Sally Hogshead is an author, speaker and consultant whose specialty is finding the best approach to anything. She can tell you how to sell more units, engage more potential consumers, get invited to cooler parties. That sounds like a wide stretch, but at its core, branding– from the marketing campaigns of the biggest multinational companies to the seemingly innocuous lipstick choices of the single girl on a manhunt– is based on targeting the same essential human emotions. In Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, Hogshead breaks it all down in a style that is both informative and highly entertaining. Her sense of humor is pervasive, like the college friend you love because she will call you on your bullshit and make you own up to it. She's smart, she's funny, AND she can see right through you. (Yikes!)
I'm not a gigantic fan of marketing books or business books, in general, due to a math block that stops my brain from working whenever money or statistics take center stage. Fascinate isn't all case studies and bar graphs, thankfully. Hogshead uses storytelling, charm and dry wit to delineate her seven core Fascination triggers (Lust, Mystique, Alarm, Prestige, Power, Vice, Trust) in an engaging signature style that makes it as fun and compelling to read as a Cosmo quiz…albeit one with some serious business chops. This book reads conversationally, like Freakanomics or any of Malcolm Gladwell's best-sellers, because it's just as much about humanism and cultural anthropology as it is about money or business. Hogshead believes that we, as a culture, have moved swiftly from the Information Age into the Fascination Age, on a personal and professional level. "Information is no longer hard to find," she writes, "Search engines changed all that. Now, data are a commodity. What's scarce? Complete focus. Information isn't power– the ability to fascinate is power." Obviously, we all have some serious work to do in order to remain fascinating and persuasive. And, indeed, relevant at all.
Learning how to balance your Fascination triggers and utilize them in different contexts can make you incredibly persuasive. Dabblers in astrology and pop psychology as well as devotees of Briggs Myers and Jungian personality tests will certainly want to take Hogshead's F-Score brand personality test to see where they fall in the Fascination spectrum. When you take the F-Score test, you receive your results in an email with the suggestion that "Once you understand your own unique combination of personality strengths, you can start to create more influential ideas and messages." Being a Scorpio who likes to cover my bases, I took the test and met my triggers: Rebellion and Passion were my primary and secondary and Alarm was my dormant trigger. Umm, yeah, sounds about right.
Figuring out what makes you tick ostensibly helps you to understand what you're projecting onto the universe. It makes you a better marketer/salesperson/human being to get your Fascination triggers aligned. As Hogshead writes, "…fascination has little to do with what you say, and everything to do with what you inspire others to say about your message. Fascinating people, like fascinating companies, don't try to explain why they're fascinating." Indubitably, but I do feel compelled to share this additional insight that she shared with me regarding my F-Score:
Oooooh I have to admit, I do love the Rebellion/Passion combo! Our teams calls this "The Creativity Igniter." You're innovative, irreverent, and love to tweak the rules.
You bring tremendous energy to the things that matter most to you, which makes you immediately fascinating to others. Some people might even have trouble keeping up with your big mental leaps, because you so quickly conceptualize things before more others can connect the dots.
And though you get bored quickly, you know how to stir up just enough trouble to keep things interesting.
Wouldn't you love to be described thusly? Take Hogshead's F-Score test and let me know what your triggers are in the comments below. I'm curious to see how all my friends stack up, aren't you? If you've read Fascinate, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that I received a stipend to purchase the book and facilitate this review. As usual, though, all thoughts are my own. I'd like to mention this chestnut that Hogshead offers up about the prestige trigger: "The word "classy" isnt when it's spelled with a k." Oh, and the Human League song totally fits, right?