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Transform your video marketing strategy using the 7 fascination triggers

Author's avatar By Neil Davidson 10 Apr, 2012
Essential Essential topic

How the ‘7 fascination triggers’ will help viewers engage with your brand

Video is a great new way to communicate your business to the world.

Imagine you have found a great production company to help you create shiny, amazing video content. And you have set a filming date and allocated a reasonable budget to make sure you get it right.

But you have no idea what message you want to get across - or what you’re going to film.

The ‘7 fascination triggers’ is a useful tool to help you work out how best to tailor your strategy to elicit the desired response from your target markets.

So what does it take to be fascinating?

How can you grab your audience’s attention and hold it long enough for your message to be heard loud and clear?

The key, according to Sally Hogshead, is to have an understanding of the fascination triggers so you can spark interest and fascination in your audience.

At first glance this might sound a bit like corporate psychobabble. But, give it a chance - Hogshead has developed the ‘7 fascination triggers’ theory by researching 100,000 people’s relationships with some of the world’s top brands.

As far as Sally Hogshead is concerned, the fascination triggers are fact.

Humans have been fascinating and fascinated since the beginning of time. The fascination triggers are hardwired into our brains and, once you understand them, you can use them to evoke the specific responses you desire in your target audience. The triggers form part of a predictable and, therefore, controllable system.

The 7 fascination triggers


The 7 triggers apply in all areas of life. The following summary includes some specific examples of how a brand might embody a specific trigger and how this could impact its relationship with its customers:

  1. Power - ‘Power’ people are in command of their environment and their opinion has authority. Sometimes people want to relinquish control; they want someone else to be in charge so that they don’t have to be. Personal trainers are an example of an authority figure a customer is happy to relinquish control to; in this case, control of an aspect of their personal health and fitness.
  2. Passion/Lust - People with passion as their primary trigger make quick emotional connections and inspire closeness from customers. This trigger will transform customers into advocates. Customers will become passionate about your business and will be more likely to make recommendations, ‘tweet’ about you and share your links. These customers feel they have a meaningful relationship with you. Examples include serving staff at your local coffee shop who remember your favourite drink to a hotel offering a VIP check-in service for your dog.
  3. Mystique - People with mystique as their primary trigger don’t over-communicate. They always hold something back so, when they do have something to say, it is influential. Brands have a tendency to oversell. Mystique is the trigger that will make people curious, drawing them closer. Jagermeister is the example Hogshead uses. Nobody knows what is in it and most people don’t like the taste, but lots of people drink it; they are intrigued and enjoy the brand experience.
  4. Prestige - Prestige people seek to achieve high standards and tangible evidence of their success. They work hard to gain the respect of their customers and colleagues. Prestige is about perceived respect. The more you respect something, the more you are willing to pay for it. We are surrounded by examples of brands that can charge more than cheaper ‘supermarket own brand’ equivalents. These brands are less vulnerable to price-driven defections because they have earned a particular reputation and are seen as ‘experts in their field’.
  5. Alarm - Alarm people are motivated by a desire to avoid problems. They will keep track of the details in order to avoid any unexpected issues. Alarm is the trigger to use if you want to inspire an immediate reaction from your audience. Showing people a negative consequence is likely to inspire action and we are surrounded by examples of how effective this approach can be. Ebay’s deadlines are a great example of how alarm triggers affect customers. We can’t help but feel we don’t want to ‘miss out’. People seem to have a stronger urge to avoid ‘losing out’ than they do to gain something new.
  6. Rebellion/Vice - People with rebellion as the primary trigger are innovators. They are self-starters who like to challenge the status quo. In order to connect with this trigger in your customers, it is important to recognise people like to do things they aren’t supposed to do. Our brains don’t want things to be the same all the time; we like to see something new, different and exciting. For example, Groupon took an established concept and turned it upside down.
  7. Trust - People with a trust personality gain respect and build loyalty through consistency and dependability. To garner respect from your customers you need to be predictable. Eliminate any sense of uncertainty or chaos; people know exactly what to expect from you and can feel comfortable. This is the opposite to a ‘rebellion’-based approach, as an element of surprise can break trust.

How to use the 7 triggers in your video marketing strategy

Now it’s worth considering how the 7 fascination triggers can help you get your messages across more effectively in your video marketing strategy.

First ask yourself “What do I want from my audience?” This should help you identify which triggers you want to tap in to and produce some ideas on how to accomplish it.

Fascinate with passion

You have identified that customers only feel a lukewarm connection with your business and are struggling to buy-in to your brand or product. The solution would be to ‘fascinate with passion’; using strong emotion to communicate your message.

Possible ways to achieve this include:

  •  Select a web presenter for your video who is warm, passionate and can deliver your message in the way you want it to be heard
  • Feature staff and management from your organisation in your videos who you feel best represent what your business is about.

Fascinate with alarm

Your main goal is to turn those pageviews into sales. The alarm trigger would be an obvious tool to create a sense of urgency in your customers. You might:

  •  Feature a discount with a deadline in your video
  • Use examples of how other businesses are getting ahead of their competitors using your service or product to create a feeling of ‘not wanting to be left behind’
  • Offer a free gift for the first x number of purchases

Fascinate with prestige and trust

You want to establish your business as a market leader and a trustworthy option for your customers. Tap into the prestige and trust triggers to gain respect and loyalty. Some possible ways to achieve this include:

  • State facts and figures in your video script to act as proof that you are who you say you are; i.e. a leader in the field
  • Use qualitative customer feedback to demonstrate you are trusted by your customers
  • Use customer case studies and video reviews

The goal of your video is to engage the viewers’ interest for longer than the average nine second attention span. Keep this goal in mind while developing your video strategy; ‘fascinate or fail’.

Take the ‘Fascination advantage’ challenge

Hogshead’s research has established that we all have built in ‘fascination triggers’ that your brand can reflect and cultivate; her website features a Fascination Advantage Test to help you identify your primary personal fascination triggers. The test is ‘not about how you see the world, it is about how the world sees you’.

Author's avatar

By Neil Davidson

Neil Davidson is the Founder of MWP Digital Media, a leading Corporate Video Production Company. He also runs My Web Presenters who specialise in creating video spokesperson videos. They work with businesses of all sizes to create and market compelling and emotive videos that get specific and clear results. If you would like to have a conversation about how to create video for the web then please  contact Neil here.

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