By Alan Upchurch, Marx Layne Senior Vice President

Today everyone is carrying a smartphone with a sophisticated camera.  Each one of us is a potential “citizen” journalist.  We are connected 24/7 and that means a reporter’s next great news tip could come from his neighbor’s teenage daughter rather than his best news source.

The question is should the media knock unannounced at your company’s door, have you identified spokespersons who are comfortable speaking before a camera?  It’s a real skill, knowing how to talk with a blinding light in your eyes and a camera in your face.  If your company has a spokesperson, have they been drilled on delivering the firm’s key messages? Has the spokesperson learned how to bridge from uncomfortable questioning that could damage your brand, back to those critical key messages? Doing an interview whether it’s before a TV camera, over the phone with a radio host, or with a print journalist is a lot like dancing. One person usually leads and the other follows, but sometimes the follower can take the lead. Your spokesperson needs to know when that is appropriate during an interview.

One damaging news story can destroy a lot of good will and positive brand equity that your organization has worked so hard to build. It’s in your best interest to identify one or two spokespersons, and make sure they are well trained in message development and delivery well in advance of the media knocking at your door.