Doug Simon, Founder of The SPOKEies™ and influencer marketing firm D S Simon Media, had the chance to speak with Tiffany Guarnaccia, Founder of Communications Week and CEO of Kite Hill PR. Tiffany offered some of her best tips for spokespeople and highlighted the importance of authenticity and trust in communications.
“Whether it’s a positive message, an exciting time for the company– like a product launch or a new division that’s merging into the company– or if it’s something that’s a crisis communications time for the company, you really want to have that consistency of message overall.”
“Communications Week is something that really celebrates everything that’s happening in the world of public relations, media, and marketing. It was created for those not only in the PR industry but folks who are interested in PR. People who might be investing in public relations firms, a startup founder who needs to understand a bit more about DIY PR.”
DOUG: From your perspective, what do you see as some of the most important tips and best practices for spokespeople that you advise?
TIFFANY GUARNACCIA: Well, that’s a great question, because when you think about a spokesperson, that’s really the hub of any great communications campaign. So I’m particularly excited that D S Simon is really going to be the one to recognize some of the best spokespeople in the industry.
When it comes to tips for best spokespeople, I actually think some of the great things that the SPOKEies™ are recognizing, like authenticity and trust, are really key for spokespeople overall. When I’m training clients or when any of our staff here at Kite Hill PR are giving advice to some clients overall, we like to embark on the hat model, if you will. Putting your spokesperson hat on means having honesty, authenticity, and trust in all of your communications.
And those three things are really crucial when you’re thinking about how you’re relating to an audience and the messages that you’re going to be giving out to the public, both internally and externally.
DOUG SIMON: And that’s an important point, because it used to be you could give a very different message to your internal audience than you could to your external audience. Now that becomes a big trap, because the two have meshed so much, with employees communicating about the organization, whether satisfied or dissatisfied, and outsiders having that inside perspective as well. How do you manage that to keep your message consistent?
TIFFANY GUARNACCIA: You are completely right on that point, but no surprise there, given your expertise. I think the key thing and what you mentioned is consistency. So whether it’s a positive message, an exciting time for the company– like a product launch or a new division that’s merging into the company– or if it’s something that’s a crisis communications time for the company, you really want to have that consistency of message overall. So think about the key message that you are distributing and what you need to tell your audience, and think about how that’s distributed across all different channels.
So how are you communicating that to your employees internally? How are you thinking about how that message translates onto social channels? How does it look for some of your direct consumer communications? All of them can be adjusted for each channel, but there needs to be that top-level message that is coming down from that spokesperson that is consistent overall.
DOUG: Definitely makes sense. One of the parts of the SPOKEies™ that I’m most excited about is the idea of SPOKEies™ University, that we’re going to be sharing these tips and best practices from folks like yourself. And also that that’s going to be integrated into Communications Week. Can you tell us a little bit about Communications Week and how you’re working to help educate the communications community as well?
TIFFANY GUARNACCIA: Well, Doug, thank you so much for bringing that up. I think that’s particularly important when you think about the tips that you’re sharing at SPOKEies™ University and how that relates back to the premise of Communications Week overall. Communications Week is something that really celebrates everything that’s happening in the world of public relations, media, and marketing. It was created for those not only in the PR industry but folks who are interested in PR. People who might be investing in public relations firms, a startup founder who needs to understand a bit more about DIY PR.
So this content is relevant both to someone who’s an up and comer in the industry or someone who’s learning about PR from the outside looking in. And that really is what Communications Week is all about. It’s about celebrating the best in the industry– how are we solving problems, how are we looking toward innovation in communications, and how are we creating a much broader discussion that we haven’t had in the past?
DOUG: Great. And there will be a great celebration of the winners, with them sharing this content during Communications Week. And speaking of celebrations, it looks like you’re going to be having something to celebrate quite soon. All the best with that.
TIFFANY GUARNACCIA: There’s no hiding that. Yes, thank you so much. Much appreciated.