Help, My CEO Doesn’t Look Good on Camera!
In a perfect world, your CEO and C-suite executives would wholeheartedly trust the expertise and advice of their Corporate Communications teams. But we all know how this story ends. For some of you, your CEOs and on camera corporate representatives don’t look good and, worse, they aren’t listening to your tips and suggestions.
Whoever you have to put before the media and the less-than-forgiving cameras is a complete representation of your Corporate brand, message, culture, and current temperature. Those three to five minute news segments are vital for transmitting verbal messages but also visual information is being consumed and nothing can be overlooked. You probably know the value of media training for your CEO and executive teams so let’s focus on the physical appearance of your talent and how you can counter their objections.
Many corporate communication staffers have asked Sunshine Media Network’s team to help them with delicate but important constructive criticism. I mean, you could tell your CEO their upper lip sweat needs to be addressed because they look like they’re under police interrogation but wouldn’t you rather have someone else do it for you? Yes, that’s a real scenario.
Let’s start by understanding why they may be pushing back on your suggestions. There are many reasons why an executive would refuse your feedback and the beneficial advice you’re offering them. In some cases, they’re fearful of changing their appearance and being mocked for being vain. On the flip side, it’s common to run into a stubborn executive who is so vain they think their appearance cannot be improved and they know best. We’ve heard stories of executives believing a makeup artist would transform their face into someone they’re not, again resulting in being mocked. And it’s true all makeup artists are not the same. So this is where a test run with a makeup artist can buy you a lot of credibility before the news interview request. In some situations, the executive doesn’t believe you know best in the category of their appearance. Perhaps you’re the first person brave enough to bring a change up to them so they’re receiving it as your opinion being that-just yours. We can work as your allies and reinforce the message you want to deliver.
From time to time Corporate Communication teams will reach out to us for corporate consultation services so their executives can do a formal screen test in a production studio. By leaning on a television expert, the corporate communications staff relinquishes the burden of providing feedback and our teams step in to deliver constructive feedback. Sometimes executives benefit from seeing themselves played back on video in a safe space to talk it out and communicate concerns they may have. With overwhelming good success, Sunshine Media Network teams are able to bring executives on the side of good visuals for television and negotiate the corporate communication team requests.
Makeup & Grooming Needs
How do you tell your company’s Senior Vice President they have severe sun exposure and raccoon eyes that won’t look so great on CNN? Imagine delivering the awkward conversation that your CFO’s “cocktail flush” (as Professional Makeup Artists call it) reveals a few too many bourbons after hours before their live shot with CNBC. Investors, pundits, the media, the public are reading the visual cues of your CEO and on-camera spokespeople, so make sure you have control over the visual messages as you do the actual words being said.
If your executive pushes back, remind them a Professional Makeup Artist or a Groomer is there to reduce common experiences that raise attention, such as razor burn, reddish nose also called Cocktail Flush, uneven sun exposure, under eye circles, red eyes, or even excessive sweat. Elizabeth Tolley, Makeup Artist and Groomer, has experience that runs the gamut of talent from rockstars (Lenny Kravitz) and models who push the edges of creative beauty concepts to Fortune 500 CEOs looking for the natural, but polished look.
Elizabeth has seen time and time again small innocuous things be exacerbated once it’s on national network news and the executive is speaking on Senate hearings or shareholder results. It’s common for some people to have red splotches on their neck as they do live news interviews and a makeup artist can help conceal those normal-but easy to misread- reddening areas. While anxiety triggers the increase in body temperature and the redding neck, that doesn’t mean it’s in your favor for the viewing public to misinterpret *why* your executive is experiencing some anxiety.
Less severe things such as stray hairs, lint on the jacket, or disheveled collars all fall under the watchful eye of a professional makeup artist. Many networks are cutting budgets and refusing to book professional makeup for their guests, so it’s critical that your corporate communications team has a few trusted resources to do the job. Don’t rely on your team or the camera operator to catch the nuances of personal grooming of the talent.
A Real Life Scenario
Ben Carson was running for President in 2016. He was finally invited to appear on Fox News and was booked to do a live shot from a South Carolina hotel. My team arrived to do the video transmission part but Fox News hadn’t booked a professional makeup artist and we weren’t asked to book one either. Someone from Carson’s staff ran through the hotel seeking some sort of solution. As a woman, I asked myself, “what could they possibly find?” It seems the hotel bartender offered her makeup bag, a white woman, to the Black Presidential candidate. Luckily, someone much smarter on Carson’s team refused to let the products be considered. While Carson looked decent for his major appearance, he could have looked better. He’d been on the road for some time and studio lights always wash people out. An easy 20 minutes and a few hundred dollars could have given Carson a glow that helped viewers focus on his message, and perhaps, not on his fatigue from being on the road campaigning for the top job in the country.
We Can Help
Need some help getting your CEO or executives camera-ready? Let our team help you make the most of your camera time.
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