Episode 65 | Posted on

Having an Authentic Brand in a Distracted World: Sally Hogshead

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This Week’s Guest:

The incredible Sally Hogshead has done it all. She’s a branding expert who founded her own ad agency in her 20s and has worked with prestigious companies like Nike, Godiva, and MINI Cooper. She’s also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, Fascinate and How the World Sees You.


In this conversation, it becomes very clear that she also has a deep, nuanced understanding of human nature and communication. She explores how your personality and goals should shape the message you share with the world, and how having all these things in alignment offers the potential for a more powerful message.


This conversation previously aired as episode 44 on my other podcast, The Optimized Geek, but it’s so great I had to share it with my Marketing Speak listeners too! With that said, though, I suggest checking out The Optimized Geek if you aren’t already a regular listener. You’ll learn many tips, strategies, and methods to transform your life, body, and health.


Find Out More About Sally Here:

@SallyHogshead on Twitter
Hogshead on Facebook


In This Episode:

  • [04:06] – Sally starts off by emphasizing the importance of making sure we have the same understanding of words. She then shares her definition of the word “brand” and gives a couple of examples. These days, she says, everything we do is either adding value to or damaging our brand.
  • [07:31] – Next, Sally gives us a look “inside the golden hallways of a high-end ad agency” by discussing the example of MINI Cooper. She then discusses how this relates to smaller companies, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs.
  • [10:04] – We learn what the term “anthem” means in advertising through several examples.
  • [11:23] – Stephan shares his own example of an anthem.
  • [14:19] – Sally takes a moment to rave about the experience of helping brands find the right words to describe themselves. She then explains that all communication can be put into seven different categories and gives some insight into how this applies to brands.
  • [17:58] – Stephan offers LifeLock as an example of an alert brand. Sally agrees with his assessment, and elaborates on it. She then explains that  these seven categories apply to people too, with each of us having a primary advantage.
  • [21:35] – Does Sally have any processes or tips for stepping into our best selves? She starts her answer by offering an example of needing to balance a trust company with an innovation message. She then offers three recommendations.
  • [27:28] – In response to Sally’s client “Mountain Dew” anecdote, Stephan shares a story of his own on connecting with a client whose internal and external messages were incongruent.
  • [29:47] – Sally talks about the terms “quicksand” and “wellspring.” A wellspring is a situation that allows you to fully apply your natural advantages. For Sally, that’s sitting down and writing headlines or short-form copy. Quicksand, on the other hand, is something that takes a disproportionate amount of energy and doesn’t allow you to show up at your best.
  • [32:37] – Sally applies these concepts to a completely different type of personality: Dan Kennedy. His wellspring is being able to sit and think through concepts intensely. His quicksand is emotional connection in which he has to fake interest or hug strangers. Jay Abraham’s wellspring is coming up with nonlinear ideas very rapidly. His quicksand is micromanaging his own thinking and following a formalized script, or going through details in a way that doesn’t allow creative freedom.
  • [34:23] – Stephan takes a moment to talk about flow and being in a flow state. He then shares his own wellspring and strengths. His quicksand, he reveals, lies in details. He then discusses the finite nature of willpower.
  • [39:05] – This time, Sally asks Stephan a question: when we’re working on something that requires a tremendous amount of willpower, does that lead to unhealthy behaviors? They discuss willpower, the allocation of time, and abstinence versus moderation.
  • [43:43] – We hear Sally’s thoughts about hiring people based on their wellspring and quicksand. She recommends having people take the Fascination Advantage Assessment (free to Marketing Speak listeners with the code “GEEK”), then gives examples of how to use this when managing people.
  • [47:56] – Is Sally a speaker who writes or a writer who speaks? Her answer reveals that you aren’t necessarily wired one way or the other, but something that can change depending on our experiences and what we practice.
  • [50:38] – Sally shares another perspective on this question, framing it in a more conceptual way.
  • [52:41] – Stephan explains how to get Sally’s free gift (howtofascinate.com/you code: geek)
  • [53:17] – We learn more about the Fascination Advantage Assessment, which takes about three minutes and tells you about how the world sees you at your best.
  • [55:21] – Sally has two training programs: one for personal brands and one for businesses. She talks more about the programs she offers. Her Fascination Business System is for people who don’t have the budget to hire an agency, but understand the need to differentiate themselves.
  • [57:12] – To wrap things up, Sally shares a final parting thought: the world isn’t changed by people who sort of care. You have to passionately care and find something that fascinates you and allows you to become fascinating.

Links and Resources:

@SallyHogshead on Twitter
Hogshead on Facebook
Dan Kennedy
Jay Abraham
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler
Strengths Finder Test
Fascination Advantage Assessment
Robert Allen



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