You see them on TV all the time – “I’m so and so and I’d like to talk to you about Super Food Incorporated” or someone pretending to be a lawyer or nutritionist or something. You know they’re not real and it clearly says “paid spokesperson” on the bottom of the screen, but still they pop up all the time. Does it really work? Do companies really need to use them?
Also, while it may be great for television, the Internet is a different animal altogether. Is a spokesperson or corporate identity really necessary anymore, or can you get away with ignoring it? Honestly, it all depends on the nature of your company.
At its core, hiring a paid spokesperson to represent your company is simply a matter of branding. Every business wants to put their best foot (or face) forward and spokespeople are one way of doing this. It’s not a matter of deceiving anyone; just that the company feels the spokesperson does the best job representing what the company stands for. Think about it. Say you want your company perceived as young, sexy and fast. You might hire a spokesperson like Danica Patrick. Her reputation adds cache to your company simply because she represents you.
You probably see it around more than you realize. In fact, I would venture that it’s more prevalent on the Internet than it is on TV. While it may be more “in your face” on TV, you see examples of it everywhere online.
For example, have you ever seen a website with a smiling young person on the front page? You don’t think that person actually works there, do you? If so, I hate to break it to you, but the Internet lies. All the time. And this is one example!
Putting up a picture like that is all about branding – visitors instantly feel like the company is fresh, innovative, and energetic about what they do. The CEO and everyone else in it could be octogenarians but as long as the customer sees that smiling face online all is well. Is it kind of fibbing? If you want to think that, sure, but customers may turn away if they see a room full of 80 year olds selling the hottest new social startup.
Why It Still Works
Most people out there know that spokespeople are there simply to sell you a product. While Jamie Lee Curtis may love eating Activia for real, she’s mainly there to do a job. Activia hired her to be their spokesperson and give legitimacy to their brand – older people who care about their health.
And that’s what spokespeople do, even celebrity spokespeople. They are mainly there to be a face or voice you can trust…even though they’re getting paid to do it. It’s all about branding and maintaining a consistent voice.
Part of this has to do with “analysis paralysis,” or not being able to make a clear choice with so many options. If you’re at the store and there are four thousand varieties of yogurt, would you ever choose Activia? After a while you would probably just give up and walk away and get something less healthy.
Jamie Lee Curtis helps you overcome your paralysis by letting you know it’s ok to buy Activia for these certain reasons. She’s helping Activia’s customers solve a problem as well as market the product – and that’s all you can really ask for, even of a nameless smiling young person on a website.
Does your company have a spokesperson?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html