Frightened and Excited

The Art & Science of Persuasion and Captivation

Fascination is a word that both frightens and excites. “The origin of the word, Fascinere comes from Latin meaning to bewitch. Romans believed it was an evil curse. Freud labeled the relationship between a therapist and a patient as fascination, a form of hypnosis.” ~Sally Hogshead Fascinate: The Seven Triggers

Frightens and Excites

As the economy evolved from an information economy to more recently an experience economy, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. Attention spans are more splintered, the field of competition is thick, and products and services are easily commoditized. Today we are in the midst of the Fascination Economy.

The only way to stand out is to be more fascinating than your competition. In this book Sally teaches you that Fascination is a tool to be mastered through activating one or more triggers that captivate people.


Lust – Seduced by anticipation
Mystique – Intrigued by the unanswered
Alarm – Action at the threat of negative
Prestige – Fixate on rank and respect
Power – Focus on people and things that control us
Vice – Tempted by “forbidden fruit”
Trust – Loyal to reliable options


When I found this book (and Sally) I was lost I a sea of sameness at work and in my personal life. Ten years after a failed marriage and a stalled career at a major multinational corporation, I met Sally Hogshead at a Word of Mouth Marketing Association Conference at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was the keynote, and I her onstage guinea pig.

As Sally started her talk, I remember she told the crowd she was going to teach us how to not be boring. She declared that today you either fascinate or you bore your audience, boss, family, and friends. Gasp! That statement scared the crap out of me. Was I no longer relevant, or worse boring? Equally it intrigued. Sure I had in my past experienced being in the zone, channeling my muse, but could not consistently replicate it.

A friend once asked if I remembered how I got to those moments where I killed it in the boardroom of puffy executives, or how I charmed and beguiled a date. Did I remember the steps, the words, and the conditions of each time? I could not. Only the way I felt at those moments remained.

Sally dissects these scenarios and how the triggers evoke strong feelings for both the fascinator and fascinated. Her voice is fun, powerful and reassuring. After reading this book I discovered what my fascination triggers were and how to use them, consistently.


Jäger Virgins

During the keynote, Sally explained that the triggers of fascination could work even if a brand has a negative connotation. Her example involved a well-known brand of alcohol that everyone wrinkles noses at, but definitely has purchased – Jägermeister.

Sally began this experiment of Fascination by asking if the audience had drunk it  before. Nearly every hand in the auditorium of thousands was raised – even my mild mannered colleague, Emily raised her hand. She looked to her left to see that my hand wasn’t raised. The look on Emily’s face was one of amazement and disbelief.

Next Sally asked how did people decide to drink it? What was the occasion? Immediately, declarations shot out from the crowd. “Celebrating my divorce, getting fired, break-up, failed test…”

Sally asked the crowd, “Do you like Jägermeister, how does it taste?” The crowd, mixed with wrinkled up noses and groans of displeasure, rumbled a low and loud hum of “nooooo!” She laughed out loud. “Yet, nearly everyone in this room has purchased and consumed it, maybe even more than once?” She said.

Finally Sally asked who in the room had not tried Jägermeister. I looked around the room and only one or two people raised their hands. My colleague raised my hand straight up in the air (we were at a centered table about two rows from the front).




Sally put her hand on her forehead to shield her eyes from the lights and pointed at me, “You, you there at the center table, please stand. What’s your name?” Then Sally brought me up to try a shot of Jägermeister. The crowd roared. She poured us each a shot. A hip looking guy with an iPhone got in front of us ready to take a picture.

Sally talked about the German digestif made with 56 herbs and spices. She waxed poetic about the aroma, the bouquet and asked me to really savor it. “Bottoms up!” She said. I thought about my stalled career and failed marriage. Then I raised the shot to my lips and threw back my head. The auditorium erupted with gasps and laughter, and the hip dude took a photo upon my head coming back to center with an empty shot glass.

My picture would now be on the wall of Jägermeister Virgins at the corporate HQ, on their website and social sites. I couldn’t wait to share it with my friends. I received the GIANT bottle of Jägermeister to take home. (NOTE:  Sadly this picture is no longer available)


This experience both frightened and excited me

When I returned home and to my office, I couldn’t wait to share what I learned with my colleagues, and immediately purchased Sally’s book– hard copy and audio.

The book is chocked full of data and history and real world modern examples of how to consistently apply the triggers of fascination. There’s even a step-by-step guide to take you and your team through finding the triggers that make your brand (personal or business) the most fascinating.

Reading Fascinate: The Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, and listening to Sally read it to you is essential to stand out in today’s economy. She has a fantabulous style that is equally powerful and warm. Sally’s words stir and activate change for individuals and brands.



I am a huge fan of the book and the woman; so much so that I joined the Fascinate® team as a Certified Advisor of the program. If you’d like to learn more about it, shoot me a note here.Certified Fascinate® Advisor


  admin   Sep 24, 2015   Books, Brand, Fascinate®, Favorite Reads, Insights that Ignite, Marketing, Strategy   0 Comment Read More

What Great Brands Do

What Great Brands Do

A great and natural read on operationalizing your brand, Denise Lee Yohn’s book What Great Brands Do quickly became one of my favorite reads. It’s a must have for entrepreneurs and CEOs alike. Denise outlines her 7 principals in a real and conversational way. As I read the book, it was as if I was having lunch with her and discussing it face to face. The principals are not rocket science, rather the challenge is applying them consistently in line with your brand’s strategy. Below are the seven principals. The act of entrepreneurship naturally leads to following these principals.

Denise uses great corporate brand examples in her book, and often highlights local SMBs on Instagram and Facebook that exemplify these principals.
The first principal, “Great brands start inside,” is clearly an advantage of the entrepreneur. Think about your favorite local small business, why do you choose it?

Antonio’s Mexican Food down the street from my home is one of mine. Antonio’s is family owned and run. They serve up fresh and mostly locally sourced Mexican food. The restaurant has a modest dining room and a 24-hour drive-thru. The recipes are family secrets. The employees are siblings, cousins, parents, aunts & uncles, nieces & nephews, and grandparents. The restaurant is full people who are happy and have a passion for great food and complete customer satisfaction. Every time I eat at Antonio’s it feels like as if I’m an auntie or sister. The team greets me with a smile and asks how I am and how my family is. They remember what I usually order, that my daughter lives in New York and my son’s girlfriend loves their bean & cheese burritos with green sauce. And in 23 years this culture has remained steadfast.

Through out the book Denise chooses impactful, real world examples to illustrate how some brands do this well, and sometimes how others do not. After reading What Great Brands Do you’ll start noticing things your favorite brands do that keep you coming back. And maybe find ways to employ the principals at your business.

  admin   Jul 10, 2014   Books, Brand, Favorite Reads, Insights that Ignite, Marketing, Strategy   0 Comment Read More