When I looked over the transcript of this interview, I noticed that Sally Hogshead used words like “involuntary” and “instinctive” to describe the drawing power of the triggers that she wrote about in her latest book, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.
In the interview, I asked Sally to explain how each of the triggers works, but also to beyond and actually show how they can be used on the kinds of businesses that I know listeners in my audience are building. If you listen to this program, I promise you’ll be able to use at least 1 of the techniques she taught within the next week.
(And if you take the f-score personality test that we talked about, use the code Andrew so I can tell you how other Mixergy listeners did.)
Sally Hogshead is a speaker, author, and brand innovation consultant, helping companies develop messages that persuade and captivate. Clients past and present include Nike, MINI Cooper, Aflac, Cole Haan, Target, Coca-Cola and Godiva. Sally’s work and insights have been profiled by The New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC.
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Hey everyone, it’s Andrew Warner, I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart, guys do you remember the day when the iPad came out, how the world was just transfixed by this new device, they were all paying attention to Steve Jobs, they were all loving Apple, and then all those other computer manufacturers out there, the guys who had their tablets for years, who had their slates, who had their this and that, all seemed like black and white old fashioned versions of what was going on today. The reason I am saying that is because I want my business, I want myself, I want my life to be that fascinating, that exciting and I want the same thing for my audience and my guest is, if you are guys are listening to a program like this even figure it out how to me find me online and how to find me on iTunes, and put me on whatever device you have now, you want the same thing for yourself. So how do we get you to be that fascinating, how do we get you to be that persuasive, that attention getting. Well, to learn how to do it, I invited today Sally Hogshead, she is the author of ‘Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation’, Sally welcome to Mixergy and thanks for coming here to teach us.
Interviewee: Thank you Andrew, I am so happy to be with you today.
Andrew: Sally, let’s make a promise to the audience early on the program. If they listen to this program from beginning to end, and/or if they go and buy your book ‘Fascinate’ and read that from beginning to end and actually apply all these, what’s in it for them?
Interviewee: They are going to understand that in any type of competitive environment, whether that competitive environment means they are launching into a category that already has a lot of competitors, or they are looking for a job in a field in which a lot of people want to be able to break in or succeed, or even if they are trying to develop stronger relationships with their own children because their kids seem to be more interested in Nintendo or Harry Potter, if they understand the concept of fascination and they can understand how to take their natural brand strengths and apply it, they are going to be able to communicate in a way that is heard, remembered and acted upon.
Andrew: Okay, I gave an example that I think feels too far out of reach for most people and maybe they are little too familiar with it. Steve Jobs, yeah, yeah, we’d all love to be Steve Jobs, this is not going to happen anymore than we are going to become Batman or Superman. Do you have an example that’s little more within reach that also will show us what happens when we take all these ideas, internalize them and use them?
Interviewee: We all have too much information coming at us, we are overwhelmed, we are confused, we feel as though our inboxes are too full, there are too many choices on iTunes, how do we make decisions about which things we are going to choose, which options are we going to ignore, and which ones are going to become our new favorites? The truth is the ones that we choose, the winners are the ones that fascinate us. Now, this can mean that it fascinates us with a rational benefit, by being say for example, the lowest cost or the ones that we habitually buy but more likely it’s going to speak to us emotionally. There is going to be something that brings out some type of a visceral response, an instinctive involuntary response.
The iPad that you mentioned, it invokes one of the seven triggers. Actually, it evokes many of the seven triggers, but it evokes lust. Lust is one of the triggers that’s about the way the i Pad feels in the hand, the way the navigation works, the mystique of how Steve jobs released it.
When we think of the products that we pick off the shelves, the employees that we hire and promote or the friends we feel the closest to. It all comes down to these seven different triggers that I talk about in the book.
Andrew: Do you have a specific example beyond the i Pad of someone who’s doing this well. Someone who’s provoking lust or provoking any one of the other seven triggers that you mentioned in the book?
Sally: Sure. When I was in Starbucks this morning and Starbucks initially was about prestige. Because if you were carrying a Starbucks cup down the street that logo meant something about you. It meant that you were elevated. That you were choosing something other than getting your coffee at home. Then, as the categories matured and (xx), Starbucks started to become less about prestige and more about trust. Understanding that you can get exactly the same drink whether you’re ordering it in Bombay or Montana.
And it’s also they had a promise, this new guarantee that they’ve really been promoting that if there’s anything wrong with your drink, at any point if it doesn’t meet your satisfaction, any time, any Starbucks location, they want to know about it. And they’re invoking the trust trigger. With through consistency and reliability of experience. That’s something that anybody can relate to, that feeling of that they. . . the sense of knowing exactly what you’re buying into with Starbucks.
Andrew: I see. OK. Does it have to be on such a big level where you have operators standing by to take in complaints and where people . . . Does it have to be a company as big as Starbucks with all their resources to evoke trust or can I, for example, start evoking trust here with Mixenergy by putting on a program every day, every week day and focusing it on entrepreneurship and focusing it on ambitious topics? What I’m saying, is this something we can achieve or do we need to be as big as Starbucks in order to get there?
Sally: Well, trust is an unusual trigger. Of the seven triggers, trust is the most difficult to achieve. But, it requires tremendous consistency. So, one of the great things about Mixenergy is that when people come to the site they know exactly the type of topic that you’re going to be talking about even though you have a lot of different variance and the type of guest that you have. The format is consistent, it’s consistently good. But, you have to earn that. You didn’t get that you very first day. Trust is not something that people can take away immediately.
In our research we found that trust is eight times more important than any other trigger in long term relationships. Now on the other hand, not everybody can have trust. So, for start ups and entrepreneurs it’s very difficult to use the trust trigger immediately because it’s something that it takes months or even years to be able to develop because people need to neurologically be able to know what to expect from you and from your brand.
A trigger that you might choose instead would be the vice trigger. The vice trigger is all about forbidden fruit and tweaking rules, going against expectations. So, when somebody . . . in using creativity or having a nontraditional type of format you will be using the vice trigger to bring people into your conversation.
Andrew: OK. So, we’ve mentioned some of the seven triggers. What are all seven triggers?
Sally: The first one is power. Power is about authority and command. Power is what makes us obey and respect. The second one is about mystique. Mystique is about a puzzle. A piece of missing information you want to know the answer. So, when someone says, “Tune in later, get the answer” that’s what makes us want to be able to fill in the blank. The next one is lust which we talked about. Lust is sensory experience. Using the five senses to be able to bring someone into an experience that they craved. So, if you crave a certain sports car or you crave a certain pair of shoes that’s lust at work.
Then there’s alarm. Alarm is the threat of negative consequences. You go on a diet or brush your teeth or watch your cholesterol because of the alarm trigger. Alarm incites people to act because it threatens them with what can go wrong if they don’t. Then there is prestige which is elevating something, a person or an idea or company based on being above other people. Based on respect among peers and ranking. Then there is vice which is a personal favorite of mine. Vice is a very powerful trigger among people who need to break . . .
Interviewee: Break this status quo. So anybody who re-invents a type of thinking, anybody who brings a fresh perspective to a category, anybody from Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, anybody who is reinventing a traditional way of performing and bringing something fresh to the categories using vice and then finally trust which we talked about the consistency of experience.
Andrew: Okay, and I have got them up on my screen but I wrote them down in the order that you just gave them. I thought we could do is go through each one individually, come up with an example of somebody who is doing in well and than talk about how someone in my audience can use them. So let’s start with power. Who is using power well?
Interviewee: Power is something that we see among companies that already have a very established presence, people who have weight that they can bring to any type of negotiation, or who have a solid reputation based on political clout or financial clout. So when we look at Bano for example, the Bano brand has gone from prestige and vice to now using power to take all this brand equity that he has earned and starting to apply it and use it allocated as capital against all of these different causes that he is dedicated to. It’s about the power and influence that he commands, not only through his music it is so much far beyond that now. Now it’s about being able to exert authority and being able to change other people’s behavior specifically because of the command that he has.
Andrew: Because if they don’t do what he thinks is right for the world, he will call out politicians and business people and other organizations and say guys to his fans, this is wrong, and that’s the power that he has.
Interviewee: Well, it is that and it’s also the fact that he can mobilize people, he can incite action. One of the differences between traditional messaging and fascination messaging is that it is about action. It is about decision and behavior. If something doesn’t change behavior then it is not fascinating. It is one of the criteria. So Bano actually it is not just about passively listening, it is about getting people to change the way they not only think but the way they spend their money or the way they dedicate their time.
Andrew: Or maybe at this point we should talk about what it means to fascinate, because I came into researching you with the idea that fascinate means be so interesting that people’s jaw drops and they just start staring, but that’s not what we are talking about here, what do you mean by fascinating.
Interviewee: To be honest, I thought fascination was about jaw dropping attraction when I started also, but the reality is I spent three years researching it and found out that it’s much more than that. Let me take a quick step back and find me. I began three years ago in 2006, researching why do we pay attention to certain things and not others, why do we act on certain messages and not others and what I found is that across time, throughout cultures, no matter where you go on the globe in any era of civilization there are very specific things that compel us to act. It’s innate in the way we are hardwired as humans. Neurologically we are born with these triggers. We are born with certain reasons why we respond to certain things and not to others. Some of it comes down to survival, some of it comes down to attraction and mating, some of it comes down to acquiring food or acquiring resources but all of it applies to the way in which marketing works today on a much bigger level that we have somehow forgotten. The concept of fascination is consistent throughout going all the way back to ancient Romans. It is one of the very first words that the Romans talk about, fascinare. Fascinare was the ability to bewitch someone so irresistibly that they couldn’t deny your message, that you are brainwashing them with witchcraft and this word continues all the way along, all the way through the Salem witch trials, Sigmund Freud talks about it again and again until suddenly in the middle of the 20th century we stopped thinking about fascination and we began thinking about marketing. And the difference is that fascination is something that’s innate, we give ourselves ever to it, it’s involuntary, whereas marketing is something, it’s a rational message that’s directed from the company to the consumer or from the authority, from the New York Times or Encyclopedia Britannica down to the consumer. Well, now it’s no longer about the New York Times and Encyclopedia Britannica, now it’s about blogs and Mixergy and Wikipedia and other ways of earning somebody’s trust and changing their behavior. So in thinking about how things compete in any type of a competitive environment, any environment from the Amazon jungle where you have hundreds of thousands of species competing for food and light and mates, all the way through to Amazon.com where you have millions of books that are screaming for attention on the website.
Interviewee: …all the way through to Amazon.com where you have millions of books that are screaming for attention on the website, the way we make those decisions comes down to which ones are most fascinating and it all can be boiled down into these seven buckets, that I call the triggers.
Andrew: I see. And so these are compelling, they touch inate aspects of who we are and we may even not be aware of them when we are making decisions based on these seven triggers. I might say, I like Amazon because they have the best selection of books, or because that’s the place – because they have the lowest prices. But what’s really happening is, I’m not checking out to see if they have the lowest prices anymore, there’s some thing about them. Its probably that I trust them and so I don’t even bother comparing them and its probably some of these other triggers too at play, that’s what you’re saying.
Interviewee: Yes and its even when you go onto Amazon, why do you buy some books over another, when you go to the aisle and you’re buying creamed corn why do you buy some over another, or when your child is deciding whether or not to do drugs there is a decision that has to happen based on these triggers, and if you can understand why we’re motivated by certain triggers, why it is that certain things speak to us so profoundly whether we realise it or not that we are compelled to act, those are the triggers that work, and if you can understand the triggers that you are responding to and the triggers that you are enacting that you are eliciting in other people then you can have a much greater control over behaviour – your own and that of other people.
Andrew: Ok, let’s move on now to mystique. Do you have an example of someone who uses mystique well?
Interviewee:I do! Now let me ask you, we talked before about beverages. Have you ever had Jagermeister liquor?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.
Interviewee: How would you describe it?
Andrew: Its gross. Its gross, its hard to drink, but I’ve got to say, I still drink it.
Interviewee: Ok, thank you, prefect! So, most people hate the taste of Jagermeister. It tastes sort of like kerosene mixed with black chocolate, melted crayons – and its revolting. But we drink it because of the mystique, because there’s this air about it, this allure that makes us want to be a part of an experience that’s that intriuging. Some people say that Jagermeister has elk’s blood, other people say that it has opiates or crushed valium. And nobody knows for sure because the company wont release the information, and the FDA has tried to make them release it and they won’t, because the reason why people drink Jagermeister – it has nothing do with rational product benefits, it has everything to do with this feeling that we have when we are a part of a group, when we’re at a bachelor party or we’re at a birthday or somebody loses a bet, its a group bonding activity, the people become part of it and if the brand tasted good, if this drink was actually delicious, I doubt it would be so popular. The brand is the number nineth most popular spirit, so it is growing at an extraordinary rate and it continues to grow even though many people don’t like the taste, specifically because it evokes this trigger of mystique. We can’t explain why we drink Jagermeister, we only know that we do, we have, and we probably once again against our better judgement will at another time.
Andrew: Ok. So now how can we manufacture that kind of trigger? If we’re building a business or building a brand or writng a book or doing a podcast or doing the blog, how do we manufacture mystique? How do we make sure that its in there?
Interviewee: Mystique is about questions instead of answers, so instead of announcing all the information, give just enough information that it doesn’t complete the circle, so that people need to come back for more. The people that create mystique, or the companies, we want to find out what makes them tick, we wanna know. We wanna be able to get in there and research so once you successfully create mystique, companies and brands are more likely to be researched by consumers, the consumers are more likely to go into the store to be able to experience, they are more likly to talk about it because they are on a fact finding mission. When the television series Lost, at the end of the season, when they have a cliff hanger and they don’t tell you whats going to be happening and the whole time until you can see the next expisode you want to find out what is the completion to the mystery, that is mystique at work. It is a very, very powerful force that we don’t have any control over it, because it is stronger than curiosity, its a motivator that drives us to do things that don’t seem like its rational. so when a company wants to find out what Apple is about to release as its next product, the people are going to be going through the trash of the Apple buildings to see what patents they have been filing for. In the same way if a wife wants to know if a husband is having an affiar she might be counting the viagra pills in his prescription bottle. Its trying to solve a mystery and crack a code.
Andrew: I see. By the way speaking of Lost, your right, it has that mystique. I’m now here in Buenos Aires, I don’t really have a TV, it’s a pain in the neck to get to watch anything. I’ve been downloading every episode of lost, and I don’t even like the show. I just need to know what’s the island about. Why are they on there?
Who are these others? What else is going on?
Interviewee: Right! We all do this. We talk about really went on between Marilyn Monroe and JFK, what really happened with some of the great conspiracy theories, we want to know, and so we talk about it a lot. It’s a great way to get people talking about your brand. Especially on Twitter, because it allows for real time conversation and information exchange, back and forth.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s see. I see a lot of activity here in the chat room around this… Let’s take one of the most bland, boring topics. Lets talk about Blogs, how this could be applied to Blogs, and the reason I want to say Blogging, because there’s just so many of them out there. How can you apply mystique to a Blog?
Interviewee: Actually, I think this might be a valuable exercise to go through all of the triggers, because this will give people some granular application.
So, this is off the top of my head. If we were going to use the mystique trigger, what you would do is, if you look at the way Chris Brogan’s Blog works. He often ends with a question, and he throws it out to the audience and says, “What do you think?” He’s asking a question to bring people in to participate. Grand participation is all about getting people to engage, and interact, and involve. The way to do that is not by giving away all the information, but to allow people to bring what they have, to do it. Another thing you could do is, instead of simply recording the way journalism will work, is to start a conversation. On my Facebook page almost every single day I ask a question. Sometimes the questions are very intense, from a business perspective. Today the question is, “If you were a punctuation mark, what punctuation mark would you be?” I am an exclamation point in case your curious, and it allows for dialogues so that people can start to join in to the discussion. Social media, at its core has to have mystique baked into the way people use the content, in a way that’s different to any other form of media. Newspapers wouldn’t use mystique in the same way. Do you want to go on and use a couple of other examples that triggers mystique?
Andrew: Yes. Sure. Someone in the audience brought up an e-commerce site. Lets say your online and you want to add mystique, what do you do?
Interviewee: Well, this is an interesting challenge, because e-commerce about information. People are on a fact finding mission, so they want to be able to go to the e-commerce site to have their questions answered. They want immediacy, and if they don’t get immediacy then they probably aren’t going to check out, and so what you might want to do is, the way in which you draw the traffic to the e-commerce site, that’s where you would probably want to have the mystique. You would want to say, “What’s out deal of the day?” It’s 80% off and we’re not going to tell you what it is, but “click here” and find out. TravelZoo uses it ?Hocututre? uses this. There are a lot off sites out there right now where their not going to tell you what it is, and you have to go to the site to be able to find it. Now, once your there at the site, then they start to transition into different triggers. They might use alarm by saying, “We only have 10 items left, If you want this item you have to buy it NOW NOW NOW!” So they’re insigting in you, even if you didn’t really need something,even if you didn’t need the $200.00 flip flops from Tina Turner that are on for sale right now, but there are only 10 left. Oh my god, if I don’t order them right now, I’m not going to get it. That would be the alarm trigger. If they were going to be using the Prestige trigger in an e-commerce site, that would say, “We have brands, that are not represented by any other e-commerce site.” So, Gilt Groupe might say, “You’re going to be able to get first dibs on this season’s collection, and you can’t get it anywhere else. So, we’re offering something that nobody else is offering.” If they were going to be using the Lust trigger, they would have a lot of photography. Zappos started bringing lust in when they gave consumers a better experience of products. So, instead of a regular photograph, they way you would normally find on amazon.com, by having 360 degree views, and showing it on a model, so you could see what it looks like. Giving people a feel and a sense of holding it. You know, when Steve Jobs released the iPad, as we talked about in the beginning. We didn’t just against white. All the photography in the press was, Steve Jobs physically holding it. So, we saw that gorgeous, slender device, and it made us crave it more. Is this useful…?
Andrew: Absolutely, I’m looking at the audience, they love this! Anti-Dang is saying , “I Like this!” Micheal Ricaski, when we were talking about mystique said, “Whoo! And Amazon Gold Box do it really well, It’s True. I had to tear my myself away from ?Woud? a while back, because everyday I go over to the website to see what the new product was.”
Interviewee: Well, wait, hold on, hold on, here’s the thing, the proof that it’s fascination and not a traditional message is evidence by the fact that it’s a waste of your time and you do it anyway, it doesn’t make sense. There are four things that distinguish things that are fascinating: there are innate, fascination is innate like you don’t choose what you’re fascinated by, you don’t choose to be fascinated by chocolate versus broccoli, it’s just your brain does it automatically, it’s innate, you were born with it, you can’t train yourself for it, this is something that gets under the very core of our humanness, it’s involuntary that we have this feeling that even though I know I should be doing my CPS or TPS report but instead I’m going to be checking out facebook and it’s instinctive, we all have these triggers in common so the fact that somebody was commenting they don’t know why they’re going over to this website and spending time and checking out a deal on a product they may never even buy but somehow they’re compelled that’s because that brand has very effectively activated the trigger, deep within you, that’s innate, involuntary and all the other things that differentiate fascinations for other messaging.
Andrew: I see, ok, so, if I wanted to use this on mixergy instead of announcing every single guest that I’ve got coming up into the future what I might want to do instead is say we’re going to have a mystery guest on Friday’s, every Friday will be somebody in the industry, you know the person but I’m not going to tell you who they are.
Interviewee: Yes, now you will be mixing, here is some example, you could take let’s go on a little more sophisticated you would be using mysteek if you said “I’m not going to tell you who it is on Friday”, you could be mixing the mysteek with prestige if you said “this is New York Times bestselling author, you own this book but I’m not going to tell you who it is”, you would be mixing mysteek with alarm if you said “I’m not going to tell you who it is and only the first one hundred applicants can get in”, in other words you’re putting the threat of negative consequences in with mysteek you would be using lust if you would say “I’m not going to tell you who it is but somebody is going to get a fly in, in person, to experience the eye contact and in person quality of getting to know this person”.
Andrew: I love it, I love how we can just take an idea, how YOU can take an idea and just apply all these techniques to it.
Interviewee: Can I pause there to say one thing? This is really where the trigger start becoming most practical on their applications instead of you’re trying to either brainstorm or develop a new type of messaging or twick any type of a message you can very, in a very literal way go through and start saying “How would we apply mysteek to our brand and our message” exactly the way you just did with mixergy and lairing in other triggers to see how you can begin to refine it and what it does is it opens up all of these options that speak to people in a really powerful visceral way that they cannot resist if you do it effectively, if you figured out which trigger combination is going to be most effective for your message and for your audience, what they need to hear it’s unbeatable.
Andrew: I see, you know what? I could see getting used it to brainstorm, I could see putting all set them up on the wall sitting down and saying “Ok, what’s the first one that we’re going to add to what we’re creating? What’s next one? How are we layered to know the third one in”
Interviewee: Yes, and like there are times when it will be appropriate for the mixergy, you keep your prestige very very high because people know there is going to be a certain level in terms of the production, in terms of the background research that you’ve done, in terms of the quality of the guest and the dialog. So the prestige is always going to be high, the lust is high in video versus text, because instead of doing a traditional QNA you do it all on video, in the way it’s produced is very visually pleasing, but you don’t necessarily use alarm, so that you might look at this and say “Ok, alarm is doorman, how could we turn that up a little bit? When it’s appropriate?” When you want to drag a lot of traffic very quickly to a very specific thing, that might be a time to introduce a trigger that you’re not using.
Andrew: I see, Andy Serera and the audience is saying that buying this book is incredible.
Interviewee: Andy, I love you!
Andrew: Al right, so, now when Anthony goes out and gets the book, and tries… Is it Anthony or Andy who said this? Sorry, Andy Dang is loving you and Anthony Serera are loving, they’re both loving the ideas here, thank you guys. I really love the feedback that I get during the interviews. Let’s say both, Andy and Anthony go out and they get a copy of the book each and they want to start these ideas and these triggers in their business, how many triggers can they add to a product? How many is too many? What’s reasonable to add?
Interviewee: That’s a great question, you should start small: nobody… more triggers is not better and overusing one trigger is not better, the trick is to very specifically define how you want take a trigger and apply it, because each trigger lists to different response. Power pushes others down.
Interviewee: …Power pushes others down. Prestige elevates you up. Alarm pushes them to act more quickly. Mystique pulls them towards you. Lust makes them want to interact with you. Vice makes them break their usual rule, so they’re going to do something that’s different then their habits or the way they were taught. By, say, if you’re competing against Kellogg’s or ATT &T or IBM, you must use lust, so if you’re not the category leader… excuse me, vice. If you’re not the category leader, you have to use vice, but when you can start to plot it out like that and in part three of the book I very specifically give exercises that show you, on a really hands-on nuts and bolts level, how you make this happen. Then you can begin to see that there are possibilities for your messaging that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
Andrew: All right, let’s go back to this, to the list. We talked about lust, we talked about alarm, but let’s spend a little more time on alarm. Is alarm just about having limited quantities and limited time?
Interviewee: No. No, that’s a great point. Alarm actually incites very positive action sometimes. Alarm is about… it’s a tread of negative consequences but it can drive very positive behavior. For example, the green movement was not effective and was not widely adopted until enough people saw An Inconvenient Truth, or saw what was happening at the gas pumps. or were reading enough in the news about the negative consequences of what was happening with fossil fuels, so that they began to adopt a new behavior. If you have a family history of a certain type of an illness, than you take preventative steps to stay out of the sun or have a healthier diet, in order to prevent that. So it’s… alarm is great in terms of lifestyle. For marketers though, alarm is when we say anything like raise your hand if you’re sure. If you don’t want to be unsure, of if you don’t want to have yellow teeth, or you don’t want to have bad breath, then you’re going to buy a product to solve the problem. So alarm products and companies that use alarm are all about solving a potential problem, whether the problem is real or imagined. Life insurance, or anything that has to do with protection, is all about alarm.
Andrew: Now, I notice that the logo on your website is a hogshead. It’s your last name, it helped me remember it, but beyond the memory aid, what’s the point in having a hogshead? How does that tie into, how does it use one of these triggers? Or does it?
Interviewee: Well, okay. I mean, can you imagine growing up with the last name Hogshead? I mean seriously, Hogshead? The head of a hog. People thought that is was a joke, they thought it was like a stage name. I was beat up on the playground like you wouldn’t believe. And finally my mom said to me, you know stop looking in the white pages to find the name of somebody that you can one day marry into, like Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones, and understand that when your name is different than anybody else’s name, and that’s what’s going to have people not only remember it but it’s going to start to mean something, and you create that meaning. And that’s really the essence of fascination, is that things that are fascinating are polarizing, they create advocates, they have strong and immediate reactions that they bring out in us, and then it’s okay to have something in fact often times necessary to be polarizing and not sit in the middle so that you can have a distinct and memorable perspective. So instead of changing my name like many other Hogsheads have done, wimps, I’ve leaned into it. And in fact my business card says, a hogshead is a barrel that holds 62 gallons. So what’s your last name, smartass?
Andrew: I saw that on your website, I really love that line. So, how are you polarizing? So far, the audience is loving you, I’m loving you, how are you polarizing? Or are you?
Interviewee: Well, polarization… first of all, we all believe in what I’m talking about, we all believe in this need to create powerful messages that people remember and act upon.
Andrew: Yeah, I can’t imagine anyone in the audience sitting there going, ‘I don’t want to be fascinating…!’
Interviewee: Right, right!
Andrew: …’This thing is a waste!’
Interviewee: Right! ‘Make me forgettable!’
Interviewee: ‘I want to be ignored, forgotten!’ Right. The ways in which I’m polarizing, for me, from my personal brent. In the book I outline six gold hallmarks of a fascinating person or brand or message. And the number one thing is to create a strong and immediate response. So people, it’s kind of a love it or hate it. The things, the people that we remember, that change our opinion, that get under our skin, and that make us not only remember them but remember the message that they’re trying to teach, tend to be very strong personalities. And for a long time in my career, I focused more on following the rules and I focused on doing what was right…
Interviewee: For a long time in my career I focused more on following the roles. I focused on doing what was right, playing to strengths, and not so much using my talents but using skills or using experience like a traditional resume and finally I realized, about three years ago, that the greatest successes in my personal career had not come out of my the times when I had followed the rules but the times that I had broken them and that’s when I began this quest of figuring out why are certain things fascinating and certain things aren’t. The other gold hallmarks of a fascinating brand include things that generate conversation, that it elicits conversation, we want to talk about them, we want to find out what other people think about them. They also create advocates that people want to follow and learn more. It might even be just that small sliver of the overall audience but as long as theres twenty percent, ten percent, two percent of the overall audience that is passionately dedicated to you and what you are doing then you have an advocate. Twitter’s a perfect example of this because if you have people that are willing to support you in the social media world and retweet you, then you are going to be more successful in that environment, as with any environment. Its not about being the lowest common denominator anymore, its about having a message that breaks through and makes people want to champion it.
Andrew: How are you breaking the rules now?
Interviewee: Right now in this interview?
Andrew: Well right now in this interview or now that you’ve discovered that your best successes have come when you’ve broken the rules. How are you doing it?
Interviewee: Well here is a micro example. I didn’t do a book tour, I didn’t go to a single book store and do signings. I did that with my first book Radical Careering and I loved doing it but instead decided to use social media by this conversation we’re having today. Instead of following the rules of publishing and going about it and going in a traditional way of going from city to city to city to city and talking to a hundred people, a hundred people, instead I am staying in my office and creating content and spending the focus on the message that I want to say instead of how I’m saying it.
Andrew: Can I tell you, it use to be really hard for me to get authors to come to interviews here. They would looking for the Today Show or they were looking for something that, I guess, was more…
Interviewee: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. It’s the question of mass media.
Interviewee: It’s do I want to be on the Today Show or do I want develop an app that is downloaded by ten million people and then they use every single day and they share it with other people. It’s a massive shift because we’re getting away from the traditional model. You remember before when we talked about New York Times and Encyclopedia Brittanica and now its Mixer G and Wikipedia? Its going from an authority establishment based model over to a fascination based model.
Andrew: Yeah, and so I think we’re still in that transition, at least for many authors, they are still looking for that main stream media hit, that’s where they want to do their interview, the whole idea of getting on Skype is a little frightening. What if we look behind, over your shoulder and say, “That’s were she’s living, that’s what she has over there?” She’s showing us a chair.
Interviewee: No, can I show you?
Andrew: Yeah, we’d love it!
Interviewee: Ok, so I wanted to make sure that we had a good broadband connection because normally I have wi-fi in my apartment. So I’m in my kid’s room right now and the reason I have this behind me is to hide the fact that I have, over here, I have my ironing board where I was literally ironing my shirt when you initially called me. It’s a much more real way of having a discussion.
Andrew: Oh, that’s great and guys, tell me if I’m wrong here, the connection today is fantastic. I wish everyone would just plug in, I plug in, you plugged in, the connection is fantastic, a couple of other guests have done that. Agreed says David. Pedro agrees, Anthony agree, Andy agrees and these are the people that if the internet connection stinks, its much worse for them than it is for me because I’m getting it on my screen and I am broadcasting it out to them. On behalf of all of them, I am saying thank you. What’s next? Prestige, here’s another one that feels a little out of reach for a new company, actually one that doesn’t have a ton of cash. How do you create prestige when your scrappy upstart?
Interviewee: Prestige is all about offering something other people can’t. I have something that’s valuable or I have done something or achieved something or I can offer a level of quality that no one else can. A lot of times an entrepreneurial start-up, the founder might have an MBA from Stanford or they may have experience working in Silicon Valley in a particular company or the company may have a lifetime guarantee on a product.
Interviewee: A lifetime guarantee on the product they are listing not only prestige, by giving away a promise that no one else can make, and weaving in trust with that. But they could also have…It’s a way of elevating within any group; whether it’s a peer group, a competitive set or a group of product offerings to elevate one above the others.
Andrew: Could you raise your camera a little bit? Ted is saying that your head is getting cut off in the video. And now just a little bit lower.
Interviewee: Do we get to limbo? [laugh]
Andrew: There you go.
Andrew: I take information in when its attached to an example. Do you have an example of a company doing prestige really well?
Interviewee: Let’s see. Online, a company with prestige is easy to track if somebody has prestige in social media because it’s so transparent on how many followers somebody has, how many likes a page has, how much commentary there is on a particular topic. That translates to prestige in the social media world. Because it’s prestigious to have Ashton Kutcher’s number of followers versus someone who just begins; it’s respected, it’s a symbol of rank. If you think about 300 years ago, symbols of rank used to include: a family crest, or away of wearing the hair, or a certain style of shoe because not everyone could have it, only a few people could have it. Now, with my six year old, it’s all about who has a certain Pokemon card, or who can get to a certain level of play in a video game. In social media, prestige is very important because we associate somebody’s rank on the ad age rank number blank of this blog or Mr. Tweet sends you a notice ‘You’ve reached 10,000 followers, congratulations!’ or ‘I endorse this person on Twitter.’ All of those are emblems of prestige.
Andrew: I have to say, I think to some degree, we do it well here on mixergy I get e-mail back from people, after I do an interview with them who say, ‘Wow it just feels great to be on the same website as: and then they list, Jim Wales who is up at the top of the page, and then Paul Graham and the others. I think people assume I put those pictures up there because I want to get the click through. I don’t care about the click through. I just want the potential guests and the past guests to come on the website and say ‘Ah, I know these guys, these are guys who are only interviewed by the top or they make decisions that I admire. If they decided to do an interview with Andrew, I’m really going to be proud to be associated with Andrew.
Interviewee: That’s a great example of prestige. Those are badges that indicate that you are not like every other blog invitation. I think it’s something crazy like a 130,000 people view your interviews. I mean, that’s tremendous prestige in the online world because it means that you have the poser to offer something that not everybody else can. Speaking of power, that gives you the ability to entice a certain quality of guest, which perpetuates the prestige of the site.
Andrew: Another example that I saw of somebody doing this really well is: there is a company that came into Los Angeles (and Los Angeles is a tough area to break in) and the start up world in Los Angeles, I think, is starting to get loud. What these guys decided to do was organize their own event, have only ten people come out to dinner, just do dinner, not do 100 people for a big event. And then it’s who they selected for the dinner, how they get to sit next to each other…You know what actually, there’s an example of somebody I can mention. I didn’t think I could mention the person who put that dinner together, but Peter Fam. I did an interview with him he used to have these dinners in LA, maybe 15 people. He’d invite the most interesting entrepreneurs, the guys who really had something big going on, he invited the venture capitalists, he invited a couple of other people. And if you listen to that interview you can see why he was able to make so many contacts. He really created a prestigious event.
Interviewee: That’s a great example Andrew. Like TED, TED is the most prestigious place for a speaker to attend, or even get an invitation to attend.
Andrew: Yeah, TED feels a little out of reach. I always go for the smaller examples because I feel like…
Interviewee: It’s FedEx [interrupts]
Andrew: If they can do it I can do it. But I think you’re right, I should be thinking more about the big sized events like TED. How do you create something that prestigious, that big, that earth changing? Finally vice, you said vice is your personal favorite earlier. Why?
Interviewee: Vice is so essential for standing out in a world in which you don’t have the biggest budget. If you’re already the category leader, you don’t need to use vice…
Interviewee: Vice is so essential for standing out in the World and which you don’t have the biggest budget. If you’re already a category leader, you don’t need to use Vice, because what you’re trying to do is to perpetuate people’s habit. You don’t need to create or change a new style of thinking. What you need to do is just keep people in grain and bind there from the same place, reaching for the same cereal box of corn flakes that they always have or just reinstating their same phone plan. Vice comes in when we want to get people to look at the other side of how something could go, to look at other possibilities to say, over here, come on, I want to take you away from what you been doing and bring you where we were you could be doing, so emerging technologies use Vice. Anytime there’s a new type of plan that breaks with convention or breaks expectation or introduces a new pricing model. All of these rests in the same instate of triggers that costs us to want to order two desserts or do something we totally shouldn’t, or, you know, it’s like a bicyc, ok, here’s a box, don’t look in here, whatever you do, don’t, there’s a picture, that’s all of we can show you, that kind of curiosity that is brough out in you in a mystery of what’s in the box but also the fact that I said “don’t do it” makes you want to do it more.
Andrew: Ok. Actually I have one other point that we didn’t talk about, we kind of did, we talked about trust a little bit. So tell you what, we now talked about how to use this in business. You did treat me earlier onward and you’ve said that why don’t we talk also about how these can work with families and friendships, I think it’s being interesting to see how can you use these kind persuasions technics, these persuasions triggers with friendships, with interpersonal relationships.
Interviewee: Well, can I get you a personal example from the airline? Ok. My daughter hates vegetables, really not eat vegetables. How may I use the seven triggers to get her to eat vegetables? I could use Lust by taking visible, let say we’re using brussels sprouts. Well what’s your least favourite vegetable, Andrew?
Andrew: I can’t think of one, I love vegetables.
Interviewee: Ok, we’re going on with brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are the opposite of the crowd.
Andrew: I eat brussels sprouts right out of the trigger hill’s bag.
Interviewee: You do?
Andrew: Well, ya, absolutely. I won’t bring that into a movie theatre if I can. Lets, you know what, the audience can identify with me and not feeling any dense we packing upto.
Interviewee: Oh, that’s awesome.
Andrew: Let’s suppose that Anne doesn’t like brussels sprouts. How would you…
Interviewee: Ok, first, I need a hurky web with the alliance, but, so I might use Lust by using brussels sprouts and I would steam them so that they would be really green and beautiful, and I might arrange them on a plate in a way that’s kind of fun and makes her want to interactive and I might use some cheese sause, so that there’s some other elements that’s making her desire to eat those. I might use Prestige by putting her in a competition against her brother, by saying, “I wonder who can eat the most brussels sprouts”. I might use Alarm by saying, “if you don’t eat those brussels sprouts and in the next five minutes and you’re going to bed without supper”, and I might use Trust by saying, “if you eat those brussels sprouts, I’ll read your favourite book to you before you go to bed, the one that we’ve read for every night for two years.” I might use Vice by saying, “You can’t have any brussels sprouts, I’m going to eat all of brussels sprouts.” So you can start to see that you can take these principles, and we use them all the time, everyday. You’re using all seven triggers, everyday, all the time, without realising it. The question is, can you start to do it in a more practise, intentional way, when you want to get a certain type of response, when you want to create a specific behaviour.
Andrew: Yeh, I’d like to be able to use these, almost to just, to call it out as a skill, just to be able to call on it’s as a skill and be able to use it in life and in business.
Interviewee: We hold on our command to that? The trick here is not even so much, it’s making something we’re already doing, something we’re already born with. This is an amazing God-given set of tools that you have, and figuring out how can you dig where you’re already doing and doing it intentionally, so that you can have better relationships, some better communications. It’s not just about marketing, it’s also about having the recognitions, because when people are fascinated, they feel connected to you. Their barriers are lowered, they’re less resistance, they’re less cynical, they’re less distrustful, they allow you to merge with them, that’s because they have a feeling of falling in love. You know fall in love is when somebody feels like you are one, there’s something essentially connected there that goes so far beyond the world goes, it has to do with a believe system whether it lasts for ten minutes or it lasts for fifty years wedding anniversary. That’s really what we’ve talking about, he has the ability to do that at will, instead of having to be a happy accident.
Interviewee: …50 year wedding anniversary. That’s really what we are talking about here. It’s the ability to do that at will instead of having it be a happy accident.
Andrew: That’s what I meant, yes. I would like to create all those feelings that you just described there at will and not just have it be an accident. And have it happen…
Interviewee: Right, right.
Andrew: …in situations that I care about, and not just in whatever situations happen to, that create those feelings.
Andrew: Don’t you guys…?
Interviewee: Yes, because business and… business is artificial. I mean, it, the business world, it’s almost easy to apply it there. The bigger question is how can we take these natural strengths that we have, figure out which ones we’re already using, which ones speak to our natural strengths and use them more, which is why I developed the “X4” [sp] personality test.
Andrew: I just brought that up on my screen. What is the “X “…? By the way, before we go into that, Ted here in the audience is saying “No offense, but I don’t think she needs Andrew for this interview today.” All right, I agree. There is some [xx]…
Andrew: …I really, really have to work to bring any information out of and to bring any energy out of, and at the end of the interview I sometimes wish I could just delete it. And then there is like, you, who, I could just sit back here, have my [xx] latte [?], and understand that you’re going to treat my audience well, you’re going to give us good information we can use, and you’re going to do it in a way that’s engaging. So, Ted, I’m not offended by that. The truth is the truth. Okay, so what is this “X4”?
Interviewee: This concept of “fascination“, I spent all this time figuring out “How does it apply in business?” and in the “corporate world“. But really it comes down to something that is much more personal than that.
In your personality, if you think about, if you think of each trigger as “beakers” in a chemistry set, if you think of, there’s a chemistry set in front of you, and you have a beaker of “ lust”, and a beaker of “trust”, and a beaker of “vice”, and so on. And some of those beakers are going to be very full, and some of them are going to be very empty. I wanted to give people a way to measure: How full are your different beakers?; What are your ratios of the triggers that you just naturally use? When you’re being yourself, when you’re being your most persuasive, which triggers do you use?
And so we did a study of 1,000 people around the country and wanted to find out how people respond to certain triggers, how they feel when they are using those triggers, and which ones they respond to. And we boiled it down to a very simple test, it’s only 28 questions, only takes about five minutes to do, and this personality test helps you figure out which triggers you’re using when you’re being your most persuasive, and which ones you’re the least likely to use, which is not saying that you should use those, just that it’s good to know which ones are dormant within your personality.
Andrew: Yes, and I took this test before the interview, it’s a very easy test.
Interviewee: [xx] Can I take [?], can I, can I guess?
Andrew: Yes, actually, absolutely.
Interviewee: Can I guess? Okay.
Andrew: But before you do, I was going to ask: Where can people see the test? But Sarah in the audience apparently found the link. It’s on sallyhogshead.com. If you go to sallyhogshead.com you’ll see the link on the page. But she’s linking to the specific page sallyhogshead.com/f-score-personality-test. You don’t even need it. Sarah, if, thank you for the link, all you need to do is go to sallyhogshead.com.
Interviewee: Thank you Sarah!
Andrew: Thanks Sarah!
Interviewee: Yes, props to Sarah because she’s the first woman that we’ve talked to, that we’ve heard from today.
Interviewee: So I’m sending you a “woo hoo”. It’s, yes sallyhogshead.com/f-score is the abbreviated URL. So, on this test, when you [xx], as your are doing the test, the test asks you questions about how you interact with other people, how you’re likely to behave, how you make decisions, how you affect other people’s personalities, and we’ve been culling the test down to the most powerful questions. And what we’ve found…
Andrew: [xx] in the audience, do you want to take a guess, you’ve known me for a long time, do you want to guess which of the triggers is the one that I’ve got a full beaker of? And Sally, you and I now have known each other for an hour, what do you…
Interviewee: That’s right.
Andrew: [xx] one?
Interviewee: I’m going to guess it’s power, prestige. But I also think you have some vice because you think things from a very power intuitive perspective a lot. And you are unafraid to put yourself out there in a way that brings a… you don’t shy away from a conflicting perspective. You draw things out of other people. But I also think there’s a little bit of lust in there. What [?] I don’t see as much are the alarm triggers and I would guess that trust might your dormant trigger, not because you’re untrustworthy but because you don’t give in to ruts, you don’t do the same exact thing over and over. Again.
Andrew: All right, yes you’re right. Trust wasn’t in there. Apparently I’m untrustworthy people. But…
Interviewee: [laughs] Please can I say this? Trust is the most difficult, the most rare trigger to earn. Because for personalities it’s incredibly difficult to behave the same way over and over again, to earn the consistency. People with trust are like the “Golden Labs” of human beings. Trust is the most common dormant trigger, meaning the most people use the least trust. Because we, especially people who are online who use social media…
Interviewee: …who use social media and are taking the test tend to not be people who pride themselves on being predictable. So what else?
Andrew: So Mike B. is saying vice. Andy Dang is saying prestige but the answer is what you said which is power. That would be the primary trigger.
Interviewee: What was your secondary?
Andrew: Secondary is vice.
Interviewee: I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.
Andrew: [unintelligible] rebellious [unintelligible]
Interviewee: Yea! You want to know the secret? I’m power vice too, dormant trust. So you and I have the same combination.
Andrew: So what’s your number one?
Interviewee: I’m power for primary.
Andrew: Oh. Oh, power vice.
Interviewee: Power vice. That’s what I’m saying dude.
Andrew: Look at that.
Interviewee: I’m like, mono y mono.
Andrew: What is your, let’s see, what is that last one, the dormant trigger for you is what?
Interviewee: Dormant is trust and here’s the thing to note, that’s not a common combination. The reason why I anticipated that that might be yours is because there are certain personality – once you understand somebody’s F score, it tells you so much about that person. There’s not one combination that is better than any other combination. There’s nothing good or bad about a certain combination, but if somebody has a, say, a mystique vice combination that would be somebody that plays everything very close. They don’t give away a lot. They are not going to be the one to announce themselves at a party and if they break the rules, they’re not going to let anybody else know that they’re doing it. As opposed to power vice is going to use the fact that they’re tweaking a norm to become more powerful and to use that for authority and control.
Andrew: Yeah. If I’m at a party, everyone’s going to know that I’m at the party so I cannot … mystique. My dormant trigger is alarm. All right. Let me suggest this, guys. If you’re listening to us, go check out this test. Take the test. I just told you what my triggers are. Tell me what yours are. If you email me your triggers – and we’ll keep this all private – if you email me your triggers, I will email you my trigger and we’ll do it for a limited time because I don’t want to get involved with people coming back a year later asking me for my triggers. Let’s say a week after I post this is the deadline. So do it. I’ll email you all the information about me. You’ll really get to know me and I’ll find out who’s in my audience.
Interviewee: Nice. Wait. I have an idea. I have an idea. I have an idea. OK.
Interviewee: Can we create a specific code? In fact, let’s just make it, let’s just make, we’ll make the code Andrew. We will set it up. I will set it up immediately after this call. If we put, if people put the code Andrew in there, then what that means is that all of your listeners results will be aggregated in one place and we’ll be able to a detailed analysis that we can give to you that you can post to demonstrate how your listeners’ triggers are different than the norm. Like, for example, I do this when I speak at conferences and I just spoke at a conference. I think it was 28% of them had lust as their number one trigger. Well, next week I’m speaking to a group of attorneys. For them, lust is their dormant trigger; they’re all about power prestige, which makes sense right? Lust is all about emotion and passion and intuition and right brain thinking. Power prestige is more about a rational, right or wrong type of thinking. So it would be very interesting to see what your group comes up with.
Andrew: I see and you’ll be able to tell me and then I can tell them.
Interviewee: Exactly. And it will graphically be broken out.
Andrew: OK. Will you tell it to them at the end of the taking the test or do I have to email it to them?
Interviewee: They’ll be able to find out their own results at the end of the test. If they want to get what are called advanced results, which means they get these cool little graphic pie charts of exactly how their results compared to the overall group of participants, they can get that but they won’t be able to see what their breakdown is compared to, within their own Andrew group.
Andrew: OK. Ted is asking where does the code go? It goes at the last page. By the way, they don’t –
Interviewee: I don’t have, I haven’t put in the code yet.
Andrew: Oh sorry. She hasn’t put it in so guys, wait until after the interview is done if you’re doing it live. I don’t think I need to say this but I’m going to say it. There’s no affiliate program attached to this. There’s no benefit to me attached to this.
Interviewee: No. It’s totally free.
Andrew: I’m just saying let’s try this for fun and here’s what I will do. If you take the test and you email me your results – we can do it quietly by email – I will email you back my results and once I figure out what my audience is like, I will tell you how crazy, alarming, or power hungry or how mystique hungry my audience is. So try it. You can email it to me. My email address is right on the website. She’s actually Blackberrying to get Andrew as a code up there now. But wait for a little bit so we can get it on there. Oh she’s iPhoneing it. All right, so, it’s just SallyHogsHead.com. Take that test. Send me the results. I will send you my results. We will compare. We will find out what the audience is like and I will tell you about my audience. Sally thanks for doing Mixergy. Thanks for coming on here.
Interviewee: Thank you. Thank you. This has been so fun.
Interviewee: …so fun, I love it. I love my [inaudible] spicer [?]…
Andrew: Yeah, this has really been a lot of fun. All right, Sally and I are going to be doing an interview a week for the next year. We’re going to be building up an audience through Intrigue. We will just be revealing, just sending out questions and revealing answers at the end. If you guys want to sponsor and put an ad in between that little period of mystique wonder, talk to me.
All right, that’s not happening. So for now if you want to check out Sally, get the book, it is…let me make sure I’m reading it exactly right because I copied it wrong before, it’s Fascinate — Your Seven Triggers To Persuasion and Captivation and the website is Sallyhogshead.com.
All right, thank you all for watching. I’m Andrew. See you on the website.
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