3 Best Ways to Avoid Burning Your Brand During a Media Appearance


To avoid damaging your brand during a media appearance, follow these three strategies: stick to a script, prepare everything in advance, and practice to be free to be spontaneous. By planning talking points and having them vetted by a professional media trainer, you can prevent saying anything controversial. Preparing B-roll and questions makes the producer’s job easy and helps you manage how you are perceived. Ultimately, staying on message and protecting your brand is crucial in high-stakes situations.

How Not to Burn Your Brand During a Media Appearance

I was listening to Katlin Smith who founded Simple Mills on the NPR show “How I Built This.” She was talking about how she had to bake 600 muffins for demos to give out to people to encourage them to buy her mix. Occasionally, she would burn a batch and then she brought it.

One woman was eating one of the burned muffins and she said: “No, I don’t really care for this.” What Katlin realized in that moment is that burned muffin represented her brand. So how do you not have a burned muffin brand?

Keep on Script During a Media Appearance

I’ll give you an example of one of my clients, Chris, who I media trained for a national TV show for a very controversial topic. What we did beforehand is we planned all of his talking points, we vetted them through his attorney because it was a case that where actually someone went to jail. It’s very important to do that in these kind of high stakes cases.

When he was on set after they had “finished taping,” the producer and he were walking down the hallway in sort of a casual conversation. Right? Like we’re just chatting. But the cameras were rolling. The producer asked him literally 30 times to try to get him to say something controversial—that would have aired but he stayed on message and only spoke exactly what we had planned. So he saved his brand.

Prepare Everything in Advance

The other reason why we do that: we prepared the b-roll, (background footage), we prepared the points, we prepared the questions is because it’s easier for the producer just to run with that show because we’ve done all the work for them. This is a way that you can control your brand and yourself in these kind of situations that may be difficult…that may lead you into a situation where you’ve said something that you wish you hadn’t and then it’s a reputation ruiner.

We plan, prepare and practice so we can be free to be spontaneous. Stay exactly to a script to make sure that we protect our brand.

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Trainings, Consults and Courses!

If you’d like to learn more about protecting your brand and speaking about your business in a way that is really in sync with who you are and what you represent in your company I would invite that at prsecrets.com. I’m Susan Harrow, media coach, marketing strategist, and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul®, published by HarperCollins. And I’d love to meet you.

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Hi, I'm Susan

I’m a media coach, martial artist + marketing strategist who helps you communicate your values, mission + message during media interviews to multiply your revenue while building your brand + business. I believe that you don’t need to brag, beg or whore yourself to get the publicity you want. Nor do you need to be an axe murderer, a shamed sports star, or be involved in a sex scandal. There is another way…

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