Choose your spokespeople wisely, or face the consequences
Messages. Every firm on the face of the Earth has them, but without the right face to deliver, they might as well be preaching from the book of impending consumer obscurity.
According to a report in the medical journal the Lancet, which last week went large in the mainstream media, GPs took part in a trial to have 30 second chats with obese patients about weight loss whilst attening unrelated appointments. Half were informed of the positive effect that weight loss would have on their health whilst the other half was offered a free 12 week weight loss programme. Despite the half-minute limit, this move is having a noticeably positive impact on the nation’s obesity crisis with 40% of this opting for the free weight loss programme attending and losing an average 2.4kg versus the control group’s 1. Nevertheless, there’s still much work to be done.
This brought about a wider discussion on the importance of authority, and the importance of authority when it comes to the dissemination of information. From public service broadcasts to ambassadors putting their celebrity power behind the latest product line, having a respected personality backing something- whether that’s a concept or FMCG range- can mean the difference between being listened to, and ignored.
Companies and organisations of all kinds must think carefully about who they put in front of the camera in order to deliver their message, irrespective of what that message is. We have seen, time and again, how quickly a great idea can turn into a devastating reputation wildfire when someone misbehaves, says something outrageous, or is exposed for wrongdoings. Even simply plummeting in the popularity stakes can take a brand from cool to out of date in days.
Doctors, of course, will never be used to earn style points, but they are incredibly useful when it comes to making the public believe what they are being told. According to one BBC poll, medical white coats are the most respected professionals in Britain. The least were, perhaps unsurprisingly, politicians, estate agents, bankers and- sorry guys, I love you- journalists.
Simply having the prerequisite degree to prescribe medication, or equivalent proof of being an expert in a particular field, isn’t enough to rely on, though. Above all your spokesperson needs to exhibit trustworthiness, when it comes to the public and their relationship with your brand, authenticity is also useful, and sincerity. After all, if you don’t believe in them, who the hell else will? Oh yeah, and a little media training certainly wouldn’t go amiss, not least when it comes to press days.
Think on then, and think carefully before deciding which basket to put your most valuable eggs in. If necessary, even think about getting some expert advice on the experts you should consider calling in, because having nobody of note to spread the word is better than having the wrong person putting plans into action.