The Harbinger Group

Maintaining Poise as a Brand Spokesperson

Serving as a spokesperson for a brand can be a great honor but also a huge responsibility. You serve as the go-between for the company and the media. This can lead to long days of interacting with reporters and, sometimes, back-to-back interviews. The Harbinger Group’s team of earned media experts share their top three tips on staying calm, cool, and collected:

1. Preparation is key: Know your brand’s key message like the back of your hand. 

Part of your responsibility as a brand spokesperson is strategically delivering the message and mission of your company. Having hyperfamiliarity with your brand’s core messaging gives you the ability to do this with ease and come across naturally to your audience. In order to have the level of familiarity you need, taking ample time to prepare is essential.

As a brand spokesperson, you should have a thorough understanding of your target audience and goals you hope to achieve through an upcoming interview, press conference or speaking event. Having a clear understanding of the details surrounding the media outlet you’re interviewing with and its audience demographics will help you to tailor your messaging so that it resonates with your target audience. Furthermore, knowing your foundational messaging inside and out allows you to adapt the stories or anecdotes you share to add variation for different media outlets or audiences without straying from your key message points.This is helpful in back-to-back interview situations because it prevents you from giving the same quote over and over. 

Another way doing your homework ahead of time can save you in the heat of the moment is to prepare an exit strategy for any unpleasant or awkward questions that get tossed your way. For example, utilizing the “bridge technique” can help you navigate from an uncomfortable topic back to your core message. Having an action plan will help you maintain a cool demeanor in the moment, which is important when aiming to come across as professional and knowledgeable on behalf of your company’s brand. 

One way to do this is to redirect the conversation by taking a step back and providing additional context that touches on your core messaging.

Example: “Before we delve into specifics, it’s essential to understand the broader context of the situation and how it fits into our long-term strategy.”

Or, point the reporter in the direction of a few recent company achievements. 

Example: “While challenges are inevitable, let’s not overlook the significant milestones we’ve achieved and the positive impact they’ve had.”

 

Finally, there a few simple yet important steps you can take ahead of an interview or press conference to ensure you come across with poise and grace as a brand spokesperson: 

  • Boost your confidence by bringing notes with three to five clear, concise bullet points to help you remember your key messages and avoid that panicked feeling like you’ve forgotten something. 
  • Practice! Don’t underestimate the power of practicing delivering your message in a mirror, so that when you arrive to the real interview or event you are able to efficiently deliver your message with ease.
  • Don’t overthink it. Overthinking how to present your message can increase your stress, and your audience will pick up on your tension and nervousness.
2. Breath and movement are your friends

As a brand spokesperson, it’s part of your job to be the face of a company, so it’s important to always appear personable and in control. One way to do this is to arrive to an interview or press conference early enough to give yourself time to do some breathing exercises to get centered and calm before the spotlight is on you.


Breathing techniques like the 4-7-8 technique (breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds), meditation (a couple of our favorites are the Apple Fitness or Calm app), or having a nutritious snack like an apple or almonds can help you calm your mind and restore your focus before a media engagement.


If you’re running on fumes, feeling frazzled or unfocused, it will come across to your audience as you’re speaking.


“What’s going to make you sound robotic is a drop in energy,” said Rochford. “Combat this by taking a short walk, stretching, or incorporating other small movement breaks.”
Whether it’s before a press conference or in between back-to-back interviews, moving your body will help to keep your mind sharp.

3. Take advantage of help from the people around you

Hopefully as a spokesperson at a company, you’ve been able to surround yourself with a team of people or at least one advisor you can trust. From monitoring incoming comments and questions to providing emotional support, these colleagues can help you organize logistics, stay on message and keep you at your best. They can also be on hand to follow up with reporters before or after an interview to emphasize key points in your message to ensure it is accurately depicted in that media outlet’s coverage.


“At the 2023 Chicago Auto Show a reporter from Energy News Network asked for details about courses at the apprenticeship program,” said John Arango, Earned Media Director at The Harbinger Group. “As that wasn’t a key focus of Powering Chicago’s news, it was much easier for me to follow up afterward with that information.”


Allow yourself even just a few minutes to recharge before an important media engagement so you can put your best foot forward, and maintain a natural and engaging demeanor in every interview you do.
To recap, remember these tips to prevent any frantic feelings surrounding a media interaction as a brand spokesperson:
Prepare and practice as much as possible before a media interview or press conference. Know your key messaging like the back of your hand.


Take a moment to breathe, move and fuel your mind and body in order to put your best foot forward


Rely on your team for support– you’re not alone!