Fascinate Your Way to Brand & Business Building

Fascination is the most powerful way to influence decision making. It’s more persuasive than marketing, advertising or any other form of communication. And it all starts with seven universal triggers: lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice and trust.

Macali Enterprise article imageIn fact, fascination plays a role in every type of decision making, including your favorite brand, most remembered song, the person you marry, and the employees you hire. And by activating the right triggers, you can make anything we do fascinating (Jacket cover says it perfectly).

That’s the premise of this enlightening book called Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers To Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead, a creative director who has developed fascinating ideas for Fortune 500 companies and startups. Sally’s book is based on research with the national opinion company, Kelton Research.

Here are Sally’s definitions of the seven triggers and reasons why we are fascinated:

  • Lust is the anticipation of pleasure, and craving is the anticipation of pleasure. Sally illustrates this with a Godiva chocolate drink made for women called Chocolixir (she named it), and a study that showed womens’ testosterone levels increased when they heard an Italian sports car engine (really).
  • Mystique is the unanswered question, and mystique makes a person want to solve the puzzle. Simply think of the Coke secret formula.
  • Alarm is the threat of immediate consequence, and alarm demands a response now. Consider a campaign to prevent drunk driving amongst teens. It had more power when it showed a teenager being driven to the prom by his mom.
  • Prestige are symbols of rank and respect, and prestige earned status, respect, and admiration. Grey Goose vodka introduced the “ultra-premium” category, forcing an entire category to realign.
  • Power is command over others, and power controls. Pfizer renamed impotence as “erectile dysfunction,” and Viagra became a billion dollar brand based on fascination-enhanced sales.
  • Vice is rebellion against the rules and vice tempts us with “forbidden fruit.” Best example is “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”
  • Trust is certainty and reliability, and trust comforts us because we can rely on it. This is what Volvo and safety are all about.

Those are just a few of the powerful and enlightening ideas from Sally Hogshead. It reminds me of Robert Cialdini’s Influence presented in in the October 2009 newsletter. You should read this entire book and use it to improve your marketing and communications strategies: I plan to!


Macali’s Enterprise newsletter regularly shares strategy, marketing, communication and social media ideas that add value to your business. Subscribe free for regular advice, ideas and insights at http://eepurl.com/dERMM.