Fascinate – Book Review

By: Sally Hogshead

The Golden Hallmarks:

Sally Hogshead introduces the golden hallmarks of a fascinating message, emphasizing the importance of provoking strong emotional reactions, creating advocates, becoming cultural shorthand, inciting conversation, forcing competitors to realign, and triggering social revolutions. These hallmarks serve as a guide to assess the effectiveness of fascination attempts.

Trigger #1 Lust:

Exploring the first trigger, Lust, the focus is on creating a craving for sensory pleasure. Hogshead suggests injecting emotion into the brand, engaging multiple senses, and highlighting the power of desire over fulfillment. The importance of teasing and flirting to maintain fascination is underscored.

Trigger #2 Mystique:

Mystique, the second trigger, revolves around the power of unanswered questions. Hogshead discusses the intrigue generated by withholding information, building mythology around a brand, and creating mystique through limited access. Unveiling the unknown keeps people captivated.

Trigger #3 Alarm:

The Alarm trigger compels urgent behavior by emphasizing negative consequences. Hogshead advises defining consequences, setting deadlines, and focusing on the most feared crisis. Alarm serves as a motivator for action, prompting individuals to avoid negative outcomes.

Trigger #4 Prestige: 

Prestige, the trigger of rank and respect, is explored through the idea of assets symbolizing prestige. Hogshead recommends developing emblems, setting new standards, and limiting availability to create an aura of unattainability. Prestige determines a brand’s position in the pecking order.

Trigger #5 Power:

Power, used for both good and potentially evil purposes, is discussed as a means to motivate others to rise to their best. Hogshead suggests controlling environmental elements to induce significant change and encourage people to defer to the message.

Trigger #6 Vice:

Vice involves deviating from the usual code of conduct, creating taboos, and stirring conversations. Hogshead introduces the concept of Vice with caution, urging brands to stand for something while using this trigger judiciously.

Trigger #7 Trust:

The granddaddy of triggers, Trust, is highlighted as a trigger that must be built over time. Hogshead emphasizes becoming familiar through exposure, maintaining predictability, and borrowing trust from established sources. Trust is portrayed as a crucial element in building stronger relationships.


The article serves as a playbook for leveraging the seven fascination triggers (Lust, Mystique, Alarm, Prestige, Power, Vice, and Trust) to become more fascinating to the target audience. The emphasis is on using these triggers responsibly and for the benefit of building meaningful connections and relationships. The playbook provides insights into the art of maintaining fascination and encourages the ethical use of newfound superpowers in the marketing landscape.

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