How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination by Sally Hogshead

If yofascinateu’ve ever had to do a personality test (Myers Briggs etc) then you’ll know that they can sometimes have unexpected consequences.

I’ve seen people fudge answers (I’m definitely C, but if I pick B that might look better to my boss). And generally berate themselves about their results, “I got A but I need to become more like B.”

It’s time to throw out the old for something new.

And that something new (in my opinion) is this new online test (and matching book) – the fascination advantage.

It’s designed by Sally Hogshead (advertising/marketing expert, among other talents) and she’s designed it as a personality test based on the seven different ways to fascinate.

The magic seven? Power, prestige, trust, alert, passion, innovation and mystique. (see web or book for more on each area) Read More

Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy is Wrong by Martin Lindstrom

This book = an amazing blend of science and marketing.buyology

If you’ve ever wondered why you purchase some of the things you do (for me it’s the iphone) then you need to read this book.

Martin’s research centers on something called neuromarketing, which means he is doing brain scans (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to figure out if and why people actually do like/buy/try a product or service.

The reason? Martin says the most market research is ultimately flawed is because people are poor at reporting their own actions.

For example one of his studies was on reality tv. Asking people if they would watch it the show again proved a poor test, most said no. The scanning however, told a different story. He was able to accurately predict which of the reality shows would be a big success based on the scans.

Martin believes that traditional research methods like asking customers why they buy only gives you a tiny insight.

For example:
“Most of us can’t really say, I bought that Louis Vuitton bag because it appealed to my sense of vanity, and I want my friends to know I can afford a $500 purse, too.”

If you’re slightly paranoid and have a bit of a ‘big brother is watching’ type belief then I would NOT recommend this book! Some of this stuff is scary! Particularly from an ethical viewpoint, and, as with most tools, this brain-scanning type of research could definitely be used for good or evil!

One of my favourite parts of the book fcosues on branding and how much emotion plays a part in the choices we make. I think this chapter very close to the truest words I’ve seen on branding which is this: everything is perceptual.

“…when we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they really are.”

Here’s a few more interesting snippets:

  • “Why? Because emotions are the way in which our brains encode things of value, and a brand that engages us emotionally—think Apple, Harley-Davidson, and L’Oréal, just for starters—will win every single time.”
    “But again, what’s beginning to show up in the fledgling world of brain scanning is the enormous influences our emotions have on every decision we make.”
  • “So buyers beware. Because the future of advertising isn’t smoke and mirrors—it’s mirror neurons. And they will prove even more powerful in driving our loyalty, our minds, our wallets, and our Buyology than even the marketers themselves could have anticipated.”
  • “In all my years helping companies develop and strengthen their brands, there’s one thing I’ve seen time and time again: rituals help us form emotional connections with brands and products.”
  • “But the question remains: Is it the sex that is selling or the controversy? Evidence points to the latter.”

And if you’re doing product placements then you need to read the chapter on American Idol 
(Martin studied the different sponsors of American Idol, including Ford and Coca-Cola and figured out what types of placements do and don’t work)

  • “So why was Coke’s strategy so successful, while Ford’s wasn’t? They both spent the same stupendous amount of money on their media campaigns.”
  • “To understand the results, think back to the way in which their advertising was integrated into the program. Coke permeated 60 percent of the show’s running time with its artfully placed cups, furniture evoking the shape of its bottles, and Coke-red walls. Ford, on the other hand, simply ran traditional commercials that didn’t intrude on the program at all.”
  • “In short, the results revealed that we have no memory of brands that don’t play an integral part in the storyline of a program.”
  • “What’s more, in order for product placements to work, the product has to make sense within the show’s narrative.”

Want more? Grab the book here.

Happy reading,
C x

How to Work a Room by Susan RoAne

With the rise of online shopping, online dating (tinder anyone?) and online connection (Facebook, Twitter)… I wonder if the art of face-to-face networking will become even more of a struggle for some?workaroom

This book deals with how to shine at those face-to-face networking events.

Perhaps you’ve had one that you need (or want) to go to for business? You want to go but you’re scared of that big room full of strangers. Next thing you know, you’re sweating, feeling sick and coming up with excuses not to attend.. Well here’s a few tips and tricks you can try.

My fav quote is wee aronymn that Susan uses called OAR> observe, ask, reveal.

She emphasises that along with asking questions (a common tip you’ll find in every communication book) is that you need to REVEAL something about yourself.

I think this is a big hurdle for many who struggle with connecting. As Susan rightly points out – if you just ask questions then it will come across as an interrogation rather than a conversation!

Many of the tips in this book were similar to what I’ve read elsehwere, so I’ve only mentioned a few favourites. If you like this sort of advice then another one to try out is Leil Lowndes book ‘How to Talk to Anyone’. Read More

Marketing In Less Than 1000 Words (Reactor15 Briefings) by Rob Burns

This was a quick and clever little read. A nice refresher on some key marketing principles and it’s FREE! (yes free). Marketing in Less than 1000

I love this minimalist approach – and in a similar fashion I’ll keep my favourite quotes nice and short!

4 tips from Marketing in Less than 1000 Words 

(headings = mine, quotes directly from the book)

1. A simple definition of marketing
“What is marketing? It’s the art of finding buyers for products and services at a profit.”

2. Solve your customers problems – better than anyone else
“How? Identify a buying audience with an itch that you can learn to scratch better than anyone else. Simply, solve problems at a profit. The greater the problem you can solve, the greater the potential profit.” Read More

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

This guy has some pretty controversial advice!Scott-Adams1

I thought he probably went a bit general and tried to cover everything in this book, but there’s still some good advice in here.

The author also freely admits that a cartoonist is the last person you should take advice from! So I’ve taken his advice and ignored all the advice I didn’t agree with – and copied some of my favourite advice for you below.

The most interesting part of his story was that he completely lost the ability to speak to others due to a medical condition – and interspesed throughout the book is how he cured this. I was hoping for a sort of micrculous, figured-it-out-myself kind of story, but (spoiler alert) he ends up with some ground-breaking surgery.

Again this book is more general life advice, rather than marketing. But hey I only have one book blog so it goes here!

9 tips from Scott Adams

(headings = mine, quotes directly from the book) 

Invite failure
“The short answer is that over the years I have cultivated a unique relationship with failure. I invite it. I survive it. I appreciate it. And then I mug the shit out of it.” Read More

The Corner Office: How Top CEOs Made It and How You Can Too by Adam Bryant

This book was recommended to me by an amazing lady (thanks Sue!) so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

I’m so glad I did, because it’s full of tips for managers at any level (not just CEO’s) and it’s given me these two fabulous analogies to add to my list.the-corner-office-400x400-imadz7fzucgj5g3d

1. Be a coach, not a critic
2. Hire Tiggers, not Eeyores

I love number one and find it such a useful theme/reminder for me. It also ties in beautifully with another statement I recently read on a management document: “I coach them through the game; I don’t play it for them. The coach doesn’t play on the field.”

Number two just makes me smile – I bet we’ve all worked with an Eeyore or two before!

The book follows the rough format of interviews with different/famous CEO’s (though the chapters are on themes not people/interviews) and what can be learnt from all of them. I was mostly drawn to the people management tips, but there is also wisdom on time management, measurement, career advice and delivering results.

One of my other favourite tips was around the ‘rule of three’ in terms of being a great manager; competence, confidence and caring. Such a simple mantra to keep in mind – I agree with the author that if you get these three right then you’ll be winning!

Here’s the explanation

1. Competence
“The first is competence—just being good at what you do, what ever it is, and focusing on the job you have, not on the job you think you want to have.”

2. Confidence
“The second one is confidence. People want to know what you think. So you have to have enough desirable self-confidence to articulate a point of view.”

3. Caring
“The third thing is caring. Nothing today is about one individual. This is all about the team, and in the end, this is about giving a damn about your customers, your company, the people..”

7 more tips from the Corner Office

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

1. Ask better questions
“Though CEOs are paid to have answers, their greatest contribution to their organizations may be asking the right questions—a skill that starts with passionate curiosity.”

2. Get out of your comfort zone
“I say yes to things that I really don’t want to do, or I get involved in things that are difficult for me to be involved in, for what ever reason. (Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion)

3. Hire Tiggers
Mindy Grossman of HSN uses Winnie-the-Pooh as a reference point. She says she likes to hire people who are Tiggers, not Eeyores.

4. Be a coach
Here’s another approach: Be a coach, not a critic.

5. Focus on improvement
And if I spend my time focusing on everything that’s bad, I’ll get nothing done. Or I could say, what are really the best things about the people I have? What makes them great, and how can I really improve them one or two notches? And if I spend my time on that, then I’ll have a great organization.

6. Tell people when they’ve peed on the carpet
Carol Bartz of Yahoo prefers the “puppy theory” feedback.
“When the puppy pees on the carpet, you say something right then because you don’t say six months later, ‘Remember that day, January twelfth, when you peed on the carpet?’

7. Appreciate and praise wherever you can
“People leave companies for two reasons. One, they don’t feel appreciated. And two, they don’t get along with their boss.”

Grab your own tips and the book over here on Amazon 

Happy reading,

C x