Imagine being a person who doesn’t know his or her potential? Or a brand, a company, an organization that hasn’t realized its greatest place in the world. Powered by the ideas, systems and thinking created by Sally Hogshead, the author of the New York Times best selling book Fascinate, there a movement is underway to change this. Join Sally and I for a conversation about how to fascinate…it’s well, fascinating. For more ideas on Uprising and movements, cultural movements and movement marketing, follow Uprising!!! on Facebook. We’ll continue to publish brand-new columns on a regular basis. Hey, do us a favor and please give Uprising!!! a review on iTunes. Scott Goodson is the author of best-selling book ‘Uprising: how to build a brand and change the world by sparking cultural movements,’ available on Amazon.com. Scott has helped create and build some of the world’s most iconic brands. He is founder of StrawberryFrog the world’s first movement marketing agency.
Uprising Interview transcript
Welcome to Uprising. Each episode takes a look inside what it takes to lead the most dynamic and successful cultural movements. Some of them in the business world, some in the social realm. Some in politics, and some in between. To see why people start uprisings. What gives those initiatives momentum and keeps them going? And most important, what lessons can you learn from these movements and how to apply them to your business and even personal life? Let’s explore the secret to sparking movement s that move people into action.
M: Passionate ideas.
W: Controversial ideas.
M: Uprising ideas.
W: The power is now in the hands of anyone.
M: To start a cultural movement, your movement–
B: To move the world.
Scott: This movement is about, well, you. Do you really know yourself? All your best qualities? Do you really know them ONe of my favorite movies is The Incredibles and what I loved about that film was that here was this normal, everyday family that had these unrealized superpowers. And the film is a great metaphor about what people want to know about themselves. And that’s what this episode of uprising is all about. The movement underway is all about people wanting to realize their full potential. And not just people, but organizations, companies, and people who build brands. And there are lots of people out there who are building brands who want to realize their full potential. So to start the show, let me ask a question. Do you know everything about yourself? More of us don’t, and as our world becomes bigger and we experience new ideas and open new doors thanks to the magic of technology which brings ideas and people and opportunities into our lives, we realize that they, maybe I’ve got more to me than I thought. Maybe there’s more to this brand than I think I have. Maybe there’s a lot more to what I’m doing than what I ever thought possible. More than my friends in middle school told me I was able to do. Sally Hogshead realized this and with literary magic wrote the New York Times bestseller Fascinate, a book and a system designed to help millions of people as well as companies ad brands realize their full potential and their highest worth. Sally, welcome to the show.
Sally: Hey, Scott. I’m happy to be able to talk to you today.
Scott: So what is this fascination movement all about?
Sally: We did a piece of research in which we asked people are you a better driver than the average person? And 80% of people said they’re a better driver than the average person, which of course isn’t possible. 50% are better and 50% are worse. And then we asked a different question. We said are you more fascinating than the average person? And the results were very different. Only 39% of people think they’re more fascinating than other people. In other words, 61% of people think they are less fascinating than the average person.
And when I first saw the results of the market study wde did I thought to myself, that’s just sad. And as I looked more deeply into the numbers, what wae saw was if you can measure something, then you can build your confidence in that area because you can manage it. You know the old expression what gets measured gets managed. But if you can’t measure what makes you fascinating, in other words those qualities within you or within your brand that make you admired and loved and cause people to evangelize for you, then it’s very hard to feel confident in that area. SO I wanted to build a system that shows individuals and brands what makes them most fascinating based on those principles that world-class ad agencies use.
Scott: And what are those secrets that the ad agencies use?
Sally: One of the things that ad agencies know very well is they have to find a way to differentiate the product. When we work on a brand, we’re always looking for how is it, not just better than the competition but how is it different than the competition. And we as individuals, though, don’t usually think of ourselves that way. We think of ourselves according to how can we be better or how do we have strengths? But the problem si if you’re only measuring on the basis of strength,s then you’re constantly in a battle of kind of competing head to head with other people or you’re trying to incrementally improve yourself instead of making a dramatic difference. And that’s what we learned. Among high performers among high performing individuals and brands is that different is better than better. IT’s better to be different than it is to be better.
Scott: It’s better to be different than it is to be better.
Sally: Different is better than better.
Scott: And fascinating is better than just being different.
Sally: Well if you’re not, if you’re not different then you’re a commodity and if you’re a commodity then you have to compete on the basis of price. And if you’re competing on the basis of price that’s a slow, sad downward spiral into obsolescence. So if you want to be able to compete in a crowded, competitive, distracted environment, as we all are, as our brands are, then you have to find a way to be different and apply that difference to add value to your customer, to your client, or to your consumer.
Scott: So what would you say if, you know, you met me and I’m an individual, young guy, start a unicorn startup, had this really great idea for an app. And I meet you and I’m saying I’ve pretty much figured out what I want to do for my marketing. I’ve got it covered. What advice would you give me?
Sally: Let me stand back and say okay, we’re not, we’re not talking about you as an individual, we’re talking about the brand, about the startup, right? Well the first thing we have to look at is how many other startups out there with apps that could compete against yours, and the answer is probably quite a few. So one of the things that especially as entrepreneurs is we fall into this trap of falling in love with our product, falling in love with our service and thinking that it is already innately different. And this is where the power of branding really comes in, is branding finds that one glittering quality within the brand and brings it out and makes it relevant and makes people fall in love with it, makes them want to evangelize for it so that people want to advocate to build a movement.
And so with this system I look back on my decade of working inside some of the best brands, some of the best ad agencies out there, and I saw that no matter which brand I was working with or which agency I was working at there were certain steps that are still the same. The first thing is you have to be able to identify why somebody should fall in love with the project. What is it about it? Is it so detail oriented that it can keep the consumer safe? Is it because it’s such a passionate brand that it gets people, their hearts well and they put their hands over their chest? Is it because it’s so prestigious that they’re willing to pay for money for it? Once you identify that it becomes pretty easy to start building a strategic roadmap. And this is what I call the seven advantages. And the system of seven advantages are almost like seven different buckets or seven different modes of communication. And once you establish that, once you establish what is the moe of communication that’s gonna be most authentically yours that you can own it he marketplace, then it become easy for you to make sure that you’re gonna have consistent messaging that builds momentum, attracts those losers, people that love your brand, and gets people out of the middle. Cause that’s one of the biggest problem that the startup entrepreneur that’s trying to release the app, is if you’re not turning off somebody you’re probably not very fascinating to anybody. Especially if you don’t have a huge marketing budget. If you’re trying to launch an app you have a choice You can either have the biggest advertising budget, biggest marketing budget of anybody in your category or you can be the most fascinating. And if you don’t have the biggest budget, if you can’t afford to buy enough paid media where you can pound the idea in over and over and over again, then you must be the most fascinating. But the problem is some of the most interesting companies and brands don’t have the biggest budget and so it’s important for them to be able to have a system to be able to stand out.
Scott: What personality triggers are more persuasive than others when you think about this fascinating brand or being this fascinating person. Both are, I mean, equally valid. What type of triggers really engage people?
Sally: There are seven of them, and this is what the sytem is built upon. I spent about four years researching. If you look at every great political speech, every big idea, even TED talks, they all fall into one of these seven different advantage categories. I mentioned a few of them a moment ago: passion, prestige, alert, which is the language of details. Prestige is the language of excellence. Power is the language of confidence. Trust is the language of stability. Innovation is the language of creativity. And mystique is the language of listening. ONce you know which language your brand speaks most authentically, that is gonna attract exactly the fans and the consumer that you want, it becomes much easier then to stop trying to be all things to all people. And I’ll give you an example. We did an experiment in which I gave women two pairs of sunglasses, and both sunglasses were exactly the same. THe only difference was one pair had a Chanel logo and the other pair did not. And I asked women how much would you be willing to pay for these sunglasses? They were willing to pay 400% more for the pair with the Chanel logo than for the pair that did not. So in other words they were buying sunglasses but they were actually paying for the logo. And that’s, that’s true of many brands. We’re Buying one thing but we’re paying for another. Another example is Morton’s salt. 80% of Americans buy Morton’s salt. But Morton’s salt is the exact same as generic salt, to the degree that if you sent the salt to a chemistry lab, a chemical lab, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But Morton’s can charge 187% more for what is the ultimate commodity product. It’s salt. So when you look at your brand, if you don’t want to compete on the commodity basis of price, then you have to tap into one of these advantages so that you can stand out without spending more money on the marketing budget.
Scott: That’s fascinating, the idea that, you know, salt is basically this white saline and crystals and then they put it in a package and people spend more on it. If you’d apply that, can you share some tips on some of the successful brands and how you should stand out today?
Sally: Let’s take a look at a brand that is so deeply fascinating that it has a major competitive disadvantage and the example I’m going to give you is a restaurant that’s in a little sleepy town named New Smyrna, Florida. My husband and I have a beach house in New Smyrna and there’s a drawbridge that has this annoying habit of going up and down randomly based on when the sailboats come through because the bridge is so low and the masts of the sailboats would hit it. So ding ding ding, the drawbridge goes up, traffic backs up, and it’s not a charming attribute. It’s actually really annoying. And there’s a little surf shack that’s at the base of the bridge and they were having a real problem attracting customers because you’d be sitting there enjoying your fish tacos and then all of a sudden ding ding ding and the cars would back up dn the exhaust would start fogging in your face. So the name of this bar which is Gnarly’s Surf Shack, Gnarly’s had a great marketing idea. They said when the bridge is going up, as soon as you hear ding ding ding, beers are only 25 cents. So bridge up, price down. And now Gnarly’s is flooded with more traffic, more customers than they can handle because they turned this major geographic disadvantage into the major feature point of why people go to Gnarly’s. Because everybody’s waiting for the bridge to go up.
There are a lot of brands like that. Brand tha thave a disadvantage that can become more like an advantage and when they use that advantage, a brand that is kind of paranoid, like I’ve fallen and I can’t get up or FedEx or an ambulance or a bank that’s gonna protect you from financial insecurity or Amazon telling you when you’re about to run out of cat food. When a brand protects you, and give you the exact details you need and piles details upon details, that’s gonna appeal to a certain type of consumer and not appeal to other types of consumers. Or it’ll appeal in certain situations like a brain surgeon but won’t appeal in others like say a masseuse. And so that’s alert, the language of details. And so brands that use alert, it’s in their best interest to be as finite and precise and meticulous and almost OCD in order for them to stand out in the market, but for other brands that would fele completely inappropriate. You know, Mini Cooper, Nike. They shouldn’t be standing out by having hyper attention to details.
Scott: So in today’s world you can go to market yourself and you can, you know, take your experience or lack of experience and try to market it or you can turn to Madison Avenue or where you used to work, very successfully I might add, or there’s this option where you can use a system that you’ve created in order to, within a very short period of time, develop a brand that is fascinating. How does that work?
Sally: The more I started looking at branding the more I realized that that doesn’t really exist. There is no do it yourself kit. There’s not really a shortcut. And I thought that was kind of unfair because hwt it means is you have to be a certain budget hierarchy in order to have a great brand. SO I took the system of branding and broke it down almost into a hack. Like there are growth hacks and life hacks. You can think about this like a branding hack. In other words, it’s’ kind of the fast pass to getting to your end message. The first step is to take the free assessment at brand fascination.com. And this is built on the same algorithm that we’ve used to measure almost a million individuals to understand what makes people fascinating. Now we’re doing it to help a brand identify what makes it fascinating. So in about 28 questions, it takes about 3 minutes and it goes through the same question-asking that a focus group might. You know in a focus group you can very quickly get a lot of meaningful feedback that isn’t necessarily conclusive but it certainly gives you some strategic direction. So you take the assessment, you go into part 2 of the book,and it describes for you what your results mean. In other words if you’re a primary trust brand, meaning you speak the language of stability, it’s really important for you to make sure that you avoid surprises. You have to deliver extremely reliably. You’ve got to do what you say, say what you do. You can’t be changing your logo around. You have to be sure that you’re very consistent in the words that you choose. And then in part three of the book we get into the actual messaging. Because my background was a copywriter, I saw that if you can give somebody just a few words to help them describe their brand or help them craft a message, a lot of times they could build upon that but they need those starting blocks. So I’m actually opening up the book right now while I’m talking to you. Let’s say if you’re a primary trust brand and you want to inject some passion into it, then words that you might use a dependable, approachable, and stable. So say you and I are working on a marketing assignment together. Let’s say, which is not the case, let’s say you’re not creative. Or maybe you’re not even involved in marketing. Maybe you’re in HR. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur trying to do it yourself. As long as I give you those starter words, then you can say to clients, we’re dependable, our location is approachable, we’re gonna be table in how we serve you. We’re gonna be hard working in how we deliver, etc. That’s the thing that I think is one of my favorite parts was actually testing out what are the words that describe different brands so that you can do the message yourself even if you don’t have background in branding. Almost like you can now build your bookshelves yourself or you can install your kitchen cabinets.
Scott: So this is the Billy shelf of branding. I mean it’s almost, or I could go even further, just as Susan Sontag dfid for photography or Marshall McLoone did for television, what you’ve really done is set it to provide a complete system for branding that you can as a small business or as a, as you said, in HR or any area, use those principles very effectively. So I have one last question for you and this is more a personal question. What do you strive for?
Sally: I want to create work that matters. And when I worked in advertising I just head over heels loved being a copywriter and I loved that process of coming in and articulating something that had never really been said in quite that way before. And my favorite things was writing manifestos. And Scott, you and I have written many manifestos, putting words to what a brand stands for at the very highest level, like an anthem. But eventually i decided I didn’t’ want to talk through brands anymore. i wanted to talk directly to people. And so I, because I’m a true creative person at heart, it’s very important to me that our brand never puts out anything that just takes up space. That every time somebody interacts with our brand, whether it’s a book or a blog post or an assessment, that they feel enlightened and empowered and inspired and it helps them understand themselves and the potential of what’s possible for their personality or for job interviewing or for dating, and also what their brand can become. That they can compete and stand out and be here and get people to take action tnd that’s really, I think that’s the core for all of us that are creating a movement, is that the world isn’t changed by people who sort of care or companies that sort of care. The world is changed by people and companies that are so irrationally devoted that they’re willing to go to seemingly impossible lengths to bring people in and to get them to care about the message, too.
Scott: Well Sally, i want to thank you for talking about your book today and also talking about how people can be fascinating and the process and system that you’ve created to help individuals but also brands become fascinating. Very much enjoyed it. Fascinating stuff. You bewitched me.
Sally: Can I ask one last thing, Scott?
Scott: Absolutely, yeah.
Sally: I think that the very last project I ever worked on advertising was you and I worked together pretty in-depth for about six months and I was living in Florida but I would spend a lot of time in the agency and working side by side with you and with all the amazing thinkers in your office. And that was really formative for me in looking at what a brand can become. and there are probably some principle that you can see inside of the pages of Fascinate that resonate with you because in some ways I discovered what does it mean to create a movement and to have advocates and to get people to take action. So I’m really grateful to you for being my mentor.
Scott: Well, I’m blushing. You can’t see it because we have no cameras on but you are an inspiration to me and to many, many, many people out there. And congratulations on your New York Times bestseller and we hope to have you back again sometime.
Sally: Awesome, Scott. Thank you.
Scott: Thank you so much.