A veteran in the communications industry, Lisa Lanspery, senior vice president of corporate communications at Synchrony, said her best piece she’s ever received is quite simple: ask for help.
We caught up with Lanspery to get her take on the future of comms pros and the communications industry for our new “6 questions with” series — an update of our classic “Day in the Life” profiles.
1. What book, podcast or other media do you recommend to other comms pros?
Lanspery: Today, communicators need to continue to hone foundational skills including critical thinking and writing more clearly. One of my favorite books is the Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. This is a classic that’s guiding principles focus on the basics of English grammar. I also recommend getting a subscription to the AP Stylebook Online.
2. What’s your favorite tool you use regularly for work?
There isn’t one silver-bullet tool that helps all aspects of our profession — from research, to analysis, to writing to stakeholder identification, to risk assessments and more. However, as a data-driven communicator, I like to ensure that I am viewing data from multiple sources. I keep on my browser open to a few tabs including Factiva, Onclusive, Cision and Twitter. Gaining insights to think about both positioning of content as well as ensuring we are targeting the right stakeholders is essential.
3. What excites you most about the future of communications?
Communicators are becoming data scientists – our profession has evolved. We are leveraging data to think about our audiences – from how we inform them to how we can change their behaviors. This includes what messages they receive and where they get their information. More near term, I am thinking about how Chat GPT and other AI text generators can help our function become more efficient and how AI is going to change the landscape of journalism. I also enjoy thinking about how we are going to communicate to different audiences via different mediums. From smart watches to the metaverse, how are we going to design content differently and engage with audiences and reporters in a different way?
4. What communications challenge keeps you up at night?
Issues management is what keeps me up at night -– from societal issues to cyber issues by foreign actors to the next negative brand tweet from a politician. We do our best to see around corners and plan for different scenarios, but each situation is unique.
5. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge in my career has been keeping up with the technology and social media trends. I remember starting my career faxing press releases, reading Bacon’s (MediaSource) to find a reporter’s phone number and looking at the large physical clip books from Barrells. Today, everything is faster (and easier) with technology and mobile devices, but I still find myself try to learn from Gen Z about the latest social media apps or the best podcasts.
6. What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Ask for help. Know the business -– really understand your client’s business inside and out. And listen more.
Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.