Ryan Reynolds: How to Make Your CEO Your Spokesperson

This week, we’re taking lessons from comedic actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds with the help of SaaS SEO thought leader Liam Barnes.

Episode Summary

Humanizing your brand is one of the most difficult challenges in marketing.

But there’s a proven solution to getting people to associate your business with more than just its logo: a spokesperson.

A spokesperson is the voice and face of your company. It can’t just be anybody. You need someone with a trusted voice. Someone who can speak about your product with authenticity. Someone who can talk to your customers in the language they use. And it doesn’t have if that someone is a little charming, too.

This week, we’re taking lessons from comedic actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds, who has become the face of his own brands like Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile.

Here to help us is SaaS SEO thought leader Liam Barnes, Head of Demand Generation and Programs at Bionic, an application security posture management platform. With Ryan and Liam by our side, we’re showing you how to choose an effective spokesperson, why hiring a celebrity isn’t so far out of reach, and why you shouldn’t gatekeep your content.

About Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds is a Canadian-American actor, producer, and entrepreneur whose career took off after he starred in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. He’s also starred in Waiting, Adventureland, Free Guy, and the Deadpool franchise.

Ryan’s track record as an entrepreneur may be even more impressive than his work in film. Three businesses he has either invested in or owns have sold for incredibly impressive figures: Aviation Gin ($610 million), Mint Mobile ($1.35 billion), and film production and digital advertising agency Maximum Effort (undisclosed). He also has financial interests in the Wrexham Association Football Club, 1password, and Wealthsimple.

Key Takeaways

What B2B Companies Can Learn From Ryan Reynolds:

  • Choose an in-house evangelist for your brand. There’s no one who knows your product better than someone who lives and breathes it on a daily basis. Your ideal evangelist is someone who can vouch for your product and speak the language of your customers – and has a stake in the business's success. Ryan Reynolds is not only the owner of Mint Mobile, but also the company’s in-house evangelist. He has the authority, investment, and understanding of the product to share the benefits of becoming a customer. And because one of Mint Mobile’s values is that they’re cheap, he highlights it by, for example, featuring his family in the ads as “barely paid spokespeople.” Chances are that you already have some great brand evangelists in your B2B company. This could be a CXO with a strong social media presence who’s established as a thought leader in your industry, someone on your product team who is consistently engaging with your community in popular forums, or even the new hire who’s documenting their journey at your company.
  • Hire a celebrity to be your company spokesperson. We love internal brand evangelists. But we also love influencer marketing, and what’s hot right now? Getting a celebrity to be the face of your brand. They’re more accessible than you think. Partnerships come at a range of price points, and you don’t need a mega A-lister to make a big impact. According to an article in the Journal of Advertising Research, celebrity endorsements can increase a company’s sales by an average of 4%. Ping Identity hired actor and athlete Terry Crews to be their “chief identity champion” for a brand awareness campaign that launched in October 2020. According to Ping Identity CMO Kevin Sellers, the company’s website traffic increased 1000 percent after the launch of the campaign. So dig deep into your brand’s voice and mission and find a celebrity or influencer who can embody your brand. The results speak for themselves! Bonus points if they bring a little humor into it!
  • Make your content accessible. Distribution is key! There is a lot of great B2B content out there – but too often, companies limit their audience by gatekeeping their content.  With his businesses, Reynolds takes a different approach. His businesses don’t spend heavily on advertising, but the ads they do create are funny, engaging, and accessible to everyone. The ads often go viral, further expanding their reach. (If you want to see a textbook example of what we’re talking about, check out this Mint Mobile ad!) And while we understand that not all B2B content can be a quirky one-minute advertisement, the key here is simple: unlock the gate. Don’t keep your best ideas in an email newsletter or in a hotel conference room. You’re limiting your audience when you do.

*“He has this sense of ownership and everything is tongue in cheek. When we're buying his stuff, we're buying a little bit of Ryan. He vouched for it. And it's just really novel, how he productizes himself. A gin is just a gin. But when Ryan Reynolds is behind it, now it means something more.” - Ian Faison

*”It’s important to surround yourself with good people who are very good at their job. And with Ryan Reynolds, he has George Dewey as his business partner, who is that creative genius, that ad genius. He understands marketing, he understands culture, he understands people.” - Ian Faison

*”It’s important to have someone who is likable, charismatic and engaging as the spokesperson. Someone who's very close and tied and invested into the company driving the story and driving the thought leadership of the company. Especially in security, we have a really hard time getting founders, getting evangelists, getting technical people to want to push the story forward. And it's because they just don't have that advertising expertise, the marketing expertise. They’re engineers, they're not writers. And if they were writers, they were like research-based writers, so the creativity side of it was lost. And so it's important to do both things. Partner the front running technical people in your company with solid marketers, and help them push the narrative forward. - Liam Barnes

*”Something that Ryan Reynolds understands is the distribution of the content that he's creating. He could definitely go and headline user conferences or go and do features where he goes and shows up at certain places where people ask him questions and pay attention to him for an hour. But then there's nothing after that. And something that companies get really wrong is they put all this time and energy into a user conference and then they gate it. They put it behind this paywall, or they make you give your information to them and then nobody sees it after the conference…Honestly, what most people would react more positively to is, go ahead and have the user conference, then go spend time distributing the content correctly. It's just something that's a completely missed opportunity. It's an interesting kind of dynamic that you see a lot in b2b, where everything's gated and nobody has access, and they're wondering why they're not getting the returns from it. It's because nobody ends up actually seeing it.” - Liam Barnes

“To make your ads better, make the creative more memorable and funnier. And then just put a little bit of that marketing engine behind it, retargeting and AB testing, and all the stuff that we have at our disposal to supercharge that really good creative. Because at the end of the day, if you're just promoting bad creative and boring creative, it's never going to get legs.” - Ian Faison

“It's less about trying to make your chosen spokesperson charismatic. It's more about trying to make that person relatable to who we're selling to. So our CEO and CTO are engineers and security folks. And we're selling to engineering and security folks. So I don't have to make them the most charismatic people. I just have to make them relatable. They have shared experiences with those people. They've been in security before, they've been through writing code and building systems and doing DevOps and running security teams, and doing the security research. And so just talking about those personal experiences and relating it to what those teams are going through. That's all you really need.” - Liam Barnes

Episode Highlights


Listen to Demand Gen Visionaries with Liam Barnes

Tune in to Everyday Demand Gen with Liam Barnes

See the Axonius x Simone Biles ad

Check out IBM Watson’s collaboration with fashion designer Gaurav Gupta

Take a look at Microsoft’s collab with National Geographic in their “Make What’s Next” initiative

Create your own business thriller starring an A-list celebrity

See Coinbase’s $7M Superbowl ad that got people talking

About Remarkable!

Remarkable! is created by the team at Caspian Studios, the premier B2B Podcast-as-a-Service company. Caspian creates both non-fiction and fiction series for B2B companies. If you want a fiction series check out our new offering - The Business Thriller - Hollywood style storytelling for B2B. Learn more at

In today’s episode, you heard from Ian Faison (CEO of Caspian Studios), Dane Eckerle (Head of Development), Colin Stamps (Podcast Launch Manager), Anagha Das (B2B Content Marketing Manager), and Meredith O’Neil (Senior Producer). Remarkable was produced this week by Meredith O’Neil, mixed by Scott Goodrich, and our theme song is “Solomon” by FALAK.

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