5 Characteristics Of The Right Brand Ambassador or Spokesperson
Who should represent your organization to the media, address the board of directors, deliver important company news, speak on an industry panel or accept an industry award? A good brand ambassador or spokesperson – someone who serves in a consistent role as the face of the company – is an integral part of building long term trust and credibility in your organization.
Although it’s common for the CEO or President to serve as lead brand ambassador, it’s also possible for those senior level team members (Director level and up) whose executive presence instills confidence.
Here Are 5 Attributes to Look for in Your Lead Company Ambassador or Spokesperson
1. Fluency and Articulation
A strong brand ambassador has deep industry knowledge and is masterful at using language to explain business concepts and ideas in layman’s terms. Although s/he may be somewhat scripted, that individual is adept at taking key messages and making them sound completely natural. If your business operates in regions or countries where another language is spoken, it’s helpful to have a dedicated spokesperson who is fluent. While leading comms for the Toy Association, I trained a Spanish language spokesperson so that we could cater to the growing needs of the Hispanic media. This also helps in building trust in your subject matter experts in the long term.
2. “On Camera” Confidence and Charisma
Depending on the type of business you’re in, there may be public speaking opportunities or on camera media, TV, or video interviews required. The right spokesperson should be a steady presence, possess a high level of positive energy and confidence, and be able to project that sense of conviction and believability into the camera (if for TV). Brand ambassadors must bring the same confidence and be just as turned on for audio interviews – these can sometimes be more challenging because you don’t have the ability to make eye contact and see the interviewer’s responses.
3. Ability to Think on Their Feet
Although it’s always smart for brand ambassadors to practice their key messages before any kind of presentation, that person should also be able to think on their feet and remain composed if things go in a different direction. If they are speaking to the media or being interviewed at a conference, it’s highly possible that the producer will provide an outline or interview questions in advance. However, in my experience in doing a lot of on-camera work for the major TV networks and cable television, these questions are not necessarily what will be asked during the interview. Being prepared is a prerequisite, but being able to respond in the moment without looking flustered is critical to build credibility.
4. Strong Eye Contact and Body Language
You convey a message not just with words, but with your actions. When I first started doing a lot of on-camera work – I was the spokesperson for the gold mining industry in the 1980s and 1990s – I was terrified to look directly into the eyes of an interviewer without a pit in my stomach. On television or video, this is a more intense experience because of a spatial distortion which occurs – interviewers and guests actually sit very close together.
Over time, I gained confidence in myself and my industry knowledge, and my presentation demonstrated that. I remember doing a satellite media tour which involved a marathon of 10 consecutive morning show interviews in a 5 hour period. Being able to make that initial connection through eye contact set me up for success.
5. Open to Criticism
A strong ambassador must be open to constructive criticism and willing to make improvements to their presentation. Before and after every speaking engagement, the ambassador should connect with the team and communications counsel for a discussion. It’s important to play devil’s advocate and discuss what could happen in different scenarios, challenging the spokesperson so that s/he gets to practice exactly what to say while remaining steady.