When it comes to traditional marketing, the goal is to make people focus on you and your product. In this vein, there are numerous tools, including oversized ads, that are too hard to miss--they are like shooting stars lighting up the night sky. The problem with these tools is once people get used to seeing them, they become invisible--they are just a part of the landscape, a message they take for granted.According to Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers To Persuasion And Captivation, there’s a better way.
Instead of begging people to pay attention to what you are saying, your goal ought to be to fascinate them. When others are fascinated by your message, their attention is automatically focused on you and your brand.
“Fascinating messages, like fascinating people, have the potential to consume us as almost nothing else can, sucking us into a vortex of intensity,” writes Hogshead. "Fascinating people…don’t just talk at us. They get under our skin and into our conversations….They earn our business, as well as our trust. Instead of getting us to merely notice them, the fascinating ones change us in some way.”
Both her book, Fascinate, and her branding test, The Fascination Advantage, are based on her Kelton Fascination Study of 1,059 Americans around the country, all 18 and older. In the study, fascination was defined as “Intense captivation. When something is fascinating, it captures your attention in an unusually intense way. It’s more than “interesting.” It distracts you from other things around you, and makes you want to pay complete attention….Note that when something is fascinating, it is not inherently good or bad, only that it captures your full attention.”
According to Hogshead, the study revealed the importance of fascination as well as seven universal triggers. And you don’t need all seven in order to engage your audience. In case you’re not quite convinced that your marketing should be fascinating, let’s address why boring marketing is so dangerous.
Facts are boring and at best mildly interesting if you really pay attention. But turn them into an infographic or a story and your message comes to life. In fact, the better the image, the better the story, the more fascinating the message.
Companies can also become boring. Add a personality behind the brand, however, and the business begins to pop. Think Papa John’s and the recent changes that Domino’s Pizza is trying to make. You add a personality and the whole brand becomes more engaging. It’s what Steve Jobs does for Apple — even now — and what you can do for your own business.
Said another way, boring is death to your brand. If it dies there’s another company ready to take your place.
It requires consistent and creative effort to figure out what makes you interesting to others, but this awareness is the lifeline to small business marketing and designing an effective brand message. In Part 2 of this series, How Fascinating Is Your Small Business Brand?, we’ll look at three simple actions that every small business can take to help their brand fascinate.