Goood morning, friends! We’re back at Affiliate Summit East today so make sure you stay tuned right here for all the action and gossip that’s going on at the show. I mean, it’s Monday so you’re just avoiding work anyway, right?

That’s what I thought.

Okay, we’re kicking things off with a good old fashioned keynote. Jim Kukral is up giving us some morning announcements, sponsor information and, of course, a great introduction to our speaker Frankie Luntz.  Let’s go!

Who is Frankie Luntz? Yeah, I didn’t know either.  He’s a political consultant and a pollster.  He’s a Fox News commentator and analyst.  His specialty is testing language and finding words that will help his clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate.  He’s also a grown man who goes by “Frankie”. Just sayin.

Frankie says that the language that you use and the communication has never been more important than it is right now. You can see it in politics and you can see it on Wall St. You can see it from BP when the CEO stands up and says he just wants to get his life back as you watch people lose their livelihood in the Gulf area.  You see it in Barack Obama. He’s a great communicator.  He’s one of the best communicators of the last 10-15 years. He reads a teleprompter better than any actor.  Stevie Wonder readers a teleprompter better than John McCain.

What matters is not what you say. What matters is what people hear, what they read, how they take in the information, how they collect it, etc.

You cannot be everything to everyone, so don’t try. You want to be exactly what your audience wants, nothing more, nothing less.  He has a hard time with that on Fox because people have a certain expectation.  You cannot be right of center on MSNBC without the audience going crazy. You can’t be left of center on Fox without the audience going nuts. The goal is to be what your audience is looking for and communicate what they want.  What matters is essence of reliability. The idea that what people can trust what they are seeing or reading.  The level of distrust continues to grow.  People aren’t afraid to purchase but they are afraid of what they’re reading. The more that you can prove and provide evidence, the more they will trust you.

The problem is things are going badly in this country right now. We used to be optimistic and hopeful. Now we’re angry and pessimistic.  We have a negative impression of what’s going on and of our future.  Standard of living is economic.  Quality of life is a higher priority – how long it takes to get to work, the closeness you have with your family.  Both are perceived to be negative right now.

  • 62 percent eat at restaurants less often
  • 46 percent reduced the money they give to charity
  • 42 percent postponed a vacation
  • 39 percent declined plans to buy a new car
  • 33 percent delayed plans to buy a major home appliance
  • 24 percent delayed doctor’s appointment/medical test

People are looking for stability. That means predictability and no surprises.

If you want to motivate a purchase, reach out to moms and their children.  Women don’t buy for themselves or their spouse, they buy for their kids.   57 percent of parents think their kids is going to inherit a worse country than them. That’s why you need to focus on how you can change the direction of tomorrow. 72 percent of Americans say the define themselves as they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.

Men want money, women want time.  Focus on:

  • Fewer hassles
  • More choices
  • More money
  • More time
  • No worries

That’s what people want most and how you get them to buy.  People participate, not observe. The younger you are the more you want to be involved. The younger you are the more active you want to be. If you’re under age 30, you don’t want to talk to a human being. If you’re over age 50 you don’t want e-anything and the less interested you are in digital interaction.  You can get 15 percent more if what you offer is hassle free.  People just want it now. We are the most impatient that we’ve ever been. We’ll part with money to avoid hassle…even if we don’t the money to part with.

Men respond to details; women respond to story.  Men see the number of colors, pixels, pictures, etc. Women see the TV through their children. Women are turned off my numbers. They want to know how they’re going to experience it.

Users don’t want the companies that are the best. They want the companies that are constantly improving. We don’t believe that if you’re the best now that you’ll be the best in 10 years.  We’d rather buy Samsung than Sony.

What people REALLY want from you:

  • Accountability in what you do
  • Fierce integrity/principles in all you do
  • Respect of clients/customers/employees
  • Independent and without bias
  • Measurable results so it was worth it
  • Success – no excuses

Of all the structures, the Statue of Liberty has been named the “most American”…even though it was made in France.  The iPod has some of the best ads because they’re product-focused.  The people are blurred out so you can’t judge the ad based on what she looks like – you judge the ad on her experience with the product.  Visuals speak louder than words.

Any time you use alliteration, you’re more likely to have people remember what you said.

The public doesn’t know much. At all. Four times as many people can name three stooges than three supreme court justices. We follow stuff in pop culture but we don’t know the details. We just know things that happen. More people believe that UFOs exist than believe that social security will still exist.  People would rather get mugged than audited by the IRS.  Five percent say its the same thing.

It matters what you say. People think we spend too much on welfare, but that we don’t pay enough on assistance to the poor.  There is a right and a wrong way to use language. People would rather have a career than a job but politicians keep offering jobs

21 words for the 21st century

  1. imagine/inspire
  2. cleaner, safer, healthier
  3. comprehensive/long-term
  4. accountability
  5. results/solutions
  6. hassle-free/no worries
  7. You’re in control/you decide
  8. Efficient and Efficiency
  9. Reliable
  10. Respect
  11. Renew, revitalize, rejuvenate, restore, rekindle, reinvent
  12. The simple truth
  13. consequences
  14. bold action/getting it done
  15. peace of mind
  16. independent certification
  17. mission/commitment
  18. cutting edge
  19. common sense
  20. convenience
  21. exceeding expectations

The word “imagine” transcends all cultures.

How do words communicate differently to different generations? Especially between GenYs and Baby Boomers.

The length of the sentence.  Gen Y won’t read a sentence with more than 5-6 words.  They can text but they can’t write a sentence. [So women don’t care about stats and Gen Ys have no attention span.  I feel like we’re offering up a lot of cliches here with no references to data sources.] The younger they are the more you have to simplify the sentence. The younger they are the more likely you should use metaphors and compare something to something else.

The older they are the more you’re trying to make someone feel at ease. You want to communicate no surprises and reliability. There are very little similarities between those two groups.

How have people’s personal narratives changed and how does that affect how we sell to them?

Honestly, people think they’re f’d.  Everyone thinks they’re getting screwed by someone.  They think they’re getting the shaft.  We think now that everything has been set up against us. We have been trained not to believe anyone or anything. It has to communicate “I get it, I get how you feel”. The more that they see that you “get” who they are and what that they’re about, the more they’re likely to respond to your message.  The average American who loses their job runs out of savings in 5 weeks.  There is no money out there.  The best thing you can do is not only empathize with them but tell them you get it.

How do people feel about privacy?

They piss and moan about it…but they really don’t care. We would rather share information.


About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.


2 thoughts on “Opening Keynote with Frankie Luntz


  • dianeski on said:

    I take issue with the claim that over-50s don’t want e-anything. First, over-50 is not exactly “one foot in the grave.” We’re not dead yet! Fifty is the new 40, ‘member? We Boomers regard ourselves as ageless, and donnnn’t you fergit it!

    Second, as an ecommerce copywriter for a household-name Fortune 500 apparel company, I know for a fact that over-50s buy online — they’re certainly buying our stuff online, so take that, Frankie Luntz. Even for our more youth-oriented products, our age demographics skew older than GenY. (In the case of the website I write for, we’re skewing GenX / Young Boomer. Other websites under our corporate umbrella skew older than that.) So, if over-50s are e-averse, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

    I don’t take too much exception to Luntz’s other points. But that bit about the over-50s…sheesh!

    @dianeski


  • Kristi Davis on said:

    haha! Yes, my mom would have a problem with that too. She buys tons of stuff online, although she would prefer to call up and talk to someone if she has problems.

    Those were depressing stats and I agree, I want to know where they came from. A lot of it strikes true though.


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