagues are ideal as they will not cut you any slack. If you can’t bear the thought of stumbling in front of your colleagues, do it with a family member. The key is getting used to saying these words to another person, with sincerity, while delivering all other On Brand elements (refer to the checklist above).
Get a trusted family member to film you on your phone. Being able to watch yourself deliver the brand messages allows for you to reflect and improve on your delivery and content. You might also want to try recording just the audio without the image to help you focus on listening to your words, your style, and your overall tone. Repeat this until you are confident in your delivery.
When the unexpected moments come, you will thank yourself for the rehearsals. The familiarity accumulated from delivering the messages repeatedly will help you deliver ‘On Message’ in a heartbeat.
This is what seasoned spokespersons do all the time. This is what you, as the ultimate brand ambassador, will have to do, in a moment’s notice.
Why On Screen? You may say you don’t intend to be a TV spokesperson; you’re the marketer not the CEO.
It is helpful for customers to be able to relate and get to know the many faces of the brand in an increasingly automated world. Whether its relating a new campaign launch or communicating an apology on social media due to an inappropriate social media video, consumers want to be communicated to by real people.
While you can’t control who is filming or recording you, you can take steps to embody your brand messages and work towards being On Brand, On Message to project the very best of your brand, when the lens suddenly turns your way.
Those messages you practiced into your phone were a great start. Now take it further. Just as you know how to put an Insta-worthy post, decide what your On Brand pose, posture and expression should be. Can you step into it naturally, the moment you enter a room? Can you hold it onstage for a long time as you hand out awards? Can you maintain it while ascending a large staircase, chatting over cocktails or huddling with your team?
Decide now what your On Screen image should be. Curate the micro-elements of that image. Test out your behaviours, making sure they come across in photo and video as you intend. Critique all images of you that appear in social media, and do it dispassionately, as you would any other brand expression. Just keep asking: Is this our brand?
The rise of social media and technology brings with it many opportunities to connect with our customers. There is a platform out there for every audience segment.
Good spokespersons connect with their audiences and provide genuine, relatable responses, while building up their brand messages. So keep practicing those messages and you will master your own style in no time. Just remember: You’re On!
Note: This article first appeared in the Singapore Marketer magazine: https://issuu.com/thesingaporemarketer/docs/tsm-julsep2018-r3
Written by Julinda Mega, Red Shoe Trainer and Coach. Published on her Linkedin Article: