By combining science with her experience inside the world’s most admired brands, Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist author and award-winning copywriter Sally Hogshead developed a hack to shortcut the branding process.
Sally joins us for episode 574 of The Art of Charm to tell us how we can apply her principles to make anything fascinating — in just one hour. Enjoy!
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By the age of 24, Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist author Sally Hogshead was already one of the top advertising copywriters in the business. In fact, her work on campaigns for MINI Cooper, Nike, Godiva, and Coca-Cola made her the most award-winning advertising copywriter in the country. But how did she stand out in such a highly competitive industry at an age when a lot of people don’t even know what they want to do with their lives?
“It helps to have a very specific idea of what you want to be able to do,” says Sally, “and then do it differently than everybody else. Different is better than better — I didn’t focus on being better, I focused on being different.”
When she first decided she wanted to get involved in advertising, Sally found getting her foot in the door to be the most daunting obstacle. Her way of doing things just didn’t seem like the right fit for a lot of potential employers — because it wasn’t like anything they were used to seeing.
“One of the things I noticed about people who are most successful — the high performers, especially at a young age — they’re very polarizing in the way they find their first job,” Sally says. “For the first three to six months, I was unemployed. I was literally ready to go start flipping burgers because people were saying, ‘The kind of work you do isn’t right for us.'”
How do you identify the ways in which you are different from other people so you can position yourself as a high performer who can command top dollar and not fall into the rut of being a commodity? For Sally, it really began on the playground when other kids took issue with her Hogshead surname.
“It’s easy to have an unconventional point of view when the name on your birth certificate is something that people make fun of!” she says.
It was at this time Sally’s mother gave her some early and valuable coaching advice. She said the thing about the family name that’s different would one day make her love it — and this has proven true.
“You have to be able to stand out in a crowded marketplace,” says Sally. “The more that you can be replaced by somebody else, the more vulnerable you are. Think of it like the difference between pistachio and vanilla [ice cream]. Pistachio has this hardcore, loyal base of fans, whereas vanilla is the lowest common denominator.”
Compound this with the need to make an impression quickly, and the challenge seems especially formidable. While the average attention span used to be 20 minutes, today the average attention span is roughly nine seconds. It’s hard enough to capture lasting attention when you’re a person, but if you’re running a company (or a company’s image), you’ve got to find ways to make your brand stand out in this nine-second attention span.
To Sally, the key is in being fascinating — and it’s important to note this isn’t always the same thing as being liked. When Sally worked as the brand leader for boozy German digestif Jägermeister, she was surprised when research suggested that the less people like Jägermeister, the more likely they are to drink it. Consumption of this fragrant, kerosene-like concoction has become more of a bonding ritual — swilled as a dare and endured as proof of fortitude — than a delicious beverage sipped and savored.
“If you’re not turning off part of your audience, then you’re not going to be fascinating,” she says; “you’re not going to be memorable.”
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about finding your own specialty for the right audience, how the process of fascination is neurologically similar to the infatuation of falling in love, why you don’t learn how to be fascinating so much as you unlearn how to be boring, what shortcuts you can use to engage and fascinate others in an age of endless distractions, patterns high earners have in common that differentiate them from others who might match them in skills or experience, and lots more.
THANKS, SALLY HOGSHEAD!
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AJ Harbinger - author of 1166 posts on The Art of Charm
AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality.
Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.
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