How to be Fascinating – Sally Hogshead

Think of a brand to which you are loyal, or better yet, for which you are an advocate.  Toilet paper, automobile make, shampoo, yogurt… etc.  Why are you fascinated by this brand’s advertising or image?

I just listened to Wayne Hurlbert’s Blog Business Success May 7, 2010 podcast, in which he interviewed Sally Hogshead. It only took about twenty minutes of listening for me to be not only fascinated by her work, but eager to share the revelations with others. Hogshead’s book, Fascinate, is based on three years of researching thousands of people to find out what makes a person or a brand fascinating. People who work in marketing will find her ideas useful because consumers have what Hogshead accurately pegs, “the attention span of a goldfish.”

The premise of the F Score Test is that you are fascinating, but how?  Hogshead has identified seven universal Triggers of fascination: sally hogshead with Fascinate book cover

  • Power- Why we focus on people and things that control us
  • Lust- Why we’re seduced by the anticipation of pleasure
  • Mystique- Why we are intrigued by unanswered questions
  • Prestige- Why we fixate on rank and respect
  • Alarm- Why we take action at the threat of negative consequences
  • Vice- Why we’re tempted by “forbidden fruit”
  • Trust- Why we’re loyal to reliable options

Note: Fascination is not synonymous with respect, popularity, reverence, or even liking.  Fascination is just about captivation and not being able to ignore the subject.  We each have a primary, secondary, and dormant trigger we project to the world everyday.

What fascinates Chris Brogan?

Hogshead gives corporate brand examples in her interview with Zane Safrit:

Brand: Godiva

Primary trigger: Lust

Godiva. We developed a drink called Chocolixier. There was a whole sensory experience that lets the consumer relate.

Apple does this as well. You are able to be a part of the brand. It is about an openness and availability. You create a space where people want to draw closer. Brands are incorporating more of the Lust trigger.

I took the test and so enjoyed reading my results… incredibly accurate. I recommend at least taking the free 28 question online test on her site. Very quick and so useful. The results identify how you fascinate others (when you do fascinate them) and what you might do to round out your fascinating self (I.e., activating your dormant trigger. Mine happens to be mystique- so I would do well to hold back some information now and again.)

About Hogshead: Sally’s work and insights have been profiled by The New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC. She’s been described by the press as “intrepid” and an “advertising mastermind…” And I love this: When not writing and speaking, Sally campaigns to bring back the ‘hogshead’ as a unit of popular measurement in the U.S.” (A hogshead is a barrel that holds 62 gallons.)

Cheating Husband Trend: My Theory

Lately, left and right we are hearing about yet another famous man/s infidelity. Politicans, athletes, celebrities… We are just inundated. It is sublimely depressing. Here’s a great blog post by Alanna Glicksman which sums up recent celeb betrayals. I’ll save space and skip over the politicos and the ballers: we’re all familiar.

Maybe monogamy is unnatural for humans.  Interesting Wendy Walsh momlogic article states that:

“Cheating husbands are not be a new trend. After all, we are a primate society with what anthropologists like to call “perceived monogamy.” Today 65% of marriages break up because of an extra-marital affair. Despite the sexual revolution and the reduction of the “double standard,” more men still cheat than women. Now science shows us why this gender imbalance has existed for thousands of years.

First, there could be a genetic link. Swedish researchers recently identified an “infidelity gene,” which is present in four of 10 men.”

(Another issue to discuss another day.) However, marriage is a contract and sadly, a failing institution. Evolutionary tendencies may be strong but we override them all the time, so that innate wandering eye/differential parental investment excuse does not stand. And funnily enough, this sacred institution is still one only available to straight people, most of whom can’t seem to stay married! Ain’t it grand. Anyway my beloved Tina Fey recently reacted with this SNL bit (NBC video will not embed).

It’s funny of course. But I have to wonder why women are still blaming other women. Tina starts by naming women politicians and astronauts, clearly lauding women’s progress. But she falls into the same pattern of our gender’s self-defeating style. As far as culpability, the mistress is irrelevant, frankly. Homewreckers are hated indeed, and great fodder for comedy. But one must ask, why don’t we talk about male homewreckers? The men with whom wives cheat on their husbands? Is it less common or less destructive? I beg this question, and please comment with your thoughts.

Bombshell McGee is too easy a target. I mean…:

Perhaps the actuality of rampant infidelity is too awful to make real jokes about. So the butt of the joke is the outrageous mistress, and we haven’t really mocked Jesse James at all. My theory: There is something comforting about mocking this counter culture Kat Von D lookalike, because it creates that warm fuzzy us-and-them dichotomy. And if we can only hold on to that, this infidelity thing is easier to swallow because something is still sacred about the status quo. If it’s Bombshell’s fault for being ridiculous, no one has to deal with the reality that “normal” or seemingly good husbands choose to have sex with reps for the alt lifestyle.  (Although, if Bombshell really is a Nazi chick, the tatted vegan hXc feminist baker/blogger/photographer thing doesn’t really apply here…)  Essentially, Bombshell was not under a contract (James was).

Related: Nike’s recent Tiger Woods ad is another piece to ponder. I’ve already tweeted about it but wanted to repost because I am still analyzing it. Frankly, the media offers no solace or sardonic humor that would artfully rebuke the deserving, truly culpable parties- the married infidels.  Can’t they do any better?  Or do they purposely write for an unintelligent audience (understandable since news is a business)?  For those who have not yet seen it:

Etsy in 1847- Pioneer of Ephemera, Esther Howland

Hats off to Esther Howland, early artist and businesswoman.  We can thank her for Valentines cards, and in general for all Hallmark cards I’d say…

Ephemera that contests its name!

Esther Howland (1828 – 1904)  She from graduated Mount Holyoke College in 1847 at the mere age of 19. Howland received an ornate Valentine from an English business associate of her father.  She saw a lucrative idea behind it and began to create and market her own brand of Valentine’s Day greeting cards.  Soon her business was thriving in Worcester, MA.  She sold it in 1881.  Female entreprenurial spirit ahead of its time- awesome.  Happy Valentines Day, Esther!

An Esther Howland Original
Handmade valentine by Etsy seller artzink

If you dislike the Hallmark nature of this holiday, I agree- mass produced is boring and lame.  So keep supporting the unique and handmade by purchasing future cards and stationary from small businesses and Etsy sellers!

Marketing and Digital