Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

A great mix of product marketing, influence and psychology, backed up by some fascinating pieces of research.hooked

The hooked model that Nir guides you through is a way of using habits to drive use of your product. Or, put another way – building the marketing into your product.

From the words of Nir himself: “Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users daily routines and emotions.”

The hooked model that Nir uses (the book includes comprehensive examples on how to apply) includes:
1. Trigger (external or internal)
2. Action (the behaviour done in anticipation of the reward)
3. Variable reward
4. Investment (when the user puts something into the product. e.g. completes their profile, invests money)

Here’s a great summary of the hook model from the book:

“What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? (Internal trigger) What brings users to your service? (External trigger) What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? (Action) Are users fulfilled by the reward yet left wanting more? (Variable reward) What “bit of work” do users invest in your product? Does it load the next trigger and store value to improve the product with use? (Investment).” Read More

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Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

If you could switch ‘job’ places with anyone for a day, who would it be? leave-your-mark

There’s a few on my list. One is the lovely Aliza Licht, author of this fabulous new book Leave Your Mark, Ted Talkeree, and the brains behind the hugely popular DKNY twitter DKNY PR Girl.

Reasons for making the switch list?

  • Based in New York (amazing!!)
  • Would involve being the fashion publicist for DKNY
  • Includes an amazing wardrobe (for dreaming purposes we are assuming the closet comes with the job)
  • Did I mention New York?

Back to reality, and since the job swap is looking a little far-fetched I have to settle with following Aliza via twitter and reading (twice already!) her new advice / mentorship book.

While Aliza is obviously in the fashion industry the advice is hugely relevant to other industries – even those of us working in far-flung corners of the world, such as New Zealand 🙂

I loved the straight-talking advice, sass and smarts in this book – exactly what you’d want from your very own mentor.

Here’s some of my favourite advice from Aliza…

How to Leave Your Mark

(headings = mine, quotes = directly from the book)

1. Build your own brand – it’s important 
“Because here’s the biggest secret truth: How you brand and market yourself can weigh just as heavily on your success as your actual skills do.”

2. Remember that how you do it sometimes matters more 
“How you communicate and influence others often matters more than the idea you’re pitching.”

3. Forget climbing the ladder and build your own!
“If you have no one to show you the ropes, you have to build a ladder.”

4. Attitude is everything
“A great attitude is one of your most marketable skills, and if you can muster the energy and passion to have a good attitude about any task, large or small, then you will get very far.”

5. Realise that you need to major in people
“To really succeed, you also need to be a master of human nature. Bottom line: If you can’t learn how to work with all different types of people, it really doesn’t matter how GOOD you are at what you do.”

6. Take this test before you post anything to social media
“If you wouldn’t feel comfortable running a full-page ad of your tweet in the New York Times, don’t post it.”

7. Embrace failure
“Sharing a failure publicly was an odd yet liberating feeling. What I realized from that experience was that failing doesn’t always have to be negative.”

8. Learn to manage up
If you don’t like to be micromanaged, then shoot your supervisor a quick email to let her know that things have been taken care of. I love nothing more than when someone responds to an email with “done.”

9. Believe in yourself
“I’m saying that the key is to be comfortable in your own skin and believe that you have something to offer, because YOU DO.”

Confession time: I had a total of 209 kindle highlights in Leave Your Mark – yes that’s how good it is! Grab your own copy here  so you can make your own notes 😉

Happy reading,

C x

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

I couldn’t pass up a chance for a peek into How Google Works.How Google Works

This book would be useful for HR folks as it delves heavily into their very rigirous hiring practice, their general staff code (my word not theirs) and how they encourage Googlers to develop such amazing projects.

Some of the ‘code’ you’ve probably heard of – such as their famed 20% time (where you can work on what you like), their dress code (you must wear something) and their interesting interview questions (can you teach me something complicated that I don’t know?).

Others were a surprise to me, for example they don’t pay people for successfful 20% time projects and decisions on promotions are not made by managers, but via committee.

As you might imagine there’s not a huge amount on specifically on marketing. The wider lessons though are still incredibly relevant:

  • Focus on the product (or in my words, build marketing into the product). AND
  • “Focus on the user … and the money will follow.”

Here’s some more wisdom from How Google Works

(headings = mine, quotes = directly from the book)

1. On what causes burnout
“Marissa Mayer, who became one of Silicon Valley’s most famous working mothers not long after she took over as Yahoo’s CEO in 2012, says that burnout isn’t caused by working too hard, but by resentment at having to give up what really matters to you…”

2. Make your new job a stretch
“By the way, if your conclusion is that you are ready for your ideal job today, then you aren’t thinking big enough. Start over and make that ideal job a stretch, not a gimme.”

3. Get a coach
“Whenever you watch a world-class athlete perform, you can be sure that there is a great coach behind her success. It’s not that the coach is better at playing the sport than the player, in fact that is almost never the case.”

4. Always be learning
Henry Ford said that “anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

5. Use this golden rule of management
“One of Eric’s most basic rules is sort of a golden rule for management: Make sure you would work for yourself.”

6. Choose your focus carefully
“If you focus on your competition, you will never deliver anything truly innovative.”

If you don’t want to read the whole book then have a flick through this summary slideshare from Eric and Jonathon

Happy reading,

C x

What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Okay, okay, definitely not a marketing book, but who can go past from words of wisdom from Oprah?what I know for sure

I discovered this via an excerpt in a magazine and bought the whole thing soon after.

A fabulously short read and perfect for this time of year when you might be setting some goals and dreaming some dreams for 2015.

Here’s a little inspiration from Oprah:

(headings = mine, quotes directly from the book)

1. Your life is a stage
“You can either waltz boldly onto the stage of life and live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall, receding into the shadows of fear and self-doubt”
2. Will you dance?
“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
3. Value others
“Talking with thousands of people over the years has shown me that there’s one desire we all share: We want to feel valued.”
4. Be your own best friend
“Stop waiting for your husband to say “I appreciate you,” your kids to tell you what a great mother you are, a man to whisk you away and marry you, or your best friend to assure you that you’re worth a darn. Look inward—the loving begins with you.”
5. All the matters…
“When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another. And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives—when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail inboxes are empty—the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.”

You can grab the book here,

Happy reading,

C x

The Charisma Myth: Master the Art of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

This is a fascinating read on charisma, or charm as I prefer to call it. If you’ve ever wondered how politicians learn the art of the schmooze then look no further than this very smart lady: Olivia Fox Cabane.

She advises top companies and executives on how to do this stuff and for the rest of us… she’s Charisma mythwritten this book.

I loved her description of the ‘types’ of charimsa – these being focus, authority, visionary or kindness. She attributes these charisma types as a mixture of the three core elements of charismatic behaviour which she names as: presence, power and warmth. For example focus charisma combines both presence and confidence.

According to Olivia the art of being present is the cornerstone that the other behaviours can be built on.

“Being charismatic does not depend on how much time you have but on how fully present you are in each interaction,” she says.

Olivia is adamant that charisma can be learnt and developed by anyone, saying ‘it’s not magic, it’s learned behaviors.”

Here’s 6 tips for developing your own charisma

(headings = mine, quotes = directly from the book)

1. Imagine a movie star
“One great trick is to imagine that the person you’re speaking with is the main star in a movie you’re watching right now. This will help you find them more interesting, and there’s even a chance that you’ll make them feel like a movie star, too.” Read More

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg

Have you ever wondered how much of your life and your behavior is dominated by your habits?

It’s safe to say that many of the habits we learn are incredibly useful. Habits mean you can drive your car (once you’ve learned how) without much thought at all. The assocations we form can help keep us safe, for example – that touching a stove is dangerous because it’s hot.

On the other hand what about the habits that aren’t so useful? The food we eat (or don’t) ththe power of habite exercise we do (or don’t) and so on and so forth.

That’s where this insightful book enters the picture. How can we change the habits that we don’t like?

It turns out (as with most things) the first step is to uncover or recognise the habit. In other words – you have to want to change.

Get that part started and then read this book for some amazing stories and facts on how the brain works and how habits can be changed.

It all centres around this one theme: “habits can be changed, if we understand how they work.”

I read this book just out of pure self-interest, but as it turns out, it’s also incredibly relevant to marketers. The different marketing examples weaved throughout are brilliant; touching on AA (for alcholics), McDonalds and even the selling of toothpaste (creating the tingly feeling helped set up a habit).

“Every McDonald’s, for instance, looks the same—the company deliberately tries to standardize stores’ architecture and what employees say to customers, so everything is a consistent cue to trigger eating routines,” writes Charles.

Even the training of Michael Phelps into a champion through the use of habits is touched on.

Business wise, the book delves into ‘keystone habits’ and how businesses can use these to transform their practices and culture. For example focusing on safety as a key habit to trasnform (and then this leading to across the board changes).

6 quotes from the Power of Habit

(headings = mine, all quotes directly from the book)

1. Habits are everywhere
“One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.”

2. Habits = helpful
“Without habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life.”

3. It’s a three-step process
“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”

4. Sorry, you can’t delete a habit
“Habits never really disappear. They’re encoded into the structures of our brain, and that’s a huge advantage for us, because it would be awful if we had to relearn how to drive after every vacation.”

5. Instead of deleting you need to change it (or create a new one)
“Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.”

6. Because the golden rule is…
“You Can’t Extinguish a Bad Habit, You Can Only Change It.”

Happy reading,
C x