Fixated on Fascination

Discovering how you fascinate others can lead to more effective and persuasive communication.

May 11, 2012

Fascination isn’t something you obtain, it’s something you tap into, says science-based marketer and brand guru Sally Hogshead.

Hogshead—who will deliver a keynote speech at CUNA’s America’s Credit Union Conference, June 17-20 in San Diego—is an international speaker and the author of “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.”

During her presentation, Hogshead will help reveal people’s innate fascination triggers through her Fascination Advantage test.

The test, normally $17, will be provided free to conference attendees. Attendees are encouraged to fill out the test before Hogshead’s speech.

Hogshead recently told Credit Union Magazine what’s so fascinating about fascination, discussed the seven triggers of fascination—power, passion, mystique, prestige, alarm, rebellion, and trust—and what credit unions can learn from Jägermeister liqueur.

CU Mag: Tell me about fascination. What’s fascinating about fascination?

Hogshead: Fascination is an intense emotional focus. When you are fascinated by something you are completely immersed in it. You’re mesmerized by it.

We know this feeling when we’re reading a book and we are so captivated by the story and the characters that we stop thinking about everything else around us.

But more importantly, we know this feeling in life when we are captivated by a speaker, a co-worker, or by somebody that is giving a presentation.

We can create these moments of fascination voluntarily, and we can control the way the brain is hardwired to respond and use that to communicate, not only more effectively but more persuasively.

CU Mag: How can CUs—institutions that project stability and have long-term relationships with members—maintain fascination over time?

Hogshead: In order to fascinate people over time you have to be fascinating more than once.

It is about using the trust trigger. The trust trigger is founded on consistency, reliability, and patterns. The more we can build patterns, the more people can deepen their relationship to us—and continue to be fascinated, not just once, but build that thing called loyalty.

It’s about making sure people know exactly what you are going to deliver, and delivering that in a way that they don't even need to think about it. Because we live in a world that is chaotic and overwhelming, and there is something that feels really good about knowing exactly what we are going to get.

The downside to the trust trigger and sturdiness is that they can become boring. We have to constantly inject other triggers like passion, rebellion, prestige, or mystique to sustain attraction.

NEXT: How can fascination work for a business?

CU Mag: How can fascination work for a business?

Hogshead: We all know about great brands. We know that Apple uses the rebellion trigger because it’s innovative. We know that Starbucks uses the passion trigger because it focuses on the sensory aspect of the environment.

But let me talk about a different brand—Jägermeister liqueur.

Nobody likes the drink, but people love the brand because it is polarizing. It creates an experience.

When people go out, they want to order Jägermeister when they’re ready to dial up an experience. The lesson a financial institution can learn from Jägermeister is this: It’s not just about being the best.

It’s about giving something to your customers that is inimitable; something they can hold onto and share with other people—just like the guy who raises his hand at 2 a.m. and says, “Let’s do a round of Jägermeister.”

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineIn the same way, a financial institution can create strong and immediate emotional reactions by standing out, by taking a stand, and by carving out a different space. By doing that you don’t have to spend as much time on marketing because you’re distinct and you stand for a set of values.

CU Mag: What do you hope people will take away from your presentation?

Hogshead: That if you don't learn how to be fascinating, you unlearn how to be boring.

Every person who’ll be in the audience at this event, and every person on the planet, was born with certain hardwired strengths in their personality. I call this the fascination advantage.

When you understand how you’re naturally fascinating to other people, you don’t have to artificially bolt it on. It’s not about personal branding. It’s about taking who you already are and applying that in your work, in your meetings with your coworkers, your boss, and your customers.

You can use it when you write an email to try to persuade somebody to come to a meeting, when you’re trying to get people involved in a cause, or when you want to get your kids’ attention over the television and Nintendo.

We all have a fascination advantage, but if we don't identify it we can’t use it. So I will be sharing with people what their fascination advantage means, and they will have the opportunity to take a test before they come to presentation that will help them do that.

“Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” has been praised by thought leaders such as Seth Godin and Tom Peters. Hogshead will address the America's Credit Union Conference in June.