Brand Book Bites from How the World Sees You

Here’s my newest “brand book bite” — check out the full collection of write-ups and author interviews here.

–  the book:  How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination – a revealing resource about communication and influencehow the world sees you cover

–  the brain:  This is the second book from marketing guru and Hall of Fame Speaker Sally Hogshead.  Her first book, Fascinate:  Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation ignited the marketing world with a new understanding of how to influence customers’ decision-making. Now Sally has applied her research on how people can use fascination to attract attention and influence others – and the book is, well, fascinating.

–  the best bits:  The bulk of How the World Sees You explains seven “Fascination Advantages” and the communication archetypes that are created by your first and second advantages. But throughout the book there are some real words of wisdom:

  • It matters less how you see the world. It matters more how the world sees you.” – Assessing your personality through Myers-Briggs and your strengths through Strengthsfinder can help you develop insights about yourself, but the Fascination Advantage reveals the insights others have about you.  And those insights are most helpful when you want to effectively communicate with others because there is so much distraction, competition, and commoditization out there.
  • The greatest value you can add is to become more of yourself.” Each of us was created with specific abilities and when we live them out, we contribute something that no one else can and that delivers above and beyond what is expected.  Sally says, “100% yourself trumps 100% perfect” – what a great reminder!
  • You will never rise to your greatest potential by being all things to all people.”  This resonated with me because it is similar to one of the principles in my book, What Great Brands Do, Great Brands Don’t Chase Customers.  The Fascination Advantages show how you are naturally wired to communicate.  Not only is it unappealing to try to act in a way that’s not natural to you just to try to get attention (people value authenticity), but it’s also wasteful – why squander your time and energy chasing elusive audiences when you can attract those who really value all you have to offer?!

( Hear Sally talk about these principles in the podcast below.)

–  the brand story:  Unlike most of the books I cover, How the World Sees You isn’t intended to relay stories about brands and businesses – but it does include examples of how companies have used the Fascination Advantage system and one clearly demonstrates its value.  CommonWealth Planners, a financial services firm, used the Fascination Advantage during its hiring process.  It enabled them to interview less than half the number of recruits and double the percentage of hires from the talent pool because they were able to higher smarter based on each candidate’s highest and best potential contributions to the company.  The company president reports not only saving countless hours in hiring but also boosting sales performance by almost 50%.  The book outlines many other ways Fascination Advantage can be used by companies:  placing the right people with the right teams, enhancing communication, resolving conflict, and motivating people to work together toward common goals.

–  the bottom line:  If you have a message to share or people you want to develop relationships with, this book will help you do it effectively and confidently.

But more than that, it helps you understand and value yourself and others – and that is of infinite value.

–  the bonus:  Sally has generously given me a special code that allows my followers to take the Fascination Advantage Assessment. Give it a try:

  • go to: http://www.HowToFascinate.com/YOU
  • enter the code “DLYohn” (without quotes) along with your name, password and email address.
  • take the assessment and you’ll immediately receive your in-depth, custom report, which identifies your personality Advantages.

It’s that easy.  This code is only available for the first 500 participants and expires July 25, so do it now!  And then, tweet me (@deniseleeyohn) and Sally (@sallyhogshead) to share your results.

Listen to my conversation with Sally to learn:

  • why is “fascination” so important
  • how fascination differs from self-promotion
  • how the Fascination Advantage is like a mirror, showing you how people see you at your best
  • …and, if you’re interested, what my advantages and archetype are!

other brand book bites:



Denise: Hello this is Denise Yohn and welcome to the Brand as Business Bites podcast. The Brand as Business Bites podcast gives you a taste of insights and information about brands, businesses, and the people who work on them. It’s available on iTunes. For more stuff for your brain to chew on, please visit my website at DeniseLeeYohn.com.

A couple of years ago the marketing world was ignited with a new understanding of how to influence customer’s decision making. The catalyst was the book “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogshead. Now, Sally has applied her research to how people can use fascination to attract attention and influence others. And she has a new book called “How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination.” The book just became a number one Wall Street Journal best seller over the weekend. And Sally is here today to talk with us. So I want to welcome my colleague, and role model and inspiration, Sally Hogshead. Hi, Sally.

Sally: Oh, Denise, what an awesome introduction. Thank you.

Denise: You’re welcome.

Sally: You know what, I get this new flurry of excitement when you said number one Wall Street Journal best seller. Because it’s still new to me. It’s like somebody’s handing me a newborn. Thank you.

Denise: Oh, well, I am so excited for you and congratulations. Now, I am sure that many of my listeners are familiar with you and your tremendous background and achievement. So I actually just want to jump right into the book, “How The World Sees You” because it prompted so many questions for me. So first, let’s start with why fascinate? What does that word mean in the context of how you use it?

Sally: Now, why do we need to fascinate people? Why can’t we just earn their attention or interest them? When you look at branding, branding gives us the answer. When a brand fails to earn attention, the brand doesn’t have a close relationship. It doesn’t develop advocates and evangelists. The brand has to compete on price. The brand reminds me of a commodity.

In the same way, when you fascinate your listener, they’re totally focused on you. When you fascinate somebody, they’re in a neurological state of intense emotional focus. So imagine that you and I are sitting across the table from each other. If all I’m doing is earning your interest, then you might be thinking about your next meeting, your mind might be thinking about what’s going on, your iPhone messages that you’re scrolling in.

But if I’m fascinating you, then you’re completely focused on what I’m saying. And our personalities have a specific quality that will allow us to fascinate our listener, or fascinate our customer, or a prospect. And we can tap into that when we can focus on those ways in which we’re most likely to earn this intense emotional attention from our listener, then we’re going to be far more successful, we’re going to be most likely to make that person believe, and most of all, we’re going to be most likely to build relationships.

Denise: Wow. Great. Now, before we jump into the specific personality and advantages, there are a few quotes from the book that I’d just like to read to you and have you comment on them a bit. So the first is, you say it matters less how you see the world. It matters more how the world sees you. Talk to us about that.

Sally: Yes. You already know how you see the world. You grew up being told how you see the world. If you’ve ever done a test like Myers-Briggs, or StrengthsFinder, or DISC, traditional personality assessment tells you how you see the world. And this used to be really important information to have. But as things become more crowded, distracted, competitive, it doesn’t really matter how you see the world.

But what really matters is how the world sees you at your best. In other words, how does your customer see you? How does your listener see you? What do people value in you? When you know what people value in you, when you understand the personalities, most professionally attractive qualities, you can simply focus on those and stop being a commodity. You can stop trying to be all things to all people.

And when we go into companies and we study the top performers, we found that there is one thing that high performers consistently do differently. High performers don’t try to be all things to all people. They don’t try to be great at everything. They try to over deliver in one particular area. And so people associate a certain area of success with high performers.

For example, we’ve studied 300,000 professionals now. And when we go into companies and we see what are the top teams are doing differently. How are they getting the results that they’re getting? We see that they don’t try to be the vanilla of their category. In other words, they don’t try to just be pretty good at everything by having a bigger marketing budget. Instead, they over deliver like pistachio. That they have something very distinctive, memorable, and a very particular way that they communicate. And your personality can do that, too, once you understand how the world sees you at your best.

Denise: And that makes so much sense. You said something in the middle there about not trying to be all things to all people. And I think that is so true. I think that in our desire to make the most impact, we sometimes lose focus or lose the idea that we’re much better off if we actually do focus and really establish an expertise in one area.

Sally: You don’t have to change who you are. You have to become more of who you are. The problem that most of us have when we think about ourselves and our professional success and how we as individuals add value, is that we try to focus on our strengths. When we focus on our strengths, we’re comparing ourselves to other people and we’re on this exhausting hamster wheel of trying to outdo everybody else.

If you look at good friends, friends don’t focus on strengths. Friends focus on differences. If you can focus on your differences, in other words, what is some way that you deliver something that’s just slightly different, just a tiny bit different than everybody else? Then it makes it easier for you to stand out based on who you already are. You don’t have to change who you are. You have to become more of who you are. The greatest value that you can add is to become more of yourself.

Denise: Right. And you actually say that, you know, strengths people can outdo. But one of the quotes you have is, “Your personality is the only aspect of your work that nobody can copy.” Can you explain that?

Sally: Sure. I started for the first half of my career as a creative director in advertising. I was the creative director with brands like Coca Cola, Nike, Mini Cooper. Two brands that I worked on early in my career were BMW and Mini Cooper. And you probably know the BMW had a tagline for many years. It was “The ultimate driving machine.” And when BMW describes their product as being the ultimate driving machine, they’re not just talking about the product. They’re talking about the mindset of the company. They’re talking about people who work there, the people who buy for them. And people choose BMW because it’s the ultimate driving machine. And BMW comes out as a really special brand liked by consumers.

Mini Cooper, on the other hand, during their launch, Mini Cooper tried to do it too. Just as BMW has the ultimate driving machine, and Mini Cooper has the best motor, what is your anthem? If you can have a very clear idea of exactly what it is you provide to other people, the more likely that people are going to come to you for what you already naturally create.

The problem is we try to dumb ourselves down. We try to be great at many things. One of the things that I am very, very clear on is that I am not great at details. I am not great at patterns. I’m not great at routines. So it’s crucial to me to surround myself with people who are good at those things. So instead of hiring to replicate myself, I need to hire to optimize myself. And this is one of the secrets of great teams. People on great teams are not similar, they’re different. They focus on their differences so that they can optimize each other and get a better result than either one of them would be able to get individually.

Denise: That makes so much sense. Now, I know that you would like to talk about my assessment. So in order to do that, would you please explain some of the advantages, and then what an archetype is. And then we’ll get into my specific results.

Sally: Yes. When I first began studying this 10 years ago, I began looking at brands and how brands communicate. What is successful, or as you might say, what great brands do. And looking in terms of their communication patterns, I found that if we look at all types of communication, fascinating messages have certain things in common. And I call them advantages, seven different ways that messages earn attention and fascinate the listener.

For example, a message with passion is emotional. It creates an instant bond. Great brands and fascinating communicators understand the way the way in which they’re most likely to earn the attention and to fascinate their listener. You have a primary advantage and a secondary advantage.

Your primary advantage is prestige. Prestige is about higher standards. You speak the language of excellence. And anybody who knows your work knows this is true of you, that you’re always looking at how you can elevate things and improve things. Your secondary advantage is power. Power is the language of confidence. You’re an authority. You’re in control. you’re a natural leader.

When we combine your primary advantage with your secondary advantage, you are the victor. So Denise, this means that you’re going to be most successful in situations in which people are looking for a leader who’s respected, who’s competitive, who’s results-oriented. You’re not going to be successful in situations in which somebody’s looking for a follower. Somebody who’s comfortable with mediocrity. Somebody who just wants to clock out at five o’clock. That’s not you.

Denise: That’s so true.

Sally: That would be true of other people but not you. You have specific qualities in the way that you communicate. And the more that you can focus on those, the more that you can embody how the world sees you at your best, the more likely you are to feel in the flow, and in the groove, and to naturally succeed. So describe for me what it’s like to you when somebody says, “Denise, we’re looking for somebody who’s going to be respected, competitive and results-oriented.” How does that feel to you?

Denise: It feels absolutely the right fit for me. And what I was going to say was that your description was like, how can she know this about me? Not only was it so spot on, it was also very inspirational, and also very affirming in the sense that these are my advantages. And your book gave me lots of insights about how do I lean into those advantages and really use them to make an impact.

Now, I encourage you to share some of the cautions that I need to be aware of. Because you know, I think there’s this great quote that says that, “Every weakness is strength overdone,” or something like that. So there is also a downside to an advantage if it’s overdone. Is that correct?

Sally: Yes. Yes. Your advantages have pitfalls. There are certain situations in which something otherwise would be an incredibly effective quality that draws people to you and has them respect you, that if you overdo it, it becomes what I call a double trouble. A double trouble is when you exaggerate a certain trait to such a degree that it turns people off. We all have this. Everybody has a double trouble. And in the book, I describe how you can mathematically figure out what your double trouble is by taking a look at what happens when you exaggerate your strongest traits.

Let’s use for example, victors are fantastic at seeing a goal, going after a goal. But in certain situation, when you become stressed, or say you feel under pressure, you’re going to become so goal-oriented that you might alienate people around you because you would be so focused on that goal that you wouldn’t necessarily see what’s going on in your environment.

Other people have other double troubles. For example, people who are very trustworthy, people who use primary trust advantage. When they double down, in other words, when they are in their double trouble mode, then they become rigid, they are micro managing. They’re unmovable. They go for the safe option. They won’t try something new. They’re predictable.

And my personality has primary passion. That means that I love to connect. As I am sitting here talking to you, I am using hand gestures. I even use them when I’m on the phone. When passion personalities get into double trouble mode, they become too sensitive and too emotional. And so that quality that serves them as an advantage in some situations becomes something that is a liability that we need to watch out for.

Denise: Right. Okay. So let’s close with a couple of challenges that I’m sure that you’ve heard, such as some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of attracting attention, and being focused on how they present themselves and how they communicate because it seems so kind of self-promotional. What is your response to that concern?

Sally: If you have a message that you want to be heard, and you want to make a difference in the world, you need attention in order to do that. It doesn’t matter if you have the best ideas. Nobody notices or cares. When I was a creative director and I was developing ideas for brands, if I came into the meeting with a genius idea that could transform the course of a company’s career, but nobody noticed that idea, and nobody cared about that idea, I may as well never have had the idea in the first place.

In the same way, if you have a message that you want to share with your kids but they’re ignoring you, and they don’t care about your message, Well, then you’re probably not going to make that much of a difference. In the same way, all of us have messages that we want to get out there. It might be about our brand, it might be about a non-profit, it might be something that we believe in very, very strongly. In order for us to have that idea, make a difference, then we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our listener and most of all we owe it to our message to be the guardian of that message, to be the one that is going to be responsible for making sure that that message is heard, remembered and acted upon.

Denise: That makes so much sense. I think we need to be careful because some people may say that this may lead people to try to derive their worth from what others think of them versus understanding that they are valuable creations in and of themselves, regardless of whether or not others approve of them. And so do you have any thoughts or advice about how we keep centered on that while still working on leveraging our advantages?

Sally: Yes. And we need to think about a mirror, and looking at yourself in the mirror. It might feel a little bit awkward if you look in the mirror too long. You might feel like you’re being vain. A traditional mirror reflects the way that you see yourself, with all of your flaws and your insecurities. But imagine if you have a different kind mirror. And this mirror shows you how other people see you at your best. In other words, when you look into this mirror, you see the qualities that people love about you, and that they want from you, and they need from you. In that way, you can embody those qualities that you become much bigger in the world and you’re able to do more. You’re able to have more influence. You’re able to shape people’s opinions and their behavior. You’re able to create a bigger network. You’re able to create better relationships.

That’s what this book is. It is showing you how the world sees you at your best so that you can become more of that. The greatest value that you can add is to become more of yourself. So if you really want to contribute to people at a high level, then you don’t just need to know how you see the world. You need to know what other people want from you so that you can give it to them.

Denise: Sally, you have done a great service by writing this informative, really fascinating book, “How the World Sees You.” I know that you’ve already opened my eyes as to how I can be more effective as a communicator as well as how I can work with others better. So please tell my listeners how they can learn more and how they can buy the book.

Sally: Wonderful. Well, I love that question. You can get the book at Amazon, or at your local bookstore, or you can come to HowTheWorldSeesYou.com. And I love connecting with people on Twitter. I’m @sallyshogshead on Twitter.

Denise: Great. Sally, thanks so much for sharing with me today. Best wishes on a continued successful book launch.

Sally: Thank you so much, Denise. I know that as my fellow author, that you and I can clink glasses of champagne, and know that writing a book is very different than writing an ad campaign, or writing a marketing plan because it’s such a journey and such a labor of love. So thank you for allowing me to share this with your listeners.

Denise: Oh, thank you. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye. That’s it for today. Thanks for listening to the Brand as Business Bites podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so your brain will always be filled with good stuff to chew on. For more information or to contact me directly, please visit my website at DeniseLeeYohn.com. Take care and thanks again.

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