When the White House hired Anthony Scaramucci as Communications Director, I was surprised. It seemed an interesting choice for communications director, based on his experience. Most communications directors have agency, marketing or public relations experience working either in the private or public sector. Because of that, it was less of a surprise when the President relieved Mr. Scaramucci of his duties. Although Mr. Scaramucci was only in the position for ten days, he made some mistakes that a more seasoned spokesperson probably would not have made. If the White House had reached out to Red Javelin for advice, we could have offered some help for less of a tumultuous tenure. We’d like to offer the next White House Communications Director (and you) some tips for being a successful spokesperson.
- Don’t be the Story: As a communications professional, it is your job to sell your client or company’s story. You don’t want your agency, or your communications director, to get more press coverage than you.
- Nothing is off the Record: When we media train clients, we always remind them that unless they have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), nothing is off the record. A reporter can print anything you say to them. In the world of social media and smart phones, anyone can record you and post it for the world to see instantly, so be cautious of what you say all the time.
- Message: Think of bullet points before speaking to the press so you’re not tempted to go off point. Keep your talking points clear and concise and make sure that your entire executive team shares the same message. Stick to your message and help to ensure that the headline they post is one that you want them to post.
- Apologize: Own your mistakes. Most customers can forgive a mistake especially if a company comes out and says that they are wrong quickly, and offers some sort of incentive or gift to customers affected by the issue. Red Javelin offers crisis communication services and we can help companies recover from a crisis.
- Know your Audience: This might be the most important piece of communications advice that we can give. Know your audience (or your buyer.) Make sure your tone and language is appropriate for the audience. (Keep in mind rule number 2, that your message may be spread to a wider audience.) Red Javelin will work with you to identify each person that has influence in the buy cycle as well as external audiences such as analysts, investors, the community and media.
While these five tips may seem simple, someone who isn’t an experienced communication professional may need a reminder. Do you have a green CEO who needs some communication advice? Reach out to Red Javelin today and we’ll be happy to help create a communications program that will help grow your company and keep your communications director out of hot water!