Having the right spokesperson can really make or break your story, your cause, and in some cases, your company. It’s crucial to think about who is representing your brand to make sure the messaging is clear, concise and powerful.
Last week, I was reminded of just how important the right spokesperson can be. I was working with the Alzheimer’s Society of British Columbia (ASBC) on media relations surrounding the city of New Westminster becoming the first in B.C. to train its councilors to be ‘Dementia-Friends’. This training session is part of a larger initiative aimed at helping communities develop the skills necessary to properly support those living with dementia. To start the training session, Maria Howard, CEO of ASBC introduced the society and its role in creating dementia-friendly communities. She then turned the floor over to Jim Mann – a past member of the ASBC Board of Directors. Jim was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 at the age of 58, and has since grown to become a tireless advocate for dementia through awareness, education, and stigma reduction. Jim shared some of his experiences with dementia to an extremely engaged, emotional audience:
“Now, eight years after living with Alzheimer’s I have come to realize I have good days and I have bad days. I suppose the same can be said for all of us, except when I have a good day it means I get to exercise my independence, and when I have a bad day, when my mind is too muddled to do much on my own, it means I need support,” he said. “For those around us, this is an ever changing landscape of eggshells.”
The Mayor, along with every city councilor, spoke to the impact of Jim speaking after the training session was complete. Jim was able to connect with the audience because it was authentic – he was sharing his personal experience, and it was easy for everyone to relate to.
The messaging for the Alzheimer’s Society was clear: dementia is something that affects us all, and it’s also something that communities can support to lessen the challenges surrounding this disease. With personal stories about his own struggles with dementia, Jim Mann had a profound impact on the audience – I can guarantee everyone left feeling inspired to pass on the messages of the Alzheimer’s Society to their own networks, which is exactly what you want a spokesperson to do.