As CEO, Michael advises Fortune 500 corporations, industry associations, major litigation practices and non-profit organizations on language strategy and messaging issues. Clients that have sought Michael’s counsel include FedEx, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, UBS and The Walt Disney Company. He has also worked with a wide range of industry associations including the Financial Services Roundtable, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association, the Personal Care Products Council, the Direct Marketing Association, and the New Orleans tourism industry.
How CEOs, companies, and entire industries communicate – whether during crises, in advertising and public relations campaigns, or with investors, Congress or the American people – often means the difference between success and failure. Clients from PepsiCo to eBay to Microsoft to Starbucks turn to Michael to understand the public mood, challenge conventional wisdom and transform not just what they say to key audiences – but how they say it.
Michael shares with clients his in-depth understanding of hot-button issues in banking and financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, corporate social responsibility and non-profits, technology and consumer products, and litigation and politics. Over the years, he has helped Fortune 500 companies position and differentiate their brands and products during good times, and protect their reputations during crisis.
Michael’s book, The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics, reviews the communication challenges that companies and industries face today and offers proven tools for building trust and credibility with consumers, regulators and the general public.
Michael’s strategic analysis builds on insights from his unique combination of expertise: battle-tested communications experience combined with a deep understanding of public opinion. He has conducted hundreds of research projects in over 20 countries using his firm’s trademarked polling and focus group methodology, lauded byThe New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, “60 Minutes,” “Nightline” and PBS’s “Frontline,” among others. Michael is one of corporate America’s leading communications and research strategists.
Prior to coming to m + p, Michael founded MarketResearch.com, a leading market intelligence company where he served as president and remains on the Board. Previously, he led a distinguished career as a corporate attorney with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
After a crushing loss in a student council race in the 6th grade, Lee learned the importance of getting the story right from the beginning. In the 7th grade, when she ran again, she ran on a story that was driven by some middle school polling techniques she employed among her classmates. And, she won. Ever since she has had a passion for language. For the message. For the story. And she brings this passion to her role as partner at m+p, a research-driven language strategy firm that specializes in finding the right language and messages based on one simple idea: it’s not what you say that matters, it’s what they hear.
A member of the executive leadership team, Lee oversees a diverse range of language strategy work for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits in the U.S. and abroad. To do this, Lee has conducted, overseen, and analyzed countless instant response sessions, traditional focus groups, brainstorming and strategy sessions. and surveys in more than 15 countries. She has worked with clients in a wide range of industries including financial services, energy, automotive, sustainability, hospitality services, food and beverage, technology, and consumer products. And, she has worked extensively in public affairs, public policy, and issue advocacy.
Before joining maslansky + partners, Lee spent more than ten years in marketing and strategic communications. And, like many of her colleagues at m+p got her start in politics advocating for teaching hospitals, graduate medical education, the use of bicycle helmets, and healthcare for those who couldn’t afford it.
Lee serves as a member of the National Head Start Association advisory board focusing on messaging, is a fellow of the National Committee on US-China Relations Young Leadership Forum, and an occasional contributor to Fox News and MSNBC. A graduate of Furman University, Lee majored in History and Sociology. She also studied theater and architecture at the University of London. She lives in New York City.
Larry manages the firm’s Washington office. His experience and expertise span a range of disciplines, including strategic communications and media counsel, policy advocacy, employee communications and crisis communications. Larry has advised and worked with many industry-leading companies, trade associations, foundations and non-profits including NBC Universal, Comcast, Anheuser-Busch, AARP, the Gates Foundation, the Motion Picture Association of America and the American Museum of Natural History.
A National Emmy award-winning television producer, Larry spent more than two decades as a television executive and news producer for CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and PBS prior to joining m + p. Larry’s journalism career included a stint as Washington Bureau Chief for CNBC, directing coverage of Capitol Hill, the White House, and the regulatory agencies.
As a business journalist, Larry has extensive experience covering topics ranging from corporate strategy, international trade, health care and the financial markets. While serving as part of the management team at CNBC, Larry led the redesign of the network’s financial news programming, including the creation of popular programs such as “Squawk Box” and “Power Lunch.” Larry was also executive producer of PBS’s acclaimed “Wall Street Week with FORTUNE” and senior producer of MSNBC’s “The News with Brian Williams.”
In 2004, Larry was appointed to the advisory board of INVESTOR EDUCATION, an organization designed to equip investors with the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed investment decisions. The non-profit entity was part of the “global settlement” between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and 10 of the nation’s top investment firms. Larry and his wife Cindy live in Maryland with their children Brooke, Nikki and Jason.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
George Bernard Shaw
Keith brings his passion for great language and storytelling to his role as partner at m + p, a research-driven language strategy firm that specializes in finding the right language and messages to frame or reframe how your target audience hears what you’re trying to say. A member of the executive leadership team, Keith oversees a diverse range of language strategy work for clients including Microsoft, Pfizer, Tyco International, Estee Lauder, eBay and several political campaigns.
His work has spanned a wide range of issues and industries, including consumer products, technology, pharmaceuticals and travel and tourism as well as public affairs and public policy advocacy.
Previously, Keith spent more than 15 years as a public relations executive, communication advisor, media spokesperson and political operative. This included five years as vice president and head of the communication division of New York City’s official marketing agency, NYC & Company. There he played a key role in formulating crisis communication strategy following 9/11, oversaw the city’s television, print and radio ad campaigns and directed all digital marketing and research activities.
Keith also served as vice president of marketing and communication for the French economic development agency Invest in France, where he directed a national (U.S. market) marketing and communication campaign for the French Government.
Like many of his m + p colleagues, Keith began his career in politics, working on presidential and senatorial campaigns.
Keith is a graduate of Oberlin College with a degree in government. He also studied international relations at the School for International Training and at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. A native of New York City, he has traveled widely and lived in both Paris and East Africa.
"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite"
Sometimes referred to as “the most popular man in swine,” Clint’s experience at maslansky + partners includes issues-based research in both animal and plant agriculture. Specifically, Clint has helped both farmers and others in the agriculture industry to build trust with consumers in today’s highly politicized and emotional food environment.
Additionally, Clint has worked extensively in financial services, including in highly complex annuities and insurance products, showing clients how to simplify the language they use and emphasize the right benefits to break through to both clients and financial advisors.
Since joining maslansky + partners in 2007, Clint has contributed to research and consulting work in a dozen countries around the world, on issues as diverse as telecoms, utilities, shipping and packaging, and politics. His research experience includes moderating Instant Response dial sessions with specialized audiences ranging from Millennials to Boomers, and shopper parents to tech adopters. And he has given presentations to numerous groups and conferences, including farmers, financial advisors, and c-level executives.
Clint holds a BS in Communication Studies and Political Science from Northwestern University, and an MA in International Relations and Religion from Boston University. He lives in Arlington, VA with his wife.
Since joining m + p in 2006, Justin has completed projects and built messaging strategies for numerous clients across a variety of industries. He has conducted Instant Response sessions and quantitative surveys across the U.S. and in international markets such as China, India, Brazil, and Europe.
Justin has worked with companies such as AT&T, FedEx, Pfizer, Anheuser-Busch, and Lowe’s to build better language and communication strategies, and with non-profits such as Conservation International and AARP on critical language and messaging efforts. He has also led the firm’s work with professional sports franchises, including projects with the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and other teams.
Prior to joining m + p, Justin was with the Corporate Executive Board, a leading best practice research and executive education firm in Washington, DC, where he worked with leading global companies.
Justin is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in political science. A native of Indianapolis, Justin lives in Charleston, SC with his wife, son, and golden retriever.
David came on board with m+p in September 2012. Before joining the m+p team he spent two years developing and maintaining Social Media research & community management processes for Australia’s largest television broadcaster. During that time, he was the first member of a new team built to handle "The Facebook" and emerging media for the corporation. From creating corporate manuals, to training customer service reps, to pioneering research products analyzing online conversations, that was when being in social media marketing meant learning by doing.
He holds a degree in English Literature from the University of Bristol in England, but thinks he may have learned even more from spending hours talking to thousands of everday folks in bright-lit focus group rooms across the Americas and Europe. In front of the two-way mirror David has teased out insights for his Fortune 500 clients while having a lot of fun too. And behind it he has helped distill the reactions of everyone from Iowa farmers, to Oncologists, to Financial Advisors into clear incisive words and phrases that work.
A dual-national hailing from both Australia and England, David moved to New York in order to take up his role at m+p’s NYC office. He can be found brewing proper English tea in the m+p kitchen, poring over a thesaurus at his desk, or apologizing to focus group participants for his confusing accent.
Joining m + p in January 2011, Katie brings a background in consumer behavior to her work in language strategy. A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in psychology, Katie began with the team as an intern.
Previously, she worked in Georgetown University’s Writing Center and served as Marketing Director for an on-campus start-up. Based in the NYC office after beginning in DC, she is proud to add to the firm’s curious abundance of redheads.
Katie currently resides in Manhattan but would gladly relive her glory days spent feasting on bread and cheese in France.
Catherine joined maslansky + partners in 2014 and has worked across industries, including agriculture, financial services, and health care. She has helped clients translate what they know and love about their companies into compelling stories that really resonate. Prior to m+p, Catherine worked at Omnicom media agency OMD as a strategic media planner, with a focus on content marketing and native advertising.
Catherine graduated from Georgetown University, earning summa cum laude honors. She is a Phi Beta Kappa and double-majored in English and Art History, studying Renaissance painting in Florence, Italy. A native of horse country Virginia, Catherine resides in Manhattan and enjoys printmaking and watercolor painting.
Alison joined m+p in 2017 with a background in verbal branding, corporate strategy, and ethnographic research. She previously consulted with and named companies at brand strategy firm Siegel+Gale, and worked on an oncology pipeline at pharma ad agency Harrison & Star. She also worked for the Yale School of Management’s Behavioral Lab, contributing to research published in journals from Psych Science to JAMA.
At Yale, Alison studied Anthropology. Her independent research documented the impact of political shifts on endangered cultural practices in modern Latin America.
She’s an avid Spanish speaker, race runner, and music maker. And she has yet to find a business challenge that cultural understanding and clear language can’t solve.
Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nicole joined m+p in October of 2016 after working inside the Beltway for the better part of a decade. Her advocacy background gives her critical insight into developing language strategy and decoding what motivates human behavior.
During her time in DC, Nicole worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, where she helped lead research and communications initiatives to address the litigation challenges faced by businesses across all industries. Previously, she worked in government affairs at the Insured Retirement Institute, a financial services trade association, focusing on state and federal retirement matters. With deep knowledge and experience working with Fortune 100 companies, Nicole helps clients communicate effectively through shifting political and business landscapes.
A proud native Bostonian, Nicole graduated from Boston University with a degree in psychology. She lives on the Upper East Side, and in her free time you can find her buried deep in a book (with a glass of red wine), walking around her neighborhood, or befriending puppies on the street.
"Arguments rarely shift intuitions; it's through stories that we revise our sense of what's natural."
Sachi joined m+p in 2012. In the years since, her work has spanned a wide range of issues and industries, including consumer products, pharmaceuticals, food and agriculture, as well as corporate social responsibility and issue advocacy. Whether it’s motivating policymakers to support a social policy, or helping consumers feel more comfortable about where their food comes from, Sachi specializes in finding the right language to get people to care—or not care—about tough issues.
Previously, Sachi co-founded a nonprofit that brings the first-ever anti-human trafficking curriculum to New York City high school classrooms. At m+p, she continues to mentor students and leads m+p’s PENCIL School Partnership with Manhattan Business Academy. And she’s always looking to expand m+p’s pro bono opportunities.
A New York University alumna, Sachi earned a B.S. in Media, Culture, and Communication, with a concentration in Persuasion and Politics and a minor in Studio Art. Originally from Honolulu, Hawai'i, Sachi also has roots in Columbia, Missourah and Japan. When she’s not scribbling on the brainstorm walls of 200 Varick St., you can find Sachi getting her fill of Vitamin D with a book, espresso, or yoga mat in hand.
Paige joined the team in September 2015, bringing a research background in language and communication and prior internship with m+p to her role. She comes from the higher education sector, where she focused her work on redesigning the traditional university model to suit twenty-first century needs—and how to best communicate this shift to a variety of stakeholders.
Paige fostered a love of language at Penn State and continued on to Georgetown University for a master’s degree in linguistics. Her research involved analyzing communication to see how people achieve social goals using strategies like humor, politeness, and storytelling.
When she’s not languaging, Paige can be found sifting through local record store offerings, laughing uproariously with friends, and thinking about what delicious meal to cook or order next.
Sarah joined the team at m+p in February 2017. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Linguistic Analyst for Verilogue, a testament to her passion for using a love of language to help solve interesting and unique client challenges. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied cognitive science and linguistics, and developed her skills in a foreign language while studying abroad in Beijing. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
Coming to New York after spending many years in Philadelphia, Sarah spends her time trying to navigate the more complicated transit system and exploring new restaurants and museums.
Will has been part of the m+p team since February 2015. Before finding his way here, he worked with organizations providing healthcare, education, and advocacy services to Spanish-speaking immigrant communities. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University, where he studied comparative literature, translation, and creative writing. His background in intercultural communications has allowed him to experience firsthand how profoundly a person’s individual context can influence what he or she perceives as truth.
A native of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Will grew up floating and fly fishing on the Potomac River. He once spent $5 (US) on an iPhone app that makes ambient rain sounds—an anecdote meant to illustrate his love of thunderstorms, not his business acumen.
Leemor’s driving interest in language and storytelling led her to m+p in August of 2014. Since joining the team, Leemor has worked on messaging strategies across multiple industries and countries. She brings with her an ability to identify, break down, and analyze the difference between language that works and language that doesn’t.
Leemor graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University with a major in Writing and minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. She also studied creative writing and English literature in Cambridge, England and the interplay between Italian politics, history, and literature in Florence, Italy. Currently living in New York, she often walks past Bikram yoga classes only to be lured in, yet again, by the Mr. Softee truck across the street.
In her three years at maslansky + partners, Ali has worked on messaging strategies for a range of clients in the financial services, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries. She specializes in training organizations on the "why" behind language that works, and brings with her a passion for uncovering the right thing to say when the emotional stakes are high.
Ali graduated cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard College, with minors in Global Health Policy and French. Living in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and briefly France and Botswana gave her a deep love of exploring new places. When not at her desk, she can be found scouting out the many new-to-her restaurants across NYC.
Annelise joined maslansky + partners in January 2016. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a journalist at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, where she fostered an appreciation for the power of clear language and a compelling story. She brings that perspective to her work in language strategy, solving communications challenges across industries, including financial services, energy and pharmaceuticals.
Annelise graduated from Emory University with degrees in Journalism and English Literature before moving to New York. A Los Angeles native, she traded the 101 for the 1 train and hasn't looked back. Ever the optimist, you can often find her in search of the city's best Mexican eats.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Robert joined m+p in June 2016, bringing with him a fascination with language born through studying Cicero and Shakespeare. He graduated with honors in History from Harvard University and wrote his senior thesis on the implicit racism of 1950s British intelligence reports, exercising his love for writing through language analysis. Professionally, Robert brings lessons learned communicating in the worlds of corporate banking and tech start-ups, experiences that taught him the vital importance of understanding your audience.
When not in the office, Robert can usually be found wandering around Soho with iced coffee in hand, an area of the city that reminds him of his hometown of London, or relaxing with some live music in Washington Square Park.
Monica joined m+p in August of 2016. Prior to m+p, she directed the branding and marketing strategies for a college campus start-up and a global pro bono law firm. She also brings experience working at a lobbying firm that advocates for Latino voting rights, researching issues surrounding word choice for the question of race and heritage in the decennial Census.
A child of an airline employee, her frequent travels led her to develop a deep appreciation for language and culture, which piqued her interest in discovering new insights into how people perceive themselves and one another. She delved further into the world of human behavior and language at Georgetown University, where she graduated cum laude with a major in Government and a minor in Spanish and Sociology.
A New Jersey native (a fact she is not afraid to tell you), she considers the horrid Newark Airport her second home and spends most of her time daydreaming of where to fly to next. When she’s not traveling, you can find her dancing at a music festival, feasting on tapas, or scouring the internet for new music.
Kat joined m+p in July 2016 after starting as an intern in their DC office. Before m+p, she worked to improve communication in the military at a government-funded startup, and further developed her love of all things linguistic while promoting the science of language at a scholarly non-profit.
Kat graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a degree in Linguistics and a Japanese minor, and stayed on to complete a master’s degree in Language and Communication. Her research specialized in identifying – and repairing – breakdowns in communication, from misunderstandings in everyday conversation to acquired speech disorders.
When she’s not tinkering with words, you can find her waiting for the C train and dreaming of her native Kentucky’s rolling hills and bluegrass. She loves a good pun – and also a bad one.
Emily’s passion for new challenges led her to join maslansky+partners in January 2017. She helps a wide variety of clients determine their most impactful messaging using her strategic communications skills and knowledge of behavioral science. Prior to joining the team, Emily worked as a brand planner for an advertising agency, mcgarrybowen, with a focus on digital strategy and storytelling.
Emily is a proud alumna of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State where she graduated with honors in advertising and holds minors in psychology and business. She spent a too-short semester abroad in Australia where she discovered that her dislike of roller coasters did in fact transfer to bungee jumping. This redhead currently resides in Brooklyn, but a piece of her heart will always belong to Happy Valley.
Hana has been m+p’s Recruiting Director since February 2016, working to bring the most qualified respondents into our instant response dial sessions and helping facilitate various projects across different methodologies. She’s passionate about research and enjoys exploring new technologies and tools for engaging respondents.
She graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Binghamton University and worked for Radius GMR for two years prior to finding m+p. She has been living in New York since she was 7 and loves all the cultural perks of the city. When she’s not working, she enjoys live music, gallery hopping, any activity involving the outdoors and making baked mac & cheese at home.
Lee joined the m+p team in 2014 and combines her background in communication with her passion for video and graphics. She was a winner of the 2012 Blue Mountain Documentary Festival. Before joining the New York office, Lee graduated from Appalachian (that’s App•uh•latch•in) State University in North Carolina where she earned a B.S. in Advertising and a B.S. in Electronic Media & Broadcasting, graduating Cum Laude.
Lee was born and bred in Blacksburg, VA (Go Hokies!). She loves music, the outdoors, going on adventures, and finding any reason to laugh. When not making media magic, she has made it her mission to find the best swath of grass in the city.
Benjamin Rosloff joined the m+p team in September 2016. He grew up in Great Neck, New York and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Electronic Media from Long Island University. Ben has always been a big movie buff, and has been making films of his own for more than a decade.
Ben’s documentary short “Can I Call You?” was screened in the U.S. and Russia during an internship with DCTV. He has also created and screened multiple films for the United Nations. These include a film for World Autism Awareness Day—where Ben interviewed then-Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon—and “#Envision 2030” for Disability Awareness Day.
In his spare time, Ben volunteers for Autism Speaks, doing video shoots and interviews. His interest in creating films about autism and other disabilities goes beyond just spreading awareness—it’s a personal passion. As a person with autism who is always striving to improve his communication skills, Ben is excited to have the opportunity to learn more about language strategy at m+p.
We brought language strategy to Washington DC politics…today our clients run Fortune 100s and NGOs.
in the media
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The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics
The Language of Trust:
Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics
The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics was published by Prentice Hall in May 2010. Written by our CEO Michael Maslansky, this book explores how to use language to undo the skepticism that a world of too much spin has created. Based on more than a decade’s worth of research into how consumers and the public respond emotionally to communication, Maslansky explores new words, new phrases, and new communication techniques to address situations where there appears to be a “failure to communicate.” Lessons include:
- What it means to communicate in a Post-Trust Era (pg. 16)
- Why you must assume everyone’s a skeptic (pg. 37)
- Four principles that make your message believable (pg. 53)
- How to say just enough but never too much (pg. 82)
- Three rules of engagement for overcoming difference (pg. 136)
- How social media is changing the language of trust (pg. 220)
- The 20 banned phrases to scrub from your vocabulary (pg. 231)
The book covers many topics including politics, financial services, healthcare, and philanthropy — with countless real-world examples where a change in language made a huge difference.
+ learn more