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Entrepreneurs
Business Observer Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 6 years ago

Mesmerizing Appeal

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The company with the biggest budget won't win the battle for the best brand. The champ instead will be the firm that delivers the most memorable experience.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

National marketing guru Sally Hogshead — she swears that's her real last name — has a message for any executive who seeks to increase sales: Forget about being well-liked and focus on being well-known.

It's one of a few key themes Hogshead says can separate a business from its competition. “It doesn't matter if you're the best if no one cares,” says Hogshead, a speaker and brand consultant whose clients have included Coca-Cola, Nike and BMW. “The question isn't just can you be good. The question is, can you be known?”

Adds Hogshead: “If you're not creating a negative reaction from somebody, you probably aren't fascinating anybody.”

Fascination brought Orlando-based Hogshead to the Sarasota-Manatee area for a recent presentation sponsored by the American Advertising Federation of the Suncoast. Titled “How to Fascinate in the First Nine Seconds,” it's a riff on her book, “Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.”

Hogshead says that whatever task an executive or entrepreneur undertakes, from sales calls to motivating employees, there's a science-based system of influence behind it. Hogshead calls that system the Fascinate Advantage, or F-Score, a proprietary test and research program that's about how the world sees you, not how you see the world.

From there, Hogshead, a Jacksonville native, developed a list of what she calls seven fascination triggers. Using those triggers correctly, she says, is the most powerful way to influence decision making — more powerful than marketing, advertising or a branding campaign.

Here's a glimpse into Hogshead's seven fascination triggers.

• Passion: This is someone who attracts through emotion. “Process,” says Hogshead, “is more important than the result” for someone who displays the passion trigger;

• Mystique: A person with mystique seeks to deliver constant results while inspiring curiosity;

• Trust: This person builds relationships with consistency and stability. Most teams within companies, says Hogshead, need a person with the trust trigger;

• Prestige: The personality traits of the prestige trigger revolve around someone who is both well groomed and hard to please. “They are known to make a great first impression,” says Hogshead. The person with prestige earns respect with higher standards and performance;

• Power: The power trigger is a person who is a natural born leader, someone who can guide and control with ease;

• Alarm: Hogshead says if you want certainty, or near-certainty, that a project will be done on time, correct and under budget, then you need someone with the alarm trigger on your team. This person “prompts action with urgency and negative consequences,” according to the Fascinate Advantage;

• Rebellion: A person with the rebellion trigger is someone who can surprise with creativity and non-traditional ideas. This trigger, says Hogshead, is also marked by an “innovator who sees things the way they should be, not the way they are.”

Fast Fascination

Orlando-based branding consultant Sally Hogshead preaches the idea that because most people have an attention span of nine seconds, the first impression must be both fast and fascinating.

She practices the idea, too. Take her business card. It reads: “Sally Hogshead. A hogshead is a barrel that holds 62 gallons. So what's your name, smartass?”

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