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READY ON THE SET

ARE YOU MEDIA READY?

In today’s competitive media landscape, television, radio, social media and podcasts have provided brands with several powerful channels to bolster their exposure. Media interviews, in particular, are key for brands to not only create positive business sentiment and get coverage but to position themselves as thought leaders and industry experts.

However, one small mistake during a live interview could open the door to information misinterpretation, and in the process, damage not only spokespeople’s reputations but that of the brands they represent. Protecting brand reputation is crucial, with insights by PR Week suggesting that the world’s top 15 stock market companies consider reputation to account for as much as one-third of their valuation.  

Ready on the set

Are you media ready?

In today’s competitive media landscape,
television, radio, social media and podcasts have provided
brands with several powerful channels to bolster their exposure.
Media interviews, in particular, are key for brands to not only create positive business sentiment and get coverage but to position themselves as thought leaders
and industry experts.


However, one small mistake during a live interview could
open the door to information misinterpretation, and in the process, damage not only spokespeople’s reputations but that of the
brands they represent. Protecting brand reputation is crucial,
with insights by
PR Week suggesting that
the world’s top 15 stock market companies consider
reputation to account for as much
as one-third of their valuation. 

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This is summed up well by American businessman, philanthropist and one of the most successful investors of the 20th century, Warren Buffett, who said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” 

As one of the critical pillars of an effective reputation management strategy, media training must be considered a vital element in a brand’s public relations arsenal, and investing in media training initiatives for C-suite executives and spokespeople should be at the forefront if companies want to ensure their reputation is protected. Here are five tips to ensure your brand does not fall victim:

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GET THE POINT ACROSS

As the use of technology increases, research by Microsoft indicates that the average human attention span has decreased to around 8 seconds – shorter than the attention span of a goldfish, which is 9 seconds. Coupled with the fact that only 17% to 25% of the things we hear are absorbed, according to CreditDonkey, this means it is important that spokespeople communicate their key message as briefly and effectively as possible. 

The key message is an important element in ensuring the audience hears and understands what is intended. It is what the audience connects with, which is why it needs to be stated clearly at the beginning of an interview. 

Often as important as talking, it is imperative that spokespeople listen to the interviewer as this will allow them to fully understand the question posed and formulate the correct answer. 

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FAILING TO PREPARE IS PREPARING TO FAIL

Preparation is everything, and spokespeople need to have a thorough understanding of the different types of journalists they may encounter. Most interviewers will have a different approach and interpretation of a topic and may ask somewhat difficult questions. It is therefore imperative that spokespeople know exactly who they are talking to, what information they are likely to want and prepare themselves to answer tough questions. 

Preparation and practice are imperative to not only build self-esteem and confidence but to know what to do and say when put on the spot. Spokespeople must be equipped with every bit of pertinent information required to answer any question that may arise. A great way to test this is to place them in front of people tasked with asking them random and difficult questions and see how they react and respond. The session can then pause to gather input from the group and embrace suggestions on different approaches the spokesperson could have taken. 

THE SIMPLER THE BETTER

 

Journalists can smell marketing splurb from a mile away, and as such, spokespeople must not view the interview as an opportunity to advertise the business. 

Keep the messaging simple so it can be easily understood, avoid jargon or acronyms, and converse as if you were chatting with a colleague. This will allow the spokesperson to not come across as robotic in their responses or seem like he or she is presenting premeditated talking points in parrot fashion. Failing to do so can run the risk of being misunderstood or misquoted. Instead, they should take their time in formulating an answer and delivering it perfectly.  

The use of quotable language will help emphasise key points, however, spokespeople must strategically avoid the “no comment” zone as this will merely suggest that they are hiding something. This also means that the “off the record” moniker be averted as anything communicated may accidentally be mentioned outside of the conversation. 

 

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KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL

Quite often, the spokesperson may encounter a question that he or she has not prepared for. However, with the right type of media training, they will be able to quickly and politely rephrase any irrelevant question by communicating a better and more favourable response. 

Spokespeople need to remain poised and remember that an interview is more of a transaction than a discussion, and while interviewees may want certain information, it is important to communicate the answers succinctly and clearly and avoid acting defensively to difficult questions. The more well-versed spokespeople are on the subject, combined with the right assertive body language and tone, the easier it will be for them to provide concise answers and display a confident presence that shows viewers that they are owning the discussion. 

TIME FOR REFLECTION

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There’s no such thing as beginner’s luck, and one can always do better with more experience. Once the interview is over, it is time to reflect, review and analyse what could have been done better and what can be changed for the next time.  

If the interview was filmed or recorded, obtain a copy for review and see how the spokesperson presented themselves during the discussion. It is important to be critical as this will only allow the spokesperson to perfect the media interview process and become an interview expert in the future. 

WHAT IT TAKES TO GET IT RIGHT

To ensure media success, it is crucial to partner with a team that has an in-depth understanding of media relations and the interview process. At Eclipse Communications, we are committed to guiding our clients through the media training process and empowering them with the skillsets they need to field complex and critical questions from journalists. The recent employment of our Chief Media Strategy Officer and notable former news anchor, Shahan Ramkissoon, means we can offer our client’s the very best in media training. With his almost two decades worth of experience in challenging people with hard-hitting questions, Ramkissoon is well positioned to help spokespeople navigate difficult conversations and confrontational interviews. 

 

Need help crafting cutting-edge thought leadership to put your brand on the map? Send an email to info@eclipsecomms.com and one of our experts will be in touch. 

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Reputation Management

Crisis avoidance and speed of response form the backbone of our crisis communications offering. Our decisive, experienced senior team ensure that a brand’s reputation is always protected.

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Our digital media team creates out of the box, innovative strategies and plans, delivering on our clients’ objectives through personalised content and messaging, the right channel matrix, SEO and paid media plans that reach new audience and creating engagements that matter.

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With media and influencers at the heart of our agency, we have built solid relationships that ensure our clients receive credible and targeted exposure, across print, online and broadcast media.

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We develop and execute robust omni-channel communications strategies to drive credible conversations that resonate with desired target audiences across Arts & Entertainment, Consumer & Lifestyle and Corporate clients and industries.

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