For most of us, pay raises don’t come as often as we’d like. We can do something about that if we take the time to become fascinating, says bestselling author Sally Hogshead.
Speaking at the recent Authority Rainmaker conference here in Denver, Hogshead used a multitude of examples to demonstrate how brands that stand out earn more. For example, sunglasses featuring the Coach (COH) logo command 400 percent more than unbranded pairs. Morton Salt is priced 200 percent higher than generic alternatives.
Yet none of the examples hit home so much as her spiel about Jagermeister, since it included Hogshead joining a member of the audience in taking a shot of the stuff minutes after the conference’s 8:30 a.m. kickoff. Of course, what matters is that sales of Jagermeister rose 40 percent annually during Hogshead’s time working for the company as a brand steward. And they continue to grow to this day. Why? She says it’s because Jagermeister is fascinating — a brand so different that it has to be tried to be believed. “And different is better than better,” Hogshead said her in speech.
In her latest book, “How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination,” Hogshead lays out a process for helping workers unleash their own fascination advantages to earn more and live better.
Wait. Fascinating? Me?
Hogshead is a marketer and advertising copywriter by trade, so it’s not surprising that what she’s pitching is a process for helping workers market themselves. “If you can find a way to take who you are and what you’re already doing right and then condense that into a marketing message, it becomes really easy for your ideal clients and customers to come find you,” she said in her speech.
Call it a plea to become more fascinating.
After studying more than 600,000 people, Hogshead says she’s certain that everyone has “Fascination Advantages.” She cited seven, specifically, noting that we all have two primary advantages and one dormant advantage from this list: Innovation, Passion, Power, Prestige, Trust, Mystique and Alert. Performing work that highlights your greatest advantages is the key to earning more. Performing work that requires your dormant advantage is often exhausting, Hogshead said.
Put differently: A test pilot whose primary advantage is Alert should be able to spot even the slightest aerodynamic flaws at high speed without so much as a nervous tic. But delivering an impassioned keynote speech if he were required to do so might induce night sweats.
What You Do Differently, What You Do Best
Putting yourself in the right circumstances is only part of the process, unfortunately. In her speech, Hogshead argued that workers should be thinking like marketers. How do we add distinct value? The answer, she said, is in defining what we do differently than our peers, and what we do best — and then rolling that up into an “anthem” for use on a resume, in an interview, or in a new business pitch.
“When I was a copywriter and a creative director, I was figuring out what makes the brand different and what the brand does best,” Hogshead said. “The breakthrough I had five years ago is that the same is true for us. If we can identify what makes us different and what we do best, then it’s really easy to position ourselves in a crowded marketplace.”
Different Is Better Than Better
How can you create your own anthem? Simple. Answer Hogshead’s two key questions and then combine the results into a phrase:
- What makes me different? You’re looking for an adjective because it’s a descriptor. It’s relative to the competition. For a writer, it most likely describes style: witty, educational, structured or, for me, off-the-wall.
- What do I do best? Here, you’re looking for a noun because it describes the action or the deliverable that you provide. For a writer, this is the type of content being offered: news, analysis, training or, for me, financial content.
So my anthem is “providing off-the-wall financial content.” Is that saleable at a good rate? I’ve been supporting a family of five writing for The Motley Fool for the better part of 12 years, so I’d say yes. And why not? It’s a different approach, and as Hogshead puts it, “different is better than better.”
Motley Fool contributor Tim Beyers is fascinated by chinchillas. Especially the fuzzy ones. Find him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free (and fascinating!) report on one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.