Make sure your spokesperson is likeable!

It’s extremely important to select individuals that will conduct proper interviews on behalf of your company to ensure that your organization’s key messages are delivered.  But it’s also just as important that the spokesperson be likeable and trustworthy.

Please tell me I am not the only one who heard this segment on NPR yesterday!  http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/04/01/april_1st/

People don’t exactly have a warm, fuzzy feeling about the IRS to start with, especially two short weeks before tax day.  In my mind, Beverly Jaworsky’s response to a question about the cost of mailing items to Americans – as part of a controversial initiative to stimulate the economy – was way off base. All she had to do was confirm that it wouldn’t actually cost taxpayers MORE money. 

Instead, she said, “We own the Post Office.  They will do what we say.”

What great way to keep up morale at the post office, and what a great way to instill some goodwill among listeners out there…not.

What do you think about this?  Is this how a spokesperson should respond?

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4 Comments

  1. Wow. I’m with you – I didn’t listen to the audio, but from the transcript that was a very harsh comment. Plus, this spokesperson didn’t really think about the point of view that would appeal to her audience. Instead of emphasizing how these taxpayers will benefit (discounts? items we think they’ll enjoy?) it reads, “you people can’t be trusted – let us figure out what to do with your money.”

  2. Thanks for your comment, Amanda. I also think they missed a HUGE opportunity to communicate this new initiative to the public BEFORE they started shipping off snowblowers to Boston. A good public relations program with key messsages directed to the target audience beforehand would have alleviated some confusion…because it sure sounds like the couple in Arizona was very confused to have received an air conditioner, rather than the expected $1,200 refund! With any communications plan, it’s important to keep people clued in and up-to-date on issues that affect them, because it’s not fun to be surprised.

  3. At first, I must admit I was taken in by the clever production value of Marketplace’s segment. However, you do realize this wasn’t a “real” news story, right? It was NPR having a little fun with April Fools’ Day. Of course, having said that, I do agree with the previous comments regarding public relations and communication campaigns.

  4. Kathy, I can honestly say that I got duped on April Fool’s Day! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. You don’t know how many times I have thought about that segment over the past few days.

    That is hilarious – Kudos to NPR.


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