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Navigating comms and PR | Lulu Cheng Meservey (Substack, Activision Blizzard)

Navigating comms and PR | Lulu Cheng Meservey (Substack, Activision Blizzard)


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Lulu Cheng Meservey was formerly head of comms at Substack (where I host my newsletter and podcast) and is currently the Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer at Activision Blizzard. She also writes one of my favorite newsletters, “Flack,” where she shares tactical advice for company comms, PR, and messaging. In today’s episode, we dive deep into the world of PR and comms. We discuss why taking risks is crucial, how to gain attention as an underdog, and why it’s important to have a super-specific audience. Lulu outlines several frameworks I’d never heard of before, including a concentric circles framework for identifying your audience, the cultural erogenous zones, and even a physics-based framework for comms.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/navigating-comms-and-pr-lulu-cheng-meservey-substack-activision-blizzard/#transcript

Where to find Lulu Cheng Meservey:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lulumeservey

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lulu-cheng-meservey/

• Newsletter: https://www.getflack.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/


• “Binders full of women”: Mitt Romney’s four words that alienated women voters: https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2012/oct/17/binders-full-of-women-romneys-four-words

• Bill Bishop’s newsletter on Substack: https://www.sinocism.com/

• Hamish McKenzie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hamishmckenzie

The Network State: How to Start a New Country: https://www.amazon.com/Network-State-How-Start-Country-ebook/dp/B09VPKZR3G

• How to increase virality: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/increasing-virality

• Ryan Petersen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/typesfast

• Brian Armstrong on Twitter: https://twitter.com/brian_armstrong

• Palmer Luckey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PalmerLuckey

• Pirate Wires: https://www.piratewires.com/

• NYX: https://www.nyxcosmetics.com/

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae: https://www.amazon.com/Gates-Fire-Novel-Battle-Thermopylae/dp/055338368X

The Last of Us on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-last-of-us

• Notion: https://www.notion.so/

• Lex: https://lex.page/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Lulu’s background

(04:36) What helps an idea spread

(06:17) Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women”

(07:19) Advice for coming up with contagious phrasing

(08:36) Lulu’s esoteric reference that left her Twitter followers confused

(11:08) The importance of taking risks, and Lulu’s thread on standing for free speech

(12:53) An example of another sticky phrase

(14:40) The cultural erogenous zones framework

(16:08) How Kamala Harris made people care about education

(17:29) How to get attention as the underdog

(20:25) How Substack used the concentric circles framework to spread information

(21:32) Understanding the layers in those concentric circles

(25:44) How to get started figuring out your concentric circles

(27:03) An example of aligning messaging with people’s values 

(28:19) Lulu’s mathematical formula framework for comms for a purpose

(28:54) A physics-based framework for comms

(35:56) How Balaji Srinivasan used the concentric circles approach with his book The Network State

(39:46) The importance of a super-specific audience

(41:12) Reasons your comms are failing

(42:40) Why you should focus on one direct communication channel at first

(46:58) Why not every founder needs to be on Twitter

(48:02) Who LinkedIn works better for

(49:23) Examples of messaging with a human voice and hopping on trends quickly

(51:11) Reasons for direct comms 

(53:52) How to get started setting up a direct channel

(56:09) Why consistent, good content is better than trying to go viral

(59:28) Lightning round

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

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Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.