PR Takeaways | Tim Gunn: Ultimate Corporate Spokesperson


PR Takeaways is an occasional series that usually, but not always, relates to an event or personal experience. The standard format wraps up public relations tips for entrepreneurs, organizations and small businesses. Images: Tim Gunn presenting and with one of his fanatical fans.


“You haven’t written that post yet? You are sooooooooo lame!” comment from my 13 year old marketing advisor, two hours after meeting Tim Gunn in Lombard, Illinois 

Well, here it is three days later and yes, I’m finally getting around to writing about meeting Tim Gunn. For those of you who, like my dear husband, have absolutely no idea who Tim Gunn is or why anyone would spend three hours on a gorgeous fall afternoon sitting in a tent staked to asphalt in a shopping mall parking lot, you must not know about Project Runway 

Last fall, I wrote a few posts about the show. After a few of the PTA moms admitted to stalking my blog, not for marketing and PR ideas, but to find out what I really think about the characters, I decided to back off. And, I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to write about this experience either.

But, after telling everyone I know I met Tim Gunn [Yes, the same thing happened after I met Chloe Dao, winner of Project Runway Season Two at BlogHer], I decided to analyze the relevance to you as a PR Takeaway. By the way, Tim Gunn is now Liz Claiborne’s Chief Creative Officer and is on tour with a denim event. [Scoop: He says we’ll L-O-V-E Project Runway Season Four!] 

How to Choose and Use a Corporate Spokesperson

Who Should Be Your Corporate Spokesperson

The business owner may or may not be the best public face of the business. Associating with an expert like Tim Gunn brought Liz Claiborne out of the department stores and into the Project Runway fan club with loyal fans like the woman who brought a Tim Gunn bobble-head doll that makes daily email image appearances on behalf of a hospital’s physical therapy department. You don’t have to hire a TV show host as your spokesperson to gain credibility. A testimonial from a customer with name-brand recognition will do.

What to Look For in a Corporate Spokesperson

Ideally, this should be someone who shares your passion. Your spokesperson could be your best customer, an industry executive, a company officer or a government official. Tim Gunn is elegant, classy, humorous, witty, creative, media-savvy – and of course, fashionable.

When to Use a Corporate Spokesperson

Any time the press will be there, you’ll need someone to talk about your company. For larger events, you’ll want to line up three or four backups with different angles and opinions to give the press a selection and to show that you have more than one facet.

Why You Need a Corporate Spokesperson

Even the smallest business needs a spokesperson and a group of ambassadors who can represent your company to the public. One business owner I know likes to attend “Steak Fry” events, usually an outdoor barbeque on an asphalt parking lot in the summer. That’s okay, but what about the more formal events that put the company in front of decision-makers? Where is he? Not there. So, I suggested training several company “ambassadors” to represent the company and then sending them out so he can go to the Steak Fry and they can go to everything else.  

For the Project Runway fans who want to know what Tim Gunn is really like . . . He is honest, gracious and sincere about wanting women to own their style and their shape at the moment. In our very brief exchange, he took the time to make sure he answered our questions and that our pictures turned out okay. All that makes Tim Gunn the ultimate corporate spokesperson.  

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