Every PR pro understands the importance of good branding and clear, visionary key messaging. These represent the core foundations of both a successful communications campaign, and the enhanced credibility of your organisation. So, when the opportunity arises for you to present these messages to the media, it is extremely important that they are correctly executed.
For this to be achieved, media training is essential! As for who should be trained, your ambassadors can be anyone from existing employees to celebrity representatives or public representatives who have ties with your organisation. It is with these spokespeople that good media training comes into play, as without it, you could risk miscommunicating your key messages or harming the reputation of your brand entirely.
Read on to learn how to learn best practices for media training with your brand ambassadors.
Having a meltdown on camera is never a good look. It might make for great television for viewers, but ultimately it destroys your message completely. A recent example of this is when the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, Jonny Rotten, went on an aired rampage on Australian news program – The Project. While this may suit the image of a rocker, it rarely works well in a corporate setting. So, while Jonny chose to throw his script and continue on a wave of sexism and misogyny, the band’s label, Virgin Records, wouldn’t have been too happy about it, nor would they have ever wanted him to behave in this way on air.
By understanding the detrimental impacts something like the aforementioned interview ‘meltdown’ can have on the corporate entities behind it, we can quickly realise the importance of have a good media training strategy in place. When this process is done right, key spokespeople should appear calm, on track and aligned with a predetermined set of messages that they wish to present during the interview.
If you have concerns that one or several brand ambassadors will have difficulty keeping their emotions in check during an interview, it may be better to assign other spokespeople to represent your company. Of course, the alternative is to invest more time and effort into media training for these particular people so that they understand the do’s and don’ts of interviewing and how their actions can impact the brand as a whole.
Media appearances are very valuable for brands. If you have secured an important television, radio or podcast interview, you don’t want to waste the opportunity. Likewise, even with more general interviews with journalists for print or online publications, it is crucial that your story is told clearly and in the best possible way to achieve the public impact that you desire.
This process relates to the narrative, or story, behind your brand or organisation. When training your ambassadors to deliver a media interview, they must first understand your brand’s narrative, vision and core foundations. Without this, your spokesperson may not be the best representative of the company. In fact, without a confident delivery of what the organisation is or what it stands for, the interview itself will end up doing a lot more harm than good.
So, teaching your ambassadors about the key elements of what your brand represents is paramount. For example, when starting your initial media training session, sit down with your ambassadors and try to gain a relation to how they fit into your organisation. Why are they your ambassadors, what do they represent and how do they boost awareness and credibility? This is the time to press pause if you have doubts about an ambassador’s values and how they align with your brand. You do not want your audience to be confused or upset with your brand’s affiliation with a particular ambassador. A disconnect between an organisation and an ambassador can be further amplified during a media interview.
Once your ambassadors are confident about how they fit into your organisation, make sure that they say know how to appropriately talk about the brand. This way, if they stumble, they have at least two legs to stand on – one being their own understanding of their role within the organisation, and the other being the talking points that you have told them to refer to when asked about the organisation and its values.
Beyond your brand narrative, the next step is to have a clear understanding of the specific campaign being promoted. Chances are, you wouldn’t have secured a media interview without pitching the new or innovative initiative, product or event that your organisation is launching. So, with this in mind, it’s important to ensure that the key messages of your campaign are at the center of the interview and that you don’t stray away into irrelevant territory.
This means training your ambassadors thoroughly and burrowing the campaign’s key messages into their memory. Whether it be the objective your campaign is trying to achieve, or the changes to public perception you are trying to drive – these core messages need to be picture-perfect. Conduct practice sessions with questions that your ambassadors are likely to be asked during an interview. This will give them an opportunity to work the key messaging into their answers and work out any issues, like awkward phrasing, incorrect pronunciations, nervous tics, unappealing facial expressions and more.
Without a clear delivery of a campaign’s key messages, viewers or readers are left confused about what it is they are watching or reading. Bear in mind, these messages also need to be relatable to the demographics that they are being presented to. Think about the best, most interesting aspects of your campaign, and then use this to tell a story about what it is is you are trying to achieve through this campaign, and who you are trying to gauge the interest of. For example, if you are a medical research company running a campaign to fund new research, it is important to lay out a clear structure of who the company is, what your campaign is hoping to achieve, how it will help the wider public and who you need to engage to support the cause. These are all crucial messages that your ambassadors must know before participating in an interview.
All in all, media interviews can be a very daunting situation, however, with the right knowledge of what you are going to talk about, and a clear understanding of the core vision behind it, it can be a greatly rewarding and beneficial experience for your organisation and its campaign. With the right training, your ambassadors can soon become experts on the topic of discussion, and if this is portrayed in an interview, your campaign’s key messages are sure to hit the hearts of your target audience.
Do you want to train your brand ambassadors so they can be successful during media interviews? Contact Mulberry today to learn more.
Kane Lewis is Public Relations Specialist at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. He has an eye for a compelling story and years of experience running successful PR campaigns to engage, influence, and impact key audiences.