Episode 191: Sally Hogshead on Fascinate - 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
Would YOU like to be more personally FASCINATING?
Susan Bratton: Welcome to DishyMix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton, and you are going to love today’s show. On today’s show you’re going to get to meet Holly Hogshead. Sally is an author and speaker and a nationally recognized expert in making your brand, your company more fascinating. Her new book is called Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, and if you’ve been a DishyMix listener for any amount of time you know we talk about persuasion, influence, captivation, fascination, enchantment, you name it, as much as we can, especially the neuroeconomics and the neuroscience behind why as humans we’re motivated to do what we do. And this particular book by Sally has a new cut, a new way of thinking about how to create that engagement and connection with an individual human being with your story of who your brand is and what you can do for them. It’s based in how we function at a very deep level as human beings. It’s right on information, and it’s going to give you a whole new way, a whole new map of y0our brand and how to make it connect with consumers in a more intriguing, more visceral, more human way. I know you’re going to love Sally, so lets get her on the show. Welcome Sally.
Sally Hogshead: Hey Susan. Thank you.
Susan Bratton: It’s nice to have you hear. What a beautifully written book. Fascinate is everything from the beautiful blue of the cover to a great title, to a book that both explains a new way to think about connecting with consumers, a new strategy for doing it, and then at the end you even talk about how to implement that strategy within your organization and you give case study after case study after example after example of how it manifests in the real world. So I just really want to thank you for the amazing job you did. This is definitely… Now I can’t say it’s the best book I’ve read in 2011 yet ‘cause it’s only January, but it could be Sally. It could be.
Sally Hogshead: I want to be in the running. Lets come back at the end of December 2011.
Susan Bratton: So you talk about in the book that fascination begets action. We’re all as marketers trying to get our customers to take an action and that it starts with fascination, that we’re seduced by, as you say, the anticipation of pleasure, and that your message as a marketer needs to provoke these strong emotional reactions. Well as marketers we know we’re trying to evoke emotions, but what you do is you say that it actually starts at the limbic level, the limbic system in our brain. So what I was hoping that you would do is first lets talk about, just list the seven triggers for everyone so that they get a sense of what it is that triggers us, and then go right into why it’s those seven and how they trigger us at a limbic level, ‘cause we’ve talked about the limbic system before on this show.
Sally Hogshead: Great. Fascination is an irresistible force of attraction. So unlike marketing, which very rationally or maybe even emotionally talks to us to try to communicate a message, fascination is all about immediately snapping your focus instantly and on one thing. And in 2006 I began studying this. I looked outside of marketing and advertising and I started looking at neurology and evolutionary biology and math and science and history, and what I realized is that is that all messages throughout time across the continents around the globe, no matter what language you speak and what gender you are, you are hardwired to respond to very specific types of messages. And when certain types of messages, when they speak to you, when they work their way into your brain they can immediately poke that magic hot button that flings you into action. And I call these seven different categories of fascination, I call them triggers. Because when something triggers your brain, you immediately, whether you want to or not, you fly into high focus, intense attention not only on the message but on the person behind it. So the first message, the first trigger is power, and power is about command. It’s authority. The next trigger is lust, which is about attraction and warmth and closeness. It usually uses the five senses. The next one is mystique, which is about unanswered questions. Mystique makes us want to solve the puzzle. It leaves something unanswered so that our brains crave, we become curious to step in and learn more. Then there’s prestige, which earns respect. When we see something with prestige we want to be like it, we aspire to it. We admire it. We want to step ourselves up to the next level. Alarm threatens us with negative consequences. Urgency, it demands a response right now. So when QVC says, “There are only ten left in stock,” or you’re driving along and you see blue lights in your rearview mirror, that immediately creates action in you. Then there’s vice, which is about forbidden fruits. When everybody is doing things one way, vice is about finding a different way. It’s irreverent and creative and independent. And then finally there’s trust, the seventh and most important trigger. Trust is the most difficult trigger to earn, the most precious one to keep and the easiest one to lose because trust is all about consistency. Neurologically our brains are hardwired to try to find consistent patterns. So when we see something that we recognize we feel an affinity for it. We gravitate towards it because we don’t have to make any decisions about it. It’s why you love your favorite pair of old cozy jeans or that reruns of the same show or your mom’s spaghetti sauce, those things that we know as traditions or that we feel become so part of us over time that they literally change the hardwiring of our brains. And so when a message gives us trust it comforts us because we feel as though we can rely on it. And with each one of these seven triggers we can create a specific action. When we use power we command. When we use lust we attract people closer to us. When we use mystique we’re using curiosity to intrigue people, to make them step closer to learn more. When we use prestige we elevate ourselves or our brand. When we use alarm we’re poking intensity, we’re pushing people to act more quickly. Vice gets them to change their behavior. Vice is the one that has them deviate from the standard norms. And then finally with trust we secure the relationship. We encourage consistency so that people will continue to do what they’ve done in the past. It’s the trigger of loyalty.
Susan Bratton: I love those, and they go to our animal instincts, which is why they’re tied to the limbic system of our brain, right?
Sally Hogshead: Exactly. We were all born with these same seven triggers. Every single one of us was born, almost like preprogrammed to respond to these triggers. If you think of any type of persuasion – a political speech, a Little League coach trying to get his six year old team to make it to home base, a marketer trying to convince somebody of a message for a new product launch or to switch to a new brand, a salesperson trying to close a sale immediately. If we understand how each of these seven triggers work we can very carefully and skillfully change peoples behavior. We can very directly influence the decision making process, because instead of going at it rationally or even going at it emotionally we’re going at it in a much deeper instinctive irrational way of provoking human behavior.
Susan Bratton: So one of the things that I want you to rationalize for me, in one part of Fascinate you talked about the limbic system controlling rage, ecstasy, sadness, arousal, our flight and fight response or sympathetic nervous system. And then you said that these triggers, these seven triggers tap into our instinctive nature for hunting, controlling, feeling secure, nurturing and being nurtured. How do those things work together? How do the triggers and what the limbic system controls and what the instinctive triggers are? How do you work all that in in some way that makes more clarity for us?
Sally Hogshead: Sure. All of our behavior was preprogrammed long before you and I had anything to say in the matter. This doesn’t go back a hundred years or a thousand years; this goes back to pre-language. And if you think about that feeling that you have when you’re window shopping and you see a pair of shoes and you want those shoes, what you feel for those shoes, that craving that you feel for those shoes that you can’t afford and probably would be horribly uncomfortable, that feeling is lust. And when you hear a piece of music and you feel the tears almost well up inside of you because maybe it reminds you of a certain occasion or maybe it hits a certain tenor in your mind, that it becomes an uncontrollable experience, that’s trust. And when you develop a serious crush on somebody, whether you should or shouldn’t, that’s vice. It’s almost as though you fall in love with them or in lust with them because you shouldn’t. We don’t have control over a lot of those types of decisions. We think we’re in control of our decisions, but the reality is not only do we not control a lot of the most basic decisions that we make, like lusting after a pair of shoes or a sports car or craving a big slice of pizza when we’re supposed to be on a diet, we don’t control those decisions, but in fact we don’t even control the decisions about which brands we buy, which brands of frozen peas we pull off the shelf, which movie we see. Because underneath the decisions we’re not making our choices rationally. These choices are being motivated by the seven triggers. And a lot of it can seem irrational at first. You may not understand why you make the decisions you make, you do. We don’t understand why somebody can join a suicidal cult. We don’t understand how somebody could trust a political dictator or how somebody could cheat on their spouse. Those seem like they’re irrational, but when you understand the triggers that are actually driving the behavior it makes perfect sense. And in the same way as I began to understand these triggers, it was three years of heavy duty research, and as I began to look at different messages, types of messages across history dating back to the very cradle of civilization, what I realized is when messages are effective they control us. When messages are effective we almost can’t help but become attracted to them. And so the question becomes when you’re creating messages, whether it’s trying to get your kids to clean up their room or trying to get somebody to marry you or trying to get a new business prospect to meet with you for a sales call, if you can understand how do you insight the belief and the behavior and the action, you can be much more successful in everything that you do to convince and convert.
Susan Bratton: Million Dollar Mike Morgan – don’t you love that name? You got to have a lot of wavos to name yourself that. Million Dollar Mike Morgan says, he’s a copywriter, he teaches people have to write more motive copy, and he says that there are ten top buying emotions. I guess a lot of people have cuts on this same thing; he says those are fear, curiosity, vanity, compassion, insecurity, greed, lust, pride, envy and laziness. Now obviously you don’t have the list in front of you, but what’s your, like, instant gut reaction to Million Dollar Mike Morgan’s list versus your seven fascination triggers? What would you do with that?
Sally Hogshead: There’s a lot of wisdom in what Million Dollar Mike has to say. And speaking of somebody with the last name Hogshead, I think having a memorable name helps. To me it’s, when you’re thinking about your consumer or your customer or you client and you’re creating a piece of communication that you want to create a certain type of act, it’s not enough to just know the feeling that you want to create within them or the feeling that they’re experienced to tap into. And so it’s important to understand where’s the pathway in the brain, that if you can shortcut that instead of going from A to B to C to D to E you can go straight from A to E. And that’s where the triggers come in. The fact that it’s drawing upon these very elemental ways in which we make choices, the reason we choose between buy this book or that book, to be friends with this person or that person or which company to join.
Susan Bratton: I have a new word for you. I bet you’ve never heard of this word.
Sally Hogshead: Do tell.
Susan Bratton: So in your book you talk about the etymology of Fascinate. And I’ll let people read that. I know pretty much everybody who’s listening is going to buy your book ‘cause it’s so, so well done and I’m recommending it so highly. But I have a word for you; it’s ensorcell. Have you ever heard of ensorcell or to be ensorcell?
Sally Hogshead: You have peaked my mystique trigger. Please tell.
Susan Bratton: So what it means is to bewitch. It comes from the route of sorcery, a sorcerer. And so if you ensorcell someone you’ve bewitched them. You’ve fascinated them. I just thought that was a good word for you. It’s e-n-s-o-r-c-e-l-l, and it’s completely esoteric but of all the people in the world you should know that word.
Sally Hogshead: I should know that because as your listeners may not know the word ‘fascinate’ means to bewitch, and fascination used to be a crime that was punishable by death for a thousand years of European law. That when you fascinated somebody you irresistibly captivated them. You held them powerless…
Susan Bratton: Under your spell.
Sally Hogshead: to resist. You held them under your spell. And so when you ensorcelled them they lost the ability to protest, and that’s what our goal as marketers is, to create these connections, these bonds that are so intense that people are so irresistibly attracted to what we’re selling.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, they had to make that illegal so the church could own it. So that was politically uncorrect. What the hell, it’s my damn show.
Sally Hogshead: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Susan Bratton: So Joseph Carrabis has been on my show, and if you haven’t followed him yet you should definitely follow him. He talk about reading virtual minds and he works a lot in semiotics and imagery at an emotional level to see what imagery in semiotics, what symbols trigger those emotions of fascination.
Sally Hogshead: Yes. Yes.
Susan Bratton: And you say that trust is the lowest, the most dormant trigger, it’s the most difficult to earn, it comes with consistency. Joseph says something interesting. He wrote in his most recent book, Reading Virtual Minds, that there’s a handshake that has to happen to create trust, and that a way to accelerate the handshake with a customer to engender their trust with more facility is to tell your customer that you trust them. And then the natural reciprocity will have them begin to be more open to trusting you back. It’s almost like when you put your faith in them and acknowledge them as making good decisions and showing up in your world, that they then can begin to trust you more. And I wonder if you’d ever had any experience with that or if you have so many case studies in the book or anything. What comes to your mind when I tell you about this handshake and me as a brand reaching out to my customer and acknowledging them first?
Sally Hogshead: Yes. I’m very intrigued by that idea. Earning trust is something that it’s very difficult to fake because it requires such consistency. If you break any promise, if you create any surprise, if you create any sense of alarm within somebody you’re going to ruin your trust that you’ve built up to that point. And so here’s my version of what Robert says. Lets take social media as an example. The way to earn trust is through familiarity. It’s through repeated exposure. It’s taking points within your consumers lives, points that they’re already very familiar with, and time yourself to that. It’s why with jingles, brands that are selling something, like see Bond dentures, they use Bye Bye love or they take a class [inaudible]. We’ve all seen our favorite songs ruined by brands taking them over, but the reason why they do it is because they’re taking a classic thing that already has a place in our brain and they’re attaching themselves to it. So with social media, my equivalent of what he’s saying about a handshake would be the more repeated exposure that people have to you the more that they’re likely to trust you. So we’ve been on Twitter for example. If you’re consistently on Twitter and people see repeated messages from you and they get a sense of who you are in your world, they’re much more likely to trust you. It’s like a handshake but it’s not in person. The same with blogging or with developing a show like DishyMix. When you get in front of your customers and they feel as though they know exactly what to count on from you and you’re reliable and you’re stable and you’re consistently delivering a high quality product, then they know that they can have this loyalty to you that’s so precious and that in this world we live in, it’s almost like an ADD world, that loyalty is incalculably that valuable.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, I really appreciate how much interaction I get with the people that listen to this show, when they interact with me on the Facebook page or they send me an email or they comment on a blog post or they ping me, you know, DM me in a Twitter, and it is such a nice feeling, such a nice level of recognition.
Sally Hogshead: Well that’s because of your lust trigger. Aren’t you, you’re power lust in your F score, right?
Susan Bratton: Right, so lets talk about the F score.
Sally Hogshead: Ooh, lets do.
Susan Bratton: So you go to sallyhogshead.com/fscore, and you take how many questions is it, 18 or something?
Sally Hogshead: 28.
Susan Bratton: 28.
Sally Hogshead: 28 questions, takes about three minutes.
Susan Bratton: And then you get your score back and you get your primary, your secondary and dormant triggers based on how you answer these questions, and this is about your own personal level of fascination because one of the things that Sally really did well with her book was she made it about fascination and she made it in a way that you could apply it to marketing, but you can also apply it to yourself, you know. Every one of us wants to be as fascinating as we possibly can. Some of us are more quiet about it than others, but we all want to be fascinating. And one of the things that I notice that you did was you said in the book that the people on the West Coast, their primary trigger is lust, people in the Midwest it’s trust…
Sally Hogshead: Mm hmm.
Susan Bratton: and people on the East Coast collectively have more primary triggers of power.
Sally Hogshead: Yes.
Susan Bratton: And I thought, “Oh my god, that’s just so typical of West Coast, East Coast and the flyover states,” you know…
Sally Hogshead: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: that solid bread basket middle America, trust is huge for them. They don’t trust easily.
Sally Hogshead: That’s right.
Susan Bratton: And I just love that. And so, right, for my fascination score my number one was I think lust, my number two was power and my lowest was trust. So I think that’s why I appreciate when people do trust me.
Sally Hogshead: Can I tell you…
Susan Bratton: Sure.
Sally Hogshead: Can I tell you, can I give you a description of what that means?
Susan Bratton: Yes.
Sally Hogshead: So the F score reveals which triggers you use when you’re being your most influential. So what this means by us that when you’re being your most persuasive, when people are really responding to you, you’re using the lust trigger as your primary. And the lust trigger is about warmth and humanity, it draws people in. It’s walking into a room, having great eye contact and having great body language and a strong presence and creating experience for people. People with lust as their number one trigger, everybody wants to play with them. They want to engage with them. They want to share experiences, “Lets come over, have a sip of my wine. Lets light the candles, put on some music. Lets have fun together.” Lust people are really easy to get to know. They tend to be very open. They share of themselves. They tend to be emotional, right brained. They’re passionate. They create passion in others. They tend to be very inspiring, and it’s no surprise at all. I think I could’ve guessed that one because people with the lust trigger, they have lower personal barriers than others. Now lets compare that, for example, to the mystique trigger. People who have mystique as their main trigger, they tend to be very reserved, even sometimes aloof. They’re very complex. They’re very deliberate. They’re very rational. They think through things sequentially before they share their answer. The lust trigger on the other hand makes people want to immediately jump in, get involved in a project, it’s about the process. Lets do this. Now lust on the downside, every trigger has, it’s a double-edged sword. On the downside the lust trigger can become a little bit erratic sometimes. Sometimes people who have lust as their number one can start to become so squishy, so artsy, so right brained that they get off the tracks. You know, they are a little bit too emotional. But you have power as your secondary. And what that means is you’re balancing the emotion with a strong sense of authority. You’re a natural leader. People with power as their primary or secondary are confident, they’re goal oriented. They’re opinionated, usually in a good way, and they have a charisma. My favorite combination, my absolute favorite combination for leaders is either power/lust or lust/power, and the reason is because leaders need to be able to have the backbone and the strength to create decisions and to lead from the very front, but lust makes these people compassionate. It makes them very empathetic to the group and very sensitive to what the people around them are thinking and feeling about any given decision. So first of all congratulations on my favorite trigger combination. I have to quietly admit that when I was recently interviewing for a new executive assistant I was secretly hoping for somebody either with power/lust or lust/power. So I found my power/lust, hired her and she is the quintessential warm affectionate engaging leader.
Susan Bratton: So Stephanie is a power/lust?
Sally Hogshead: She is a power/lust.
Susan Bratton: She’s awesome.
Sally Hogshead: Isn’t she?
Susan Bratton: Yeah, yeah, she’s totally in charge.
Sally Hogshead: Totally in charge…
Susan Bratton: And super sweet.
Sally Hogshead: Like huge emotional intelligence.
Susan Bratton: Yeah.
Sally Hogshead: That’s the great thing about people with lust as one of their two triggers; they instantly get people, they can read body language, they get a situation very quickly. Whereas somebody with a prestige as their primary or secondary, there are many wonderful things about the prestige trigger. They tend to have really high aspirational goals. They make us want to step it up to the next level. They’re motivated. They’re focused. They’re ambitious. But sometimes they can start to lose sight of what’s going on around them, so…
Susan Bratton: They can be a little removed, potentially aloof.
Sally Hogshead: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.
Sally Hogshead: Yeah. They can be a little bit cold because they’re so focused on the goal that they lose sight of the process. So the prestige trigger is incredibly effective for somebody who wants to create big change in the world, but it’s not necessarily going to keep everybody closely bound to them along the way unless lust is part of their triggers.
Susan Bratton: Now I want to get into how we implement, how you walk us through an implementation strategy for understanding how to apply this to our brand and to really significantly differentiate our brand, but before we do that I want to stay with this kind of personal conversation. Not me personally, but out listener and their personal level of fascination because…
Sally Hogshead: Ooh yes, bring it on.
Susan Bratton: this research, this research that you did, you know, you’ve researched over 1000 people, you’ve spent years figuring this out, and some of the conclusions you came to were we’re bored, we don’t, most people don’t feel like they’re fascinating, when we feel fascinated or we feel like we are fascinating it makes us feel more alive, and that we seek at our core relationships, trust and fascination, that we go through life looking and seeking those things. So if we’re a person and we can bring that then we get these deeper more intense more satisfying more alive feeling connections, and that there are things we can actually do as a person, whether we’re in an introvert, an extrovert or not, to be more fascinating, right?
Sally Hogshead: Absolutely. Look, in an over-stimulated distracted world you have to be heard and remembered. It doesn’t matter how good you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best at what you do. Nobody cares if nobody listens, if people are not checked into what you’re saying. So if you’re a CMO that means that you need to be persuasive in your presentations. You need to have people rally behind you when you’re pushing a campaign through, when you’re developing an initiative. People have to want to be with you and want to listen to what you’re saying. On the other hand, if you’re organizing something within your company – say it’s a charity function – you have to make people respond with action, and this action is fascination. It’s not about having a Britney Spears approach, it’s not about blinking holiday lights. It’s about creating stronger connections, better relationships, more enduring bonds, having more time with people and creating more buzz around all the projects that matter to you and to your world. And once you understand what your F score is, once you understand which trigger you naturally use, it’s sort of like learning something that you’re really talented at and you probably always been exceptional in this area, but until somebody points it out to you you can really maximize it. You can’t make the most of it. And so the purpose of the F score is to understand you’re already fascinating, but what is that thing. ‘Cause what makes you fascinating is going to be different than what makes me fascinating, and so on and so forth, but once we can identify it we can own it and we can become more of it, we can express it, we can do it intentionally so that we make other people more likely to want to engage and connect and champion all the things that we’re trying to prove.
Susan Bratton: So when I get ready for an interview and I prepare for it, I use an 11X17 piece of paper, and I write your name at the top and I write the full name of your book so I get it right, and then I make a list of all of the things that I want to talk about, and I kind of do this mind map where I have all these little lists and bullet points and keywords and things scribbled all over this piece of paper. In addition, I have a yellow Post-It note with the word ‘insorcal’ stuck to your little piece of paper here, and I also have a fortune cookie today because of my interview with you. Do you want to know what my fortune said?
Sally Hogshead: Please tell me.
Susan Bratton: It said, “Your personality is fueled by the fascination you feel for life.”
Sally Hogshead: No!
Susan Bratton: I shit you not.
Sally Hogshead: I love it. I love that. You are so lust/power.
Susan Bratton: Isn’t that so funny.
Sally Hogshead: Yes, you’re like my archetype.
Susan Bratton: I had to laugh at that. I’m sorry, listeners I’m super sorry about my gravelly crappy throat today. But yeah, I loved that. I love that that was my little fortune cookie, “Your personality is fueled off by the fascination you feel for life,” and I was like, “Well anybody could’ve gotten that,” and ain’t it true Sally Hogshead?
Sally Hogshead: It is. That is awesome because really what makes you stand apart, your ultimate competitive advantage. The way that you fascinate your listeners is through that passion and the fact that you really get inside the topics of the people on your show and you connect that. You take those topics and you connect them in a very meaningful way with the people that are listening so that they can have a relationship to the material.
Susan Bratton: I’m just a fascination filter. Whatever I’m fascinated by gets on DishyMix and it fascinates other people I think.
Sally Hogshead: You are. Awesome!
Susan Bratton: So the gold hallmarks of a fascinating mention; here’s what I got out of, you know, first you have to understand what is fascinating about, lets go back to your brand now, how do you do this for your brand. You have to figure out what’s fascinating about your brand. So I want you to go through the gold hallmarks of a fascinating message. Then I want you to talk about how you ask us to identify our primary trigger, what you’d use the chemistry set for, ‘cause that’s a really good visual to describe…
Sally Hogshead: Mmm.
Susan Bratton: Then the brilliance of taking the words and turning them into images through this concept of badges. By the way, Josh Williams, the CEO and founder of Gowalla, who’s one of these, you know, Four Square Gowalla path, these kind of, you know, new check in and earn a badge things – he says badges are like the 2011 fad; everybody’s going to want badges. We’re going to go badge crazy. He says it’s not really sustainable but it’s going to be a fad. So you look for your badges and then you find your outlier and you focus on your outlier, your one or two most solid outliers and that’s how you differentiate your brand. Did I get that path right?
Sally Hogshead: Yes. Yes, you absolutely did. Up until this point in marketing, we all understand the importance of badges but there hasn’t really been a methodical way that you can figure out exactly what your badges are. So would that be a good place to start?
Susan Bratton: I want to really give you the floor now, and in the next, you know, like however long you need to take – three, five, seven minutes – if I have a question I’ll ask you, but I really want you to just go off into your Sally Hogshead space and just walk us through how we would do this, how it’s written in the book. ‘Cause then we can go by the book and go through the process ourselves, but just take us on the ride. We’re ready.
Sally Hogshead: Cool! I was looking recently at an article from the BBC News and it said that our attention spans have become so much shorter because of web browsing, that the attention span is now about 9 seconds. And the article went on to say that not only is our attention span 9 seconds, but that’s the same attention span as a goldfish. And I thought about this and it kind of rocked my world because our attention spans used to be 20 minutes long. When we were on the farm our attention spans were 20 minutes because think about it, if there was nothing competing for our attention, there was no need to be distracted. You had one thing you needed to focus on – milking a cow for 20 minutes, plowing for 20 minutes, preparing dinner for 20 minutes and so on. And now with web browsing it’s changing this hardwiring of our brain, and so we as marketers need to understand that we need a fundamental in the way in which we communicate with people because their brains are thinking about redirecting to a new topic in this incredibly distracted environment every 9 seconds or so. And badges are an incredibly useful way to think about how you can distill your message down, instead of into a 30 second television commercial to something that instantly communicates an emblem. And I identified seven different ways that any brand can create a fascination badge. Because the point here is not to bolt something on, it’s not about trying to artificially change a brand or become something that you’re not. The point is you already have all these ingredients in front of you. The first one is your purpose. That’s your reason for being, your function as a brand. The second is your core beliefs, the code or values, the principles that guide you. Aflac does a great job of constantly communicating its core beliefs. The next is heritage, your reputation. It’s kind of your back-story. You can think about heritage as how your product or your brand came to be. I was doing some work with Nike, and at the top of their business card I notice a waffle iron, and I didn’t understand why. And they explained that Bill Berman, the guy who develops the original Nike Sole, he literally created by taking rubber and pouring it into his wife’s waffle iron, and that created the Waffle Sole, which is really what launched Nike into the sports performance company that we know it today. So their business card has a waffle iron as a little nod.
Susan Bratton: Sally, I have to tell you a little tiny quick story…
Sally Hogshead: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: I don’t want to interrupt your flow too much but…
Sally Hogshead: Yeah, please.
Susan Bratton: I was doing that work in your book for Personal Life Media, for our company, and no one would get this reference, but the badge that I came up with is a back jack, a back jack…
Sally Hogshead: What’s a back jack?
Susan Bratton: What’s a back jack? A back jack is a legless chair. It’s like a pad, a cushion with a back that is like a little a-frame and it sits on the floor so when you’re in workshops – you know, Northern California – when you’re in workshops and you’re all sitting around on the floor you have something you can rest your back against. And my company, Personal Life Media, came out of the struggles that Tim and I had in our relationship and going to all these personal growth workshops, and you know, getting so close and intimate and reconnected, that we wanted other people to have this experience and we created these online courses that people could take so that if they can’t get to San Francisco and spend a weekend in a workshop they can do the workshop at home together. And really the whole beginning, the whole foundation of our company and our whole model is bringing personal growth and intimacy in relationship workshops to the world. Our customers are in Bahrain and Oslo and Sao Paulo and they’re getting the information that we got when we took those workshops, when we were sitting there in those back jacks.
Sally Hogshead: I love it.
Susan Bratton: I could never use it, but it’s a badge for myself, you know.
Sally Hogshead: It is a badge and I’ll tell you why. When you’re sitting in a back jack – I can’t say that I’ve ever sat in a back jack but I can imagine that it immediately puts you in a place of intimacy. It lowers the boundaries, it brings you closer. You’re going to describe things differently and connect differently when you’re using a back jack versus sitting around a boardroom table. So that’s a perfect example of a badge. It’s okay if it takes a little bit of explanation. It’s okay if there’s a story behind it. But the point is what are the things when you look back upon your history, if you were sitting around a campfire describing your brand to people who’ve never heard of it, what are examples of things that you would use as symbols or icons of the story of how you came to be? What would be your brand’s campfire story? And so in this example the back jack’s a great heritage badge. And every company has one, even a company that’s only been around for two weeks. Say it’s a software company that’s only been around for two weeks. How you came to be will always inform who you are in the future. And if you can identify these, if you can crystallize these little moments of the experiences and the struggles and the triumphs and things that happen throughout the process, if you can find those and communicate those they can be incredibly fascinating to make people immediately fall in love with your product and service in the way that they never would if you didn’t give them the shorthand.
Susan Bratton: Thank you. Okay, keep going.
Sally Hogshead: So moving along with badges, you know, the concept of badges is not new. It’s like when Mary Kay’s top employees have their pink Cadillac’s or Girl Scouts have merit badges, Mickey and Minnie at Disney. All of these, you know, when a father comes home from the hospital with his newborn that he keeps the band on for a couple of days. Or even Alcoholic’s Anonymous, marking sobriety with coins. These struggles of achievement and struggle and history, all of them become incredibly meaningful, and as brands our job, our job as marketers is not to just sell stuff, it’s to bring meaning to stuff. It’s to take products that usually are competing on the basis of price or utility, you know. Most of the time we’re selling something that’s not, you have to do a little bit of work to understand that’s fascinating. But the more meaning you can bring to this product, the more meaning we can give to the consumer, the more value we add to the brand. It’s why Evian is worth more than regular water. It’s why Morton Salt is worth more than regular salt. It’s why Grey Goose is worth more than no name Vodka. It’s the meaning that we bring to it through badges. So continuing on, we talked about purpose, core beliefs and heritage. The other four badges are products, which is literally what you produce but thinking about it in a fresh way; benefits, the promise of reward that you create; actions, how you as a company or a brand conduct yourself; and finally culture, all characteristics of your identity. And when you sit down in a workshop and you think through, “Okay, we want to have a badge, we don’t know what our badge is,” when you start to dissect it this way it becomes a really easy way to think about your company and what you’ve already got. In your attic, if you were to browse around in your attic, you would probably find a lot of really cool stuff that nobody knows. Things that if you could communicate those it would very powerfully shift the relationship that consumers have with the product and with the purchase process. And fascination is about understanding that you’ve already got everything you need. You’ve already got all the things you need to captivate and mesmerize and you don’t have to wear the blinking lights, but you do have to figure it out and communicate it in a way that people can get. And that’s what the badges exercise is about.
Susan Bratton: How do you go from the badges piece to the outliers and the really firming up, the foundation of some of your very evocative outliers to further differentiate your brand, ‘cause that to me, that little action, that little twist, that’s the juice of your entire book. Like everything else is just the work you need to do to understand the thing, and that’s the thing…
Sally Hogshead: Mm hmm.
Susan Bratton: Am I right or not?
Sally Hogshead: Right, right. No you’re right because the more you can push something… Think of this exercise like a bell curve. Most brands are going to be in the middle of the bell curve. Most brands by definition, they’re going to be average, they’re going to stay comfortable, they’re going to be smack all clustered together right in the middle.
Susan Bratton: You and your competitors.
Sally Hogshead: Yeah.
Susan Bratton: Right.
Sally Hogshead: And the further away you can get from your competitors on this bell curve, the more you’re going to stand out, the more you’re going to differentiate yourself. This we already know. We all learned this in Marketing 101. But the question becomes exactly how do you do that? So lets take for example Grey Goose. Sydney Frank was the marketer who developed Grey Goose, and I do a lot of work with the Sydney Frank Importing Company, so this is a case that’s near and dear to my heart. When Sydney Frank decided to develop a vodka he didn’t do an in depth analysis research of breaking down all the different vodkas that were available. He literally said, “What’s the most expensive vodka,” and then he doubled that price, and then he came up with a name and the logo design, and then finally he got the recipe for the vodka. So the vodka came last. First it was founded upon the price point that it was going to be doubled, that anything anybody else in the category was going to cost. So that’s an example of an outlier. He didn’t just market himself 10% more than his nearest competitor, 20% more, he literally said double it, and it was unthinkable at the time that it came out, and at the time that Grey Goose was sold it sold for more than IBM sold for. It sold for $2 billion purely based on the value of the brand.
Susan Bratton: Have you met Duncan Berry from Buyology?
Sally Hogshead: Yes.
Susan Bratton: Do you know Duncan?
Sally Hogshead: You know, I don’t know Duncan, I know Martin. But I’m a huge Buyology fan.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, they do a really nice job. They really talk about the emotional contagions and that we have to connect at an emotional level with our, you know, he calls it our ancient survival software, which is this whole limbic system that we’re driven by, and that if we want to catch someone’s attention and give them a basis for action, we have to catch them in this state, which are the triggers that we’re talking about.
Sally Hogshead: Mm hmm.
Susan Bratton: And then you say figure out what your chemistry set is. Did you cover the chemistry set?
Sally Hogshead: No, no I haven’t.
Susan Bratton: Talk about the chemistry set, and like draw that visual, talk that visual for us.
Sally Hogshead: If you think of your brand imagine that there’s a chemistry set in front of you. You have seven different beakers, and the beakers are going to be filled, some of them to the top, some of them in the middle and some of them will be nearly empty. And in these seven beakers each beaker represents a different trigger. And you know what, listen to this Susan, this is the sound, this is the sound of me actually opening up the books so I can follow along with you. I developed the beakers as a way to be able to visualize how the triggers relate to brands. So I’m looking here at the Olive Garden trigger with the beakers, so there are seven beakers. The lust trigger is really high, ‘cause Olive Garden is all about inspiring sensory gratifications, the smells, the taste, the sight…
Susan Bratton: The carbs.
Sally Hogshead: The carbs, love the carbs. It’s really high on trust. When I go to an Olive Garden in Tuskegee it’s going to be exactly the same as the one in Orlando…
Susan Bratton: Consistency.
Sally Hogshead: It’s going to be very consistent. It’s about family, it’s about we’re going to play off of every icon that we can, of bringing family together around the table. But it’s very low on mystique. I don’t have a lot of curiosity about what’s going to happen at an Olive Garden, whether I get indigestion. It’s pretty low on power and pretty low on prestige. Rachel Ray has a very similar set of beakers. If you were visualizing her seven beakers, they would be really similar. High on lust because she’s all about, “Oh, chop it this way. You dropped it on the floor. No problem, pick it up and scoop it in you mouth. Have another dollop of butter.” And trust, we know when we’re watching Rachel Ray she’s already tested the stuff and she’s going to give us something that’s going to be really high quality with a reassuring personality a la Oprah. Her craft has a very, very similar set of triggers. Now if you think of what those beakers might look like, here’s an example of a set of beakers that would be completely different – the W Hotels. W Hotels score really highly on vice. Vice is about creativity, innovation, unexpected experiences.
Susan Bratton Yeah, and their beakers are filled with martinis.
Sally Hogshead: Dirty olives, yes.
Susan Bratton: Dirty martinis.
Sally Hogshead: Yes. Yeah. FedEx, for FedEx the set of seven beakers would be very low on lust. There’s absolutely no sensory gratification about FedEx, and very low on mystique, but it’s extremely high on alarm because if you don’t absolutely positively have to have it there overnight you’re probably not going to pay the additional premium to use FedEx, you’re just going to use the postal service. And they’re very high on trust because I trust that when I send something through FedEx it will in fact get there. So using beakers helps groups be able to more clearly identify which triggers they’re using and which ones they’re not, and the point is not to get as full as you possibly can on every single beaker; the point is to identify which response you want to create in your consumer and then align your beaker around that. If you want to attract you should be using lust and mystique. If you want to create urgency you should use alarm or power. If you want people to change behaviors you should use vice or possibly lust to irrationally pull them closer to you. And if you want them to maintain consistency over and over again then you need to use trust.
Susan Bratton: So what do you do if you have different customers at different points in a funnel around your brand, and you’re trying attract some customers, you’re trying to get some customers to trust you, you’re trying to get some customers to believe they can make a change or whatever it might be, how do you do that and do you just pick one of those beakers and focus on it and put all your wood behind that one trigger? Or what do you recommend to customers, ‘cause I know this is essentially what you do for a living…
Sally Hogshead: Yes.
Susan Bratton: is either come and do a speech to an organization, or you roll up your sleeves and you help them reposition their product or their corporate brand or, you know, a leader within the organization? I mean you create fascination at any step along the way, along the way with a company or its people or its products, right?
Sally Hogshead: Yes, exactly.
Susan Bratton: So what do you do?
Sally Hogshead: That’s a very sophisticated question. Lets take the example that you just gave about you have some customers that you want to keep and others that you need to attract in. In order to attract new customers in you have to pull them away from the competition. And unless you have some startling rational benefit you’re going to need to attract them in with something other than a huge price difference or a massively different product. If you need those things then that’s what’s fascinating. I call this lustomers. What you’re creating are using the lust trigger to attract new people in, to get new people through the door to get them into the stores talking to people, dealing with your customer service, touching the product, wanting to engage, bound more tightly to you, your product, your brand. You have to take people who either didn’t know who you were, didn’t find you relevant or were attached to a different product, a different competitor and turn them away from your competitor and pull them over to you; that’s the lust trigger. On the other hand you also need the trust trigger because the trust trigger is what keeps them there. So the lust trigger brings customers through the door, the trust trigger keeps them in the store, keeps them buying even when a competitor has a lower price or a new product or, say, if you make a mistake, if you’ve consistently used the trust trigger people will stay with you through it. And I call these, they’re not customers, they’re lustomers, ‘cause you’ve used lust and trust in combination to bring them in and keep them.
Susan Bratton: And that’s a very effective strategy, isn’t it?
Sally Hogshead: It’s very effective once you understand that you need to avoid the alarm trigger. The alarm trigger would be the one, for example, that you would use if you wanted to, say you wanted to have a weekend sale, you wanted to clear out your warehouse, you would say, “This weekend, 12 hours only, we’re going to have 50% off. Everything must go, go, go, go.” Now we all know that’s not going to build trust. What that does is that insights alarm. That’s the alarm trigger, “Uh oh, I don’t want to miss out on the sale. I better get down there. Uh oh, if I don’t do this I’m going to have to buy it at full price later.” So using the alarm trigger is actually damaging to the lust trigger and the trust trigger. It’s also very damaging to the prestige trigger. So we have to be very careful about making sure that we don’t use a trigger unintentionally ‘cause if we do we’re sending mixed messages and we’re getting all the beakers mixed up with each other. And that’s when brands lose focus.
Susan Bratton: That is so interesting. So what can a brand that’s using lust and trust as a strategy do to also create the scarcity and the incentive for those customers who simply never take action without some kind of an incentive? What’s an appropriate incentive or motivator for a lust/trust group of people?
Sally Hogshead: Lets take the trust trigger, lets isolate that one because I…
Susan Bratton: This is so good.
Sally Hogshead: What I’d like to do is compare different triggers to it, and to make things simpler I’m just going to use trust trigger because that’s the trigger that’s so desirable, so necessary and yet so fragile. So if you’re currently using the trust trigger you would be building your entire brand around familiarity, about making people feel as though they know exactly what they’re going to get from you. You would avoid surprises. You would be constantly repeating and retelling the value that you provided and you would always have absolute consistency. But lets say for example you’ve always done that. Lets be honest, ho hum. Things can start to get a little bit boring after a while if you, when you do the same thing over and over again, so you may want to inject a little bit of the vice trigger, and the vice trigger is the trigger of entrepreneurs. Think of Steve Jobs. What Steve Jobs did in positioning Apple against Microsoft is he brought vice. It was a fresh counterintuitive way of solving a problem. It took the standard status quo, flipped it on its head and reinvented it. It’s what Tina Fay uses. It’s what everybody thinks about things in a certain mainstream trust based way. Vice is the trigger that allows consumers to reconsider an existing brand. So that’s how you might, blue chip companies don’t want to use the vice trigger because they always want to be just continuing to reinvest in their market leadership position, but anybody with an emerging brand, a small business, somebody who’s launching a new product absolutely must start to infuse the vice trigger to get people to switch from their old behaviors to a new one.
Susan Bratton: What are two or three ways you can evoke a vice trigger?
Sally Hogshead: Ooh, good question. Well the first thing is you want to encourage people to break old habits. If somebody always goes to the steak restaurant across the street from you and you decide that you want to start serving steak, you’re going to have to get people to stop going to that restaurant and start coming to your restaurant. Vice is the trigger that gets people to break away. So what you might do if you were the steak restaurant is you could offer a 64 ounce Porterhouse. It would be a crazy fascination badge, what we were talking about earlier about this bell curve; how can you take what makes you fascinating and make it way more fascinating by pushing it all the way to the edge of the bell curve. If you want to bring the vice trigger in you would take whatever’s conventional, whatever everybody accepts to be the norm within a category, and you would find ways to tweak it. So you might make a list of every single thing that people took for granted about your category, and then one by one find a way to change it. So say if you came out with lets say an online shoe retailer and you’re going against Zappos, well you would want to make a list of everything that Zappos and figure out a way that you can do something slightly different or even the opposite. And then finally you would try to identify the ways in which there is an unexplored path, a way that nobody’s ever thought about how to use a category. And when you do this you start to shake up the status quo. You don’t have to spend as much money in traditional marketing because you’re going to start to earn buzz ‘cause you’re doing things differently. You’re experimenting. It’s going to take some experimentation to find better answers, but in doing so you’re defying your trust trigger, you’re giving people a very different set of expectations for you, but you’ll encourage them to try new behaviors.
Susan Bratton: That was fascinating. And you can be in complete congruency around the qualities of your product without tripping that alarm trigger in…
Sally Hogshead: Yes.
Susan Bratton: a trust and lust relationship by imbuing vice in the way of just trying new things, trying things that are maybe bigger, bolder, that really fly in the face of the convention of your industry. Is that right?
Sally Hogshead: Absolutely. Yes, and we need to do this skillfully and carefully because strategically if people are always coming to you because… What they’re paying for when they come to you is the trigger that you provide to them. So if somebody buys a diamond ring from Tiffany’s what they’re buying is the trust trigger and the prestige trigger. Of course they can go to the diamond district in New York and find the same diamond for cheaper, but they want the trust trigger. But if Tiffany’s suddenly started changing their game and shaking things up and becoming the crazy trendy jeweler, they would screw with the whole trigger combination of their beakers.
Susan Bratton: Yup.
Sally Hogshead: Tiffany actually had something similar to this happen when Tiffany’s founded upon the trust and prestige triggers, and they had a product that was selling so well that it was actually increasing the stock price, so it was that little silver bracelet that you might remember it was a huge fad a few years ago. It was a little heart on it and it was being knocked off on Canal Street.
Susan Bratton: Yup.
Sally Hogshead: And it was so popular that there were all these teenage girls who were coming in and buying this with their allowance. And in a very courageous moves, the Tiffany executives decided that they were actually going to slow down their sales on this product by raising the price and lessening availability, ‘cause if somebody enters into the Tiffany brand at the hundred dollar level they’re very unlikely to get up to that Harry Winston or Van Cleef and/or Pell’s level of spending $50,000 on a broach when they can finally afford that kind of an investment because they’re going to associate the Tiffany brand with something that they throw at the back of their jewelry box when they were a teenager. And so by pulling back on the sales, by lowering their potential profit off of what was a huge breakaway trend, they lost the short-term sales but the retained the trust trigger and they retained the prestige. Far too few brands are brave enough to make those kind of steps and be committed to those triggers.
Susan Bratton: I love it. There are so many good examples. I mean you just have so many great examples of all of these different triggers and different marketing strategies that any one of us are familiar with, but to lay them into the triggers has been excellent. And thank you so much too for going down that path with the lust dimmer and the trust, and then adding in the vice and understanding how to use these triggers without eroding those things that are the strongest for your brand. I really appreciate that. Thank you. That was a really fun and interesting conversation.
Sally Hogshead: Ooh Susan, thank you.
Susan Bratton: Sally you just did an excellent job with this book. I think it’s a real watershed book in the era of marketing, and here’s why: a lot of people are talking about leveraging neuroscience and neuroeconomics to further marketing, but I really haven’t seen any other books that don’t just explain how it works but show you how to apply it to your brand or your business. And you’ve done that, you’re the first to do that. And so thank you so much for being like a super high smarty pants overachiever and doing all the work it takes to help us take our business to the next level. Thank you.
Sally Hogshead: Thank you Susan. What a pleasure.
Susan Bratton: It was really great to have you on the show Sally. You have gotten to meet Sally Hogshead. Go buy her book, Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers To Persuasion and Captivation. Hire her to come in and speak to your company and consult with you. She’s fabulous. You will love working with her. And you know I never do that, I never tell you that stuff on my show. I just really, really, really think Sally’s great. So Sally thank you for coming on DishyMix.
Sally Hogshead: Thank you. Thank you Susan.
Susan Bratton: I’m your host, Susan Bratton. We’ve gone long this week and I think you know why. Have a great day today. Thanks so much for listening to my passion, my love, my DishyMix. I love to have you here. Have a great week and I’ll talk to you next. Take care.