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A Fascinating Interview with Sally Hogshead on Authority, Marketing Success and Personal Brand #authority2015

Posted on Mar 19th, 2015
Written by Lee Odden
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  • A Fascinating Interview with Sally Hogshead on Authority, Marketing Success and Personal Brand #authority2015
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    Sally Hogshead

    Energetic, enthusiastic, smart, funny – fascinating. Those are the words I would use to describe Sally Hogshead. You know, Sally Hogshead, the best-selling author, hall of fame speaker and CEO of Facsinate Inc?

    Sally is one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming conference in May from our friends at Copyblogger Media: Authority Rainmaker.

    As a preview to her presentation and in between flights, she agreed to answer a few questions about influence, authority and a brand she finds most fascinating. Sally also reveals why we should spend less on marketing and why consumers will spend a LOT more. Her answers are insightful, entertaining and some of them definitely involve fascination.

    Much of your work focuses on how individuals can use ‘fascination’ to help gain trust, respect and influence. How do brands benefit from ‘fascination’?

    Fascination is an intense focus. When you fascinate your customers, they become intensely focused on your message. They’re also more likely to believe, care about, and retell your message. And, they’re more likely to buy your products.

    For the first half of my career, I was a copywriter for brands such as Nike, MINI Cooper, and Coca-Cola. I learned that every brand has a choice: Either have the biggest budget, or be the most fascinating. That’s especially true for challenger brands that must compete more effectively against a market leader.

    The goal here is not to spend more money on marketing. It’s actually the opposite: to spend less money on marketing, by improving your message rather than increasing your media budget.

    In fact, my recent research shows that people will pay up to 400% more for a brand that fascinates them – even if the product itself is a commodity. In other words, by fascinating consumers, you can charge up to four times more—without changing the product itself!

    Can you share an example of a person who you find to be truly ‘fascinating’? Bonus: Can you share a ‘fascinating’ brand?

    Not ImpossibleI’m fascinated by my buddy Mick Ebeling. We became friends about 15 years ago when we were both living in Venice Beach, California. Mick is this tall, bald firestorm of creativity and charisma. Recently, he took a team to war-riddled South Sudan, and printed 3-D prosthetic arms for amputees. Imagine that. A non-tech guy finding a way to give people back the ability to feed themselves. Unbelievable. Before Mick came back home he made sure those Sudan villagers can continue printing arms. He wrote a book about it, named Not Impossible. The guy is ridiculously fascinating.

    And how about a corporate brand? Sometimes, “boring” brands are the most fascinating. For instance, it’s pretty incredible that consumers spend 187% more for Morton’s salt than generic salt– even though they are chemically the exact same product. That’s the power of branding: to make the un-fascinating, fascinating.

    Many influential people who are considered subject matter authorities also have lesser-known and often surprising skills or areas of expertise. An example is Bruce Willis. Best known as a talented actor, he is also a skilled harmonica player. What is one interesting skill or area of expertise you have that is not well known? The more surprising the better.

    I have to admit… I make amaaaazing frozen drinks. It’s not as easy as it looks. The secret is to let the blender “burp.” Blend the ice just enough time to get a slushy texture, but stop before it gets watery so that the vortex mixture makes that funny burp sound as soon as you turn it off. My favorite ingredients: lemonade and fresh mint with crushed ice and Patron. Mmmm. Hey, can I bring a blender on stage with me at Authority Rainmaker?

    Yes, please!

    Most successful people have others they consider to be more authoritative than themselves. Who is an influential person you consider to be such an authority? In other words, when they talk, you listen.

    My dad. He’s 82 years old, a retired surgeon, and the first person in his family who ever went to college. Whenever I have to make a big decision, I think of my dad, and how he’d solve the problem. His moral compass is unfailingly perfect direction.

    There’s an old saying, “perception is the reality” which is especially true today online and on social networks. What advice can you give young marketing professionals about creating and managing their personal brand?

    I love this question. It’s been my core area of study for the past decade. It’s even the topic of my last book, How the World Sees You.

    After studying 600,000 professionals, I found that we each have specific traits that define how we’re perceived. It’s like a built-in personality specialty. Once you know how people see you at your best, you become far more impressive and influential.

    Want to find out how the world sees you? Here’s a little present. Use this code for a free assessment, and get your most fascinating traits.

    The Fascination Advantage:  Most personality assessments tell you how you see the world. Only one measures how the world sees you. Here is your private code to find out how the world sees you:

    1. Go to
    2. For the access code, enter: COPYBLOGGER

    The Fascination Advantage is the first marketing-based personality assessment. Answer just 28 questions, and you’ll find out how others perceive you.

    What practical piece of advice about marketing success do you find yourself sharing more than any other?

    Don’t underrate your ability to fascinate. Here’s what I mean. On average, people grossly overrate their ability to drive. In fact, people believe they are in the top 80% drivers. However, in our studies, we found that the opposite is true when it comes to the ability to communicate. Only 39% consider themselves to be more fascinating than average. Why do we overrate our skills, but underrate ourselves? (How sad is that?)

    In a sense, most of us were schooled to avoid being too fascinating. As kindergartners we’re taught to stand in line for class. Color within the lines. Raise a hand. Wait your turn. Standing out is labeled as misbehaving.

    The problem is, the real world isn’t like that. At least, not anymore. In today’s world—the one with distracted clients, bigger competitors, and people who are willing to work for less than you—the old model is deeply flawed.

    You will not win by being invisible. Today, you win by being seen and remembered. Stand out, or don’t bother.

    Let’s play social network word association. How would you succinctly describe each network below?

    Social Network Word Cloud
    I chose a food theme for my word association!

    • Facebook – Meatloaf and mashed potatoes (because it’s a classic)
    • LinkedIn –Kale salad (because it’s healthy and virtuous)
    • Twitter – A bag of mini Oreos (Pop a few in your mouth)
    • YouTube – A bucket of movie theater popcorn (because you can have a bit or the whole thing)
    • Vine – Chiclets gum (little pieces of instant gratification)
    • Snapchat – Cotton candy (it immediately melts in your mouth before you can eat it)
    • Instagram – Homemade macaroons (personal and crafted)
    • Pinterest – Potato chips (you can’t eat just one)
    • MySpace – raw meat that’s been left out on the counter too long

    About Sally Hogshead 
    After a decade as one of the world’s most award-winning copywriters, Sally Hogshead began researching personal brands. Today, she has measured personal brands of 600,000 people around the world. Her latest book, How the World Sees You, became a NY Times bestseller. Sally is one of only 200 professional speakers in the world to be inducted into the Speaking Hall of Fame.

    Thanks Sally! We’ll see you in Denver this May for Authority Rainmaker

    Check out our previous Authority Rainmaker interviews with Sonia Simone and Daniel Pink. Next up is our final interview in the series with Copyblogger Media CEO, Brian Clark.

    Authority Rainmaker

    The Authority Rainmaker conference features an incredible lineup of authoritative marketers and business leaders offering inspiration as well as a framework for integrated marketing. Over two days, presentations will cover Design, Traffic, Content and Conversion topics.

    Here’s the full list of speakers representing some of the top marketing talent you’ll ever get to learn from plus some of the biggest names in content, social media and search marketing:

    • CEO of ion Interactive, Scott Brinker
    • VP Marketing at Copyblogger Media, Jerod Morris
    • Digital Marketer, Michael King
    • Co-founder of Idea Incubator LP and CEO of, Ryan Deiss
    • Marketing Strategist, Sean D’Souza
    • Director of Special Projects for Copyblogger Media, Pamela Wilson
    • Founder, The Story of Telling, Bernadette Jiwa
    • VP of Marketing at Porch, Joanna Lord
    • CEO of Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi
    • Chief Content Officer and Co-Founder of Copyblogger Media, Sonia Simone
    • The Definitive Expert on Search Marketing, Danny Sullivan
    • Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, Ann Handley
    • Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker Scott Stratten
    • CEO of Owner Media Group, Chris Brogan
    • CEO of Copyblogger, Brian Clark
    • Musician, actor and activist, Henry Rollins

    If you’re looking for one of the best conference experiences, from learning to networking – Copyblogger’s Authority was one of my top 3 conference experiences in 2014.  This year it’s going to be even better. Check it out while early bird rates still apply.

    Disclosure: Copyblogger Media is a TopRank Marketing client.