Flo. Billy Mays. The MicroMachines Man. A gecko. Four very different, uh, people; four very different products. These spokespeople have become icons, just as famous as the products they represent.

A spokesperson is a brand ambassador, an extension of your business. That’s why choosing the right person (or animal) can seem like a daunting task. Here are the top twelve characteristics the most effective spokesperson should possess.

1. Their Delivery Is Impeccable

Let’s face it. Public Speaking 101 was a lot harder than we all thought it would be. Great spokespeople are the students who somehow delivered. They mastered all of their speech assignments without breaking a sweat. They understand timing, inflection, and the power of a well-timed pause. Master orators, effective spokespeople are effortlessly articulate.

2. They’re Relatable

Some of the best spokespeople are those that remind us of ourselves. Their successes with a product could easily be our own.

If your spokesperson is an animal or other non-human character, you can add in relatability in other ways. Pick a voiceover artist with a recognizable accent, like Geico’s gecko. Or, have them interact with everyday people.

3. They Ooze Charisma

An effective spokesperson doesn’t have to be The Most Interesting Man in the World, but some of the best spokespeople in advertising have that special intangible quality that makes them hard to resist. Part of their charisma is understanding how to express themselves in a compelling way or when to lay on the charm

4. They’re Authentically Authentic…

Great spokespeople truly believe in their message, which shines through in video. Billy Mays did seem to think that Orange Glow was the best product out there. Look for a happy person who truly believes in your product.

5. And Genuinely Genuine

Audiences gravitate towards spokespeople who are genuine. We like Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice Man, because he seems like he’s most likely the same spicy guy when the cameras are off. Effective spokespeople don’t feel like they’re playing a part.

6. They Have High Credibility

A good spokesperson will gain the trust of the public, making them a credible source. Whether they’re a scholar, an elected official, a professional, or a walking testament to the benefits of a particular product, people respond to figures who are an authority. Authority and credibility are reasons why celebrities make such effective spokespeople. As established credible sources, we trust their opinion and insight.

7. You Can’t Forget Them

Back to the Dos Equis guy a.k.a. The Most Interesting Man in the world. He’s a fictitious character, the product of whimsical advertising execs. However, his concept is completely memorable. Spokespeople need to make an impression. They should be memorable. The MicroMachines Man looked like any other guy in the 80’s, but his fast-talking made him a legend, at least to car-loving children of the 80’s.

8. They Are Characteristic of the Product

Michael Jordan sold a lot of shoes and Gatorade because the association makes perfect sense. He jumped higher than anyone else in the game. He played two sports — that requires a lot of hydration. His professional accomplishments amplified these products. If you’re opting to use a spokesperson, they should make sense for your brand.

9. They Possess a Willingness to Take Direction

At the end of the day, a spokesperson is representing YOUR brand or business. While they might be the public face of your product, they should be flexible and able to communicate your vision. They should be receptive to constructive criticism from video directors and responsive to suggestions.

10. They’re Quick on Their Feet

Simple: think fast, respond faster. The face of your brand should be able to think on their toes, even when the camera stops rolling. You never know who has seen your online videos so they should be able to gracefully handle unscripted life moments, and be able to tactfully handle those that don’t go according to plan. They should be able to manage questions in the aisles of Target and firmly understand that their public actions will reflect your business.

11. They Have a Commanding Physical Presence

Like it or not, there’s a little psychological principle called the halo effect. Collectively, we give authority and credibility to people we perceive as being beautiful. They are seen as more trustworthy and honest.

We aren’t advocating making your decision based solely on aesthetics. However, there’s quite a lot of evidence suggesting that we trust those we deem beautiful and well-groomed. There’s a lot of interesting literature, including jury and baby studies, which back this phenomena up.

What does the halo effect mean for choosing a spokesperson? Make sure your spokesperson is well-groomed or has a strong physical presence.

12. They’re Available

One additional consideration that is definitely not to be overlooked when seeking a strong spokesperson is the candidate’s availability. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but in reality, ensuring that a potential rep for your brand has the time is incredibly important. A spokesperson should be part of your team, and while it can be advantageous to settle on a public figure, you want to make sure that whomever you work with has the availability to work with your schedule, and not the other way around.

Did we leave any important qualities out? Who are some of your favorite spokespeople? Share with us here, on Facebook, and on Twitter @sproutvideo!