Having identified our spokesperson, the next step is to align their voice and message to the target media; identified as one of three sets of Priority Consultants “clients” (the others being the companies that engage us and our colleagues). Treating the media as clients means listening, exploring and demonstrating we empathise with their role of giving guidance to their readers and then supporting that with relevant and timely voices. Most importantly, staying sensitive to what their readers or viewers expect.
While we bring years of experience in deep tech, the media is usually less interested in the technology itself – but rather the solutions brought to business problems. Smart editors want to cover the issues keeping corporate executives awake at night and share, through their content, how to solve these challenges. This is where that spokesperson comes into play.
So what are those issues?
Let’s take cybersecurity. There is not an organisation in the world unaware of cyber risks; they’re part of a general background noise that all too often gets ignored. It takes a major incident, like Australia’s Optus breach in September 2022, to spark a sudden spike in awareness, when even governments may respond with new policies on compliance and fresh regulations. Readers look to the media for
guidance, information, reassurance and solutions; an opportunity for that learned voice.
Another example could be supply chains; so when the Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal in 2021, bringing world trade to a near standstill, logistics professionals needed to pull out all the stops – fast – to keep their businesses operating. Again, a chance for our spokespeople to bring the know-how and stories around their smart logistics solutions, at a time the audience needed guidance.
These are all opportunities but against each issue, whose voice should be heard? The days when senior spokespeople from corporate HQ could guarantee a media audience as part of their trip are long over – unless of course they are talking investment, employment opportunities or collaboration. Frequently it is the Country Managers who are best placed to map global issues to local policies and discuss how these align within their country. It is a case of right voice, right time and right media and most critical is a voice with the authority, depth and know-how to resonate confidence against a business backdrop of uncertainty.
Live television is a special case as everyone dreads a boring or irrelevant guest, so in our Asset Discovery process (link back to the first blog post in this series) we are evaluating the potential spokesperson not only on technical competence but also whether they have the charisma and personality to handle TV exposure. Not everything can be planned in advance and rehearsed, so speakers must be compelling with their perspective and comfortable to “go with the flow”.
Then we have the infotainment factor. We know of one hugely commanding spokesperson who brings financial television to life, sharing not only the quarterly results, but usually demonstrating one of his company’s power tools during his interviews. The broadcaster knows this makes great television and a lesson for all company spokespeople!
In our fragmented region, national issues take on particular importance. The media in each market is parochial and will give prominent coverage to those key initiatives identified by their own government. Demonstrating how our clients’ solutions are aligned is critically important. National agendas vary greatly and of course will be influenced by global concerns. Malaysia for example aspires to transform the country into a digitally-driven, high-income nation, while Indonesia’s master plan is to construct a whole new capital city because the current capital, Jakarta, is sinking. In both cases significant opportunities for companies offering supporting solutions and spokespeople who are able to connect their value proposition to the national agenda of the moment goes a long way to securing coverage. In short – there is no one size fits all; or even one voice for every occasion. At Priority Consultants we juggle the needs of our media “clients” to inform and educate their readers / viewers in the context of local market conditions, and we prescribe the best voice to deliver that message.
Stay with us for Part 3 – The Voice in Content