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Of course, companies big and small have any number of choices when it comes to how to deliver their company or brand's message in a public relations sense, and the best decisions for this is dependent upon many different factors. As mentioned above, the public face of many organisations are their original founders, directors or CEOs. But it may well be better for some companies to use internal marketing / PR employees, external public relations agencies, or for spokespeople to remain anonymous. Maybe each and every company employee is a spokesperson? It is absolutely the case that personalities and egos come strongly into play when companies are deciding upon their spokespeople - those with bigger personalities are those who are more likely to want to be a spokesperson. So what does it mean to be the spokesperson for a company or brand?
Well, first off, it's an extremely important role in any business. If a brand has one or two key spokespeople, it's often the opinion of the public that these people are an extension of the actual brand itself. Therefore, these people must be able to represent what the brand is, what its objectives are and what it stands for as a whole. This means that, if necessary, these people must be able to communicate to the wider public in a way which is consistent with the brand's image and value - whether this is with internal stakeholders, such as company shareholders or employees, or external stakeholders, such as customers, potential customers, the media, the government and any other public body. As stated above, everyone involved with a brand or company can potentially be spokespeople, which is made even easier these days through social media, therefore many people can be representing a brand all at the same time, making it even more important for the right public messages to be delivered.
Clearly, employees working for customer facing organisations are further subjected to this idea of being the 'face' of the business, which essentially makes them spokespeople in their own, albeit smaller right. Having spent a number of years working in customer facing retail positions, I know first hand just how much members of management try to ingrain a sense of 'the brand', as it were, into each of their employees, in order to provide the company with a good public reputation. So, although we may think of Richard Branson being the main spokesperson for the Virgin Group, we should not forget that Virgin employees working in retail or in customer service roles are also representatives of the brand. It is therefore extremely important for organisations to be able to manage how they are perceived by the public from the very top, CEO level, right to the company's ground level, as in reality, we are all advocates and representatives of the companies we work for.
How important do you think it is for everyone to be spokespeople for our places of employment? What do you think makes a good spokesperson for a brand / company? Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts on this!
Craig The Marketing Student