Thanks to web browsing, the average attention span is now approximately nine seconds, according to a BBC report. That happens to be the same attention span as a goldfish.
Why is this important for marketers and advertisers? It means you’d better make a good first impression, and fast.
Still with me?
Whether you’re a brand, or a bachelor trying to find your soul mate on Match.com, you have only nine seconds to make an introduction, to make a connection. If you fail, you may never get another chance.
So how do you make the most of micro-attention spans? Sally Hogshead has the answer: Fascinate.
As the author of “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” Sally has to be at her most fascinating every time she speaks. And she certainly didn’t disappoint during her keynote presentation at a recent Linked Orange County gathering.
Your best is not enough
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if nobody sees it. Sally emphasizes, “being the best is not enough. It’s only enough if people know about it. Quality is not enough if you fail to fascinate.”
Sally is a marketing pro who views her craft as a form of “artificial fascination.” The longtime copywriter/creative director maintains that we don’t really need to use artificial means to fascinate and captivate.
One of Sally’s key findings is that fascination comes naturally—our brains are hardwired to fascinate and be fascinating. “You’re born with everything you need. You just need to identify it and express it,” she says.
“We don’t have to learn how to be fascinating. We have to unlearn how to be boring.”
Persuasion through fascination
Fascination is the most powerful way to influence decision-making. Sally explains, “If people are distracted, you don’t have the ability to change their behavior. If you want to persuade them, you must first understand how to fascinate them.”
During the course of writing her book, she studied neurology, history, psychology, and biological anthropology. Not to mention online dating: “the epicenter of the Fascination Battle Royale.”
If you want to create more moments of being fascinating to other people, learn the “Seven Triggers” and how to recognize them in yourself and others.
The 7 triggers of Fascination
- Power – You take command
- Passion – You attract emotion
- Mystique – You arouse curiosity
- Prestige – You increase respect
- Alarm – You create urgency
- Rebellion – You change the game
- Trust – You build loyalty
Whether you realize it or not, you already use the seven triggers. The aim of Sally’s book is to show whether you’re using the right triggers in the right way, to get the results you want. The seven steps can be applied to any type of communication challenge.
Fascinate was originally written for brands and messages. But Sally found that human beings are more fascinating than brands. (Plus, she was looking for better ways to get her kids to eat their vegetables.) So her newest research applies more to individuals.
During her Linked OC appearance, Sally “beta-tested” a brand-spanking new “personality branding” exercise on her audience. Since I wouldn’t want to spoil the experiment—or the storybook ending of her presentation—just pick up a copy of Fascinate for yourself or look for the updated edition of her book to be published in 2012.
By the way, I happen to be a combination of Passion and Mystique (aka “The Intrigue”).
How about you? What’s your personality brand? Take the test and share your results in the comments. (Unless you’d rather not because your primary trigger is Mystique, in which case I’ll understand.)