Do You Want To Fascinate More??

Cover of "Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to P...

Start by visiting Sally Hogshead’s website,  or, or read her book Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.  I started with her book, which I liked so much that I went to her websites, and took the Fascination Advantage Test and received the Fascination Advantage Report.  The Report was as good if not better than most of the personal assessments that I have encountered over the years and I highly recommend it.

In her book, Sally identifies seven fascination triggers (a fascination trigger is a trait or aspect that sparks fascination in others):

  • Lust – fascinates through passions of sight, sound, taste, touch and scent.  Sally relates a quote by Maya Angelou “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
  • Mystique – sparks curiosity.  For example, the Bermuda triangle or murderers like Jeffery Dahmer.
  • Alarm – evokes action with the threat of adverse consequences.  Fedex inspires action when it absolute has to be there.  Sally advises that people are driven to action not by the crisis most likely to happen but the one most feared.
  • Prestige — fascinates us with symbols of rank and respect.
  • Power – (need I say more? Is anyone not fascinated with power?)
  • Vice – temptation by forbidden fruit:  the fruit in the Garden of Eden or Pandora’s box
  • Trust – comforting with certainty and reliability

Sally notes that the power of branding is to change something that is boring into something fascinating — anything, by itself, is not fascinating unless it taps into one of the triggers.  Customers may not buy for the utility of an item but for the fascination trigger – what they associate with the item.  She also identifies the characteristics of a fascinating message: (see Sally’s blog THE 6 GOLD HALLMARKS: How to measure if you are fascinating.  A fascinating message or brand:

  1. Provokes strong and immediate emotional reaction
  2. Creates advocates
  3. Becomes “cultural shorthand” for a specific set of actions
  4. Insights conversations
  5. Forces competitors to realign
  6. Triggers social revolutions

She helps readers evaluate their existing message and asks “What core values is your brand so committed to that it would be willing to go out of business before sacrificing them?”  She helps develop a fascinating brand message by asking questions that seek to uncover how a brand is fascinating.  She advises readers to go through the seven triggers and consider the possibility of how it can be incorporated into the branding message.  Finally, she provides guidance on executing the brand message.

I liked her book, which led me to her websites where she has refined the fascination triggers.  Lust evolved into Passion and Vice evolved into Rebellion.  It is easy to see whey Passion and Rebellion are more appropriate for branding than Lust and Vice, although the underlying concepts remain similar – Lust fascinates through passions and Vice tempts through not “doing what you are supposed to.”  See also Sally’s video, “What Happened to LUST and VICE?”

I was particularly impressed by the way Sally takes the triggers and shows how they add value and how co-workers fascinate:

7 ways to add value


How your co-workers Fascinate

I took the Fascination Advantage Test and received the report.  Initially, I was skeptical, but after a more careful review, I was really impressed.  The report provides a Primary Trigger, Secondary Trigger and Dormant Trigger.  The report says that I am a Trendsetter, and my Primary Trigger is Rebellion, my Secondary Trigger is Prestige, and my Dormant Trigger is Mystique.  I don’t consider myself a Trendsetter (if anything I’m more of a “the second mouse gets the cheese” person), nor do I view myself as particularly rebellious or prestigious.  But then I read the descriptions of these categories.

My Primary Trigger, Rebellion, describes someone who “Embraces opportunities for change and exploration”; “Values innovation and cutting-edge thinking”; and “Inspires brainstorming and inventive problem solving”.  The ways in which this person adds value are to “quickly solve problems with fresh solutions”; and “generate ideas that surprise people with a new perspective”.  Finally, when at work, it says “You are curious, unconventional, and seek new options.”  I may be more “rebellious” than I thought since the description seems to fit.

The descriptions of someone with Prestige as a Secondary Trigger include:  “Focuses on adding value through better execution”; “Conscientious of the smallest details” and “Expects highest quality deliverables from self and others.”  Someone whose Secondary Trigger is Prestige adds value in the following ways:  “You influence people through your high expectations of yourself and others” and “You constantly envision ways to improve and upgrade.”  When at work, “you naturally seek the next level of accomplishment.”  So Sally may be onto something after all;  both Rebellion and Prestige provided accurate descriptions.

Finally, the Report identifies a Dormant Trigger– Mystique.  Someone with Mystique as Dormant Trigger is “an expressive communicator, easily sharing ideas and options.  Candid and forthright, … know[s] how to speak [one’s] mind.”  In addition, this person is someone who does not “hide emotions or opinions.  Some may even refer to you as an open book.  Can be enthusiastic, even dramatic, at times…People can always know where they stand with you.  Because you have difficulty hiding how you feel, others can pick up on your attitude and mood.”  Also an accurate description.

By now, I’m on board and have become a true believer of the test and report.  While I may not be comfortable with the titles (I still don’t think I’m a trendsetter, or all that rebellious or conscious of prestige), I am impressed with and, may I say, even fascinated by Sally’s work, the accuracy of the descriptions of behavior and tendencies, and in particular, the guidance on how to add value.  I highly recommend her book, the test and report.  For me, I am considering the next step – purchasing “Win the Moment — A step-by-step method to immediately communicate your highest value.”


  • Nathan S. Gibson

    Nathan S. Gibson is an independent worker compliance business partner who provides expertise and creative solutions to enhance workforce flexibility and maintain compliance. He helps mitigate the risks associated with the misclassification of self-employed consultants, freelancers and independent contractors.

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