It’s all around us. Stars, personalities and with the Olympics around the corner, athletes, persuading us to buy into a brand. This isn’t anything new. In the world of social media and twitter, celebrity influence is becoming stronger,marketers are able to quantify their following and influence. The fact that many brands get celebrities to act as their brand spokesperson, appearing in commercials, using their products in music videos, etc… has always been a true and tried marketing strategy. It’s an easy leap from personality to brand… someone who represents and speaks on behalf of the brand to the public and literally becomes the brand personified.
A celebrity brand spokeperson/ambassador can help a brand relate to their target audience as it’s easier to connect with another human being than an abstract notion of what a brand is. The spokesperson brand strategy really became prevalent and mainstream when Nike used Michael Jordan in 1984. Today you see Jennifer Hudson in ads for Weightwatchers, Jennifer Aniston promoting Smart Water and various music artists signing along to Pepsi.
However, a spokesperson can also be someone from within the brand itself. Many brands chose the founders to act as spokespersons. Presidents’ Choice does it with Galen Weston. Franchise operation Liquid Nutrition combines the two. Liquid Nutrition is backed and enable by owners/spokespersons such as Steve Nash, Suzann Pettersen, Russell Martin, Torah Bright, Matt Ryan, Vincent Lecavalier and Elaine Hastings.
When choosing a spokesperson, it’s important to keep these steps in mind:
- Identify the key values of the brand. What is your brands positioning statement? How do you want the public to perceive your brand? How does your brand identify itself in the marketplace?
- Research possible candidates who might embody those values. A spokesperson can’t be just anybody. They have to fit in with the brand. Any associations with scandal-ridden individuals can have negative results for a brand. Remember what happened with Kate Moss and Tiger Woods?
- Develop key messages. What specifically do you want the public to know about your brand? It will be the job of the spokesperson to deliver those messages.
- Don’t make the spokesperson the brand. The spokesperson must embody the brand, represent the brand and build brand momentum. But the brand must be able to stand, grow and develop a persona on its own. The spokesperson is just another channel through which the brand spreads its message. Nike did this well…
- Make sure the spokesperson is media trained. It is essential that the spokesperson knows the key messages and is comfortable engaging with the various channels through which consumers get their information, whether it be print, television, social media or radio. A spokesperson has to be able to speak and correctly deliver the message based on the medium. If not, the message gets lost.
What has your experience working with a brand spokesperson been like? What steps did you take to find an appropriate spokesperson?