How media training can bring a business sweet success
Ten days ago we tweeted about the excellent performance of Gerald Mason from Tate & Lyle Sugars on Radio 4. He discussed the implications for his company if “Brexit” should be the result of the EU referendum in June.
It’s not the sexiest of subjects, but he put his business’s view clearly and simply, thanks in part to good use of examples.
So it will come as no surprise to journalists that there was Mr Mason again this morning on Radio 4’s flagship news programme, Today, once more making the case in a coherent, succinct fashion. He came across as credible and open, even as he handled tricky questions.
We would say he’s achieved that most valuable of media accolades: he’s become one of the “go to” business people for comment on the referendum.
(It’s worth noting here that the former Governor of the Bank of England, Lord King, was on Radio 4 yesterday saying, “Give me a two-hour programme, which is what you will need to set out all the arguments.” But Mason showed you can lay out a good case, yes, even in a soundbite.)
What this shows, which should give heart to any press officer or public relations executive, is if you have a spokesperson, who has mastered the art of the media interview, their skill will be noted by the journalists, so that the next time a news editor calls out to a researcher or reporter, as a deadline approaches:
“Quick, get me some company exec, who can comment on what this latest referendum campaign group is saying,” it’s that person who is the interviewee of choice.
This explains why you very often see the same “experts” giving a view on breaking stories - they may not even be the most knowledgeable, but they are eloquent, available at short notice and they deliver what the media believe their audiences want.
Are they just lucky? They might be, but we’d say they’ve probably had the good sense to realise their skills as a successful business person don’t necessarily equip them to step into the journalist's comfort zone without appropriate training.
Those that have that insight - and have had the training - can reap the potential rewards of boosting the company profile, raising awareness of the brand and of course, enhancing their personal kudos.
For the man from Tate & Lyle Sugars and those like him, it can be summed up in one word: