The Power of Fascination

Everyone in business wants to draw their market’s attention and hold it.  For the small business person, stories are a powerful way of doing this.  They’re not the only way but perhaps the most accessible approach to promoting a distinctive offer.  But perhaps stories are not enough.  To draw attention is a start but you want to hold attention and turn it into action.  This is the power of fascination.

There are some ethical considerations here.  The world of marketing is full of attempts to manipulate markets.  The goal is sales and where sales are the sole aim, manipulation appears to be the only option.  This may seem to be a harmless irritant but actually a powerful story can become dangerous.  History is full of brilliant rhetoricians who became tyrants.

However, sales are a small part of marketing.  It is legitimate to have a good product or service, find your market and draw their attention to it.  We’ve all experienced the pushy salesperson who we have repeatedly to tell “No”.  Good marketing should avoid that by making a genuine offer that will really help  with some problem the prospect cannot solve on their own.

With a complex offer you need to draw and hold your prospect’s attention .  This allows for a conversation that will sometimes lead to a sale.  I have recently found public speaking can be a powerful way of doing this.  I’ll report back on how I followed up on this experience and the results at a later date but I’m hoping to build some good working relationships from this experience.  My aim is to have the marketing conversations and arrive at a decision to work together or else a positive “No”.


Anyway, my aim today is to focus on fascination by reviewing a book by Sally Hogshead, “Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist“.  This is a revised edition of a book that has been around for a few years.  The revision is significant and took about 3 years.

The book is a good read and the real power in the writing comes from the way it deploys stories, dozens and dozens of them!  These stories alone are worth the price of the book.  They are not just entertaining but show many tactics businesses use to place their offers in the minds of the public.

As a result this is a book that will repay re-reading a few times to not only understand Hogshead’s principles of fascination but also to get a feel for how they might work for your business or cause.

Seven Advantages

Hogshead suggests there are seven advantages available to businesses.  These are strategies you can use to market your offers.  Some are approaches that immediately capture your market’s attention.  You can be innovative or passionate about your offer.  Here you, as it were, make a lot of noise and make sure everyone hears about you and your offer.

Alternatively, you may be more interested in a quiet, apparently unassuming approach.  You may have an old trusted brand or believe attention to detail.  Most people seeking insurance are not really that interested in razzmatazz – they want to trust you or believe you will exercise due diligence.

And quiet brands can be alluring; a little mystery can actually draw in customers who like that sort of thing.  Mystery can add prestige to a product or service.

You will note some things work better for established businesses, such as trust or prestige, while others might work better for new businesses.

Seven Tactics

The power of this approach lies in the ways you can combine the seven advantages.  So, if you are innovative you might use tactics inspired by trust to show how your innovations do not mean you will be here today and gone tomorrow.

Now, if you have seven advantages and they can each be combined with tactics inspired by the other six, you have 42 different approaches to branding your business.  This may be good news if you are looking for an approach that’s right for you, the chances are you might find one.  However, they can be somewhat daunting.

I recommend this book because it opens up a distinctive dimension to marketing, written by someone with significant experience in brand promotion.  However, it will leave you wondering where to go from here.  There is a supporting website and the option, I suppose, of contacting the author.  For my part I plan to read it again and work out how to digest it and apply it in my business.

What are the positive reasons for using fascination in marketing?  How can fascination help business owners enjoy their marketing?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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