Choosing the Company Spokesperson Part 6

Using a Group of Employees as Your Spokesperson:

Sometimes your best corporate ‘spokesperson’ is not one but a group of people. The impact of having a number of people deliver the same message can bring great credibility to the message. It can work a number of ways.

Imagine any one person on an assembly line telling you that quality is “job one” versus 6 or more repeating the same sentiment. There is strength in numbers. And the repetition doesn’t hurt either. This is best with a very simple message that can be reduced to only a few words—especially in a TV Spot—so there is time to repeat the thought over and over. This technique works well when the messengers are close to the message—when they are the expert authority. It also works because none of them need any natural ability as spokespeople. They only have to say a few words each. But they must speak from the heart—even if they are repeating someone else’s words.

I’m sure you’ve also seen a similar technique in which a series of different people relay a singular message by appearing to finish each other’s sentences. This allows for a longer more complicated message. Whatever the technique, using more than one person can create the subtext of unity and consistency. Sometimes that’s important.

Credibility for a group doesn’t come from just the number of people, however. You’ve got to present them in the context of being experts.

Let’s assume your marketing message is something like this: your product is better because your employees are master craftsmen with an average of 25 years experience. Should the CEO  (or even a production supervisor) be the spokesman in this instance? Wouldn’t it be more powerful if a handful of those employees delivered that message by speaking to the audience directly (to the camera)? But the most powerful way to present them is as a group of knowledgeable experts. Each would be given a different point to make about the product: “I make sure every widget is honed to precise specs.” Another may say, “It takes a lot of experience to recognize the flaws in this material, and if it’s not perfect I toss it out!”

Notice how I personalized those statements? That’s part of the power of using an employee. If introduced in proper context, they’re easily accepted as experts. Who can’t use the testimony of an expert to convince?

By the way, this technique (using more than one person) is at the heart of customer or third party testimonials as well. They always work well in groups. Not long ago Twin Oaks covered a client’s large annual event. We developed a comprehensive plan to capture as much video as possible for a variety of marketing and internal uses throughout the year. One element was getting high level customers to give testimonials. In this case we recorded interviews with notable industry leaders each of whom was articulate, powerful and effusive in their praise for our client. We were in the enviable position of obtaining close to a dozen wonderful, lengthy statements. Any one of them would make you want to sign with our client instantly. Besides being able to use these testimonials as individual 2 to 5 minute clips, we felt that editing three or more of them into a montage of 1:00+ would be very powerful.

So, if you’re going to use a group of employees as spokespeople, set them up as experts, especially if their job title would not ordinarily reflect that. And make sure they are close to the message they will be delivering.

Next time, I’ll discuss using the Big Boss as the company spokesperson.

--John W. Coleman

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