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#SEJBookClub: 4 Lessons in Brand Building From Sally Hogshead’s ‘Fascinate’

4 Lessons From Sally Hogshead's 'Fascinate' | SEJ

Want to see what other books SEJ has covered? Read our other reviews in the SEJ Book Club archive.

For this month’s book club, I chose Sally Hogshead’s book ‘Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation’ (affiliate link). Coincidentally, I chose this book several months ago and only realized she was set to speak at Copyblogger’s Authority Rainmaker 2015 conference when I arrived in Denver two weeks ago!

So, I had the opportunity to not only see her speak, but also to read her book. (You can read my coverage of her presentation here.) If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, you should. Sally is an entertaining speaker!

What is Fascination?Capture

According to Webster’s Dictionary, fascination is “…the exercise of powerful or irresistible influence on the affections or passions; unseen, inexplicable influence.”

But, according to Sally, it is a tool “born from a natural instinct to influence the behavior of others.”

Here are my favorite take aways from her book on the topic.

People Will Pay More to Be Fascinating

Too often, brands spend the bulk of their marketing talking about what their product can do. According to Sally, people are willing to pay more (almost a week’s salary!) to feel like they are the most fascinating person in the room. Which means you should stop telling people what your product does, and instead tell them how your product will make them look.

Make the Unfascinating Fascinating

According to Sally, “When consumers buy a certain brand, they’re often not paying for the utility of the item. What they’re actually buying is the trigger.” Sally discusses the example of sunglasses. When given the option of a plain pair of sunglasses versus a pair with the iconic Chanel symbol, people were willing to pay up to 50% more for the brand name sunglasses.

Why? Because of the prestige trigger – the Chanel brand triggers feelings of respect. That respect is what customers are really purchasing. Using the seven triggers Sally defines in her book helps you discover how to make your brand more fascinating.

Sometimes Less is More

It makes sense that the more information we give about our brand, the better it will do, right? In the age of information, it is easy to assume consumers want to know more. But that is not always the case, according to the mystique trigger. One of my favorite examples in the book involved Jager – the gross tasting German liqueur that randomly become popular on college campuses across the nation.

In fact, the company has boasted a continuous 40% year over year growth since 1985. Why? Sally traces the popularity to an article calling Jager “Liquid Valium” in New Orleans. Soon, college student were bringing bottles of the stuff home from New Orleans, and Jager became the brand everyone loved to hate. Theories abound as to what is in the stuff, but the truth is, Jager has never shared their recipe. This is a company that managed to strike the perfect balance between divulging and being mysterious.

The Popularity Of Risk-Taking

Most of us are familiar with the fight-or-flight mentality; when presented with a risk humans are programmed to either stay and fight or flee. In the section on the ‘Alarm’ trigger, Sally states this same trigger can be a powerful marketing tool – if you focus on the most feared crisis.

The most interesting part of this section is that sometimes what we think is the worst outcome – for example, showing teens graphic photos to dissuade drinking and driving – is not what our audience most fears. It turns out that teens fear losing their license more than dying (due to those fun teen hormones that convinced us all we were immortal at that age).

What are your thoughts on Sally’s book and the idea of the seven fascination triggers? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Next Month’s Book

SEJ Book Club June

Next month, Executive Editor Kelsey Jones will be reading and discussing Tim Ferris’ “4 Hour Work Week”. (affiliate link)

Feel free to pick a copy from Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library and read along with us – we’re looking forward to a great discussion!

Want to see what the SEJ Book Club has read or is planning on reading next? Check out our GoodReads profile.


This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Category News
Danielle Antosz

Danielle is the former Features Editor for Search Engine Journal and the producer of SEJ Marketing Nerds podcast. She lives ...

#SEJBookClub: 4 Lessons in Brand Building From Sally Hogshead’s ‘Fascinate’

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