Want to Know Secrets of Success from Award-Winning Spokespeople? Meet Susann Miller from the Better Business Bureau

Susann Miller, Director of Communications and Consumer Affairs of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona, shares with us how they raised awareness of online scams within their target audience. Susann explains how she got media attention for her campaign, and how to work with journalists to gain more exposure.

As we get ready for Spokesperson Secrets to Build Your Brand, we are releasing exclusive footage from SPOKEies® University. You’ll see our SPOKEies® honorees sharing their tips and best advice to create authenticity as a spokesperson and generate trust among their key audiences. Register to watch all the SPOKEies® honorees via live stream on May 3rd for FREE here. 

Narrator: It’s SPOKEies® University from DS Simon Media, featuring Susann Miller of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona.

DOUG SIMON: Hi, I’m Doug Simon of D S Simon Media and the Founder of the SPOKEies® award, and we’re honored to have with us one of our Honorable Mention winners in a really competitive category, nonprofit education. It’s Susann Miller, and she’s with the Southern Arizona Better Business Bureau. Thanks so much for being with us.

SUSANN MILLER: Thank you. It’s an excitement, and I love being part of this inaugural SPOKEies® award. You guys have done a great job, and it’s just an honor to be a part of it.

DOUG SIMON: Thanks so much. Well, your campaign was really tremendous– 52 television appearances within an area. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the campaign itself?

SUSANN MILLER: We have a lot of scam education that we’re trying to do here in Southern Arizona, and part of it is also for our military, because we have two bases here in Southern Arizona– Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Fort Huachuca, which is army, and they’re a number one target for scams. And we also have millennials, who are also top of the chart, which you are, I’m sure, surprised by. But we actually have the elderly– we have a big retirement community here, and so we’re really trying to do a lot of scam education. And we’re honored that our media are so supportive in trying to help us get out the word and get out some tips that can help them from becoming a victim.

DOUG SIMON: Great. And you’ve obviously made some amazing progress with this. Now, many other organizations are trying to get their story on the media and build up their own spokespeople as influencers, if you can maybe break down your approach to it. Obviously, the story you had is very strong. But how did you, as a team, approach it, to trying to get media attention and even craft that story to make it as compelling as possible?

SUSANN MILLER: The real major pieces of this is really to become relatable, be approachable, and really just be available to the media. They are always on a tight time frame, and they want sources that are trustworthy and have done their research and can fit into their schedule, because it changes moment to moment for them. And so we have to be flexible with being available, and that is really the key.

DOUG SIMON: How do you determine within your organization who ends up being the spokesperson on a specific topic? I know you have that major role.

SUSANN MILLER: Well, we have a pretty small team with 15 people here at BBB, so I’m it. I’m the spokesperson for whatever topic comes up. And it’s really important that I do my research. Sometimes we only have 15 minutes before the media comes in our front doors or we go to their station, so no matter how much time I have, I have to be really on top of the ball, as far as, what are the facts? What’s really going on? And really stay on topic when they do an interview.

DOUG SIMON: Yeah, that’s a real important point about what the SPOKEies® are about, and the idea of honoring the in-house spokespeople. Because if you’re working with a third-party expert, it’s much tougher for them to be fully up to speed on an interview that’s suddenly taking place in 15 or 20 minutes. And we’ve heard that from in-house communications leaders, that that’s one of their major concerns, of actually, are they going to convey accurate information compared to the people who actually know it, live it, work it, every day? How important is it to really leverage your internal resources as part of your communications campaign?

SUSANN MILLER: I think that if the newscasters and reporters cannot trust us and get any kind of negativity from a segment that we do, we just lost them as a partner. And fortunately, I love that they’re constantly calling us and getting information. We had 64 interviews on media, plus we’ve done radio and we’re doing editorial, and that’s all in my wheelhouse, to make sure that we get out accurately in addition to our branding. So, we really try to make sure that it’s all cohesive. And if we lose a part of that with one of our reporters, that weakens our brand. So, it’s really important that we are very cohesive in all of our messaging, as far as a BBB in general, but also that we’re sticking to the facts when we speak on camera.

DOUG SIMON: Great. Well, Susann Miller, congratulations to you for Honorable Mention as part of the SPOKEies® award. Great information, and also the great service you’re doing, helping to safeguard the elderly, the military, and even those pesky millennials that we love so much, to make sure that they’re not caught up in the scams. So, thanks so much for being with us.