THE 6 GOLD HALLMARKS: How to measure if you are fascinating

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Is your company fascinating? Are you?

Here at Fascinate, we use six criteria to evaluate clients. Here, we’re sharing an abbreviated version of our master tool. Think about yourself, and your company. How do you compare to this checklist of 6 gold hallmarks? Just how successfully are you captivating the world around you?


A fascinating message, like a fascinating person, steps outside the norms in one or more of the following ways:

Gold Hallmark #1: Provokes strong and immediate emotional reactions

People respond to the brand immediately, almost involuntarily. The advertising might stimulate a “love it or hate it” response. Or the company might have a simple gesture that makes people bond with a product.

Gold Hallmark #2: Creates advocates

Regular consumers become passionate advocates when your brand effectively activates one or more Fascination Advantages. These dedicated fans may be a small slice of your overall base, but they’re the most active and vocal, and they’ll exponentially increase your marketing efforts.

Fascinating companies create more opportunities for people to connect with each other, through the brand.

How to do this? Reward your fans, inspire them, and support their communication with you, and with one another.

Gold Hallmark #3: Becomes “cultural shorthand” for a specific set of actions or values

The brand represents such a distinct point of view that it can stand alone as a symbol for a defined set of values; it becomes a reference point for how people identify themselves, and their world.

These companies earn attention by focusing on a specific set of values: Home Depot (do-it-yourself), Patagonia (sustainability), Target (accessible style), Ikea (democratic design), or DeBeers (romantic expression).

Gold Hallmark #4: Incites conversation

The more people want to engage with, play with, learn from, talk about, and, above all, connect with something or someone, the greater its influence. Influential brands spark spirited conversations and debate among consumers, competition, and the media.

Fascination lives not in your own communication to the world, but in how the world communicates about you.

Gold Hallmark #5: Forces competitors to realign around it

These companies don’t chase or mirror trends, but rather, establish new standards for the category. They think, act, and behave unlike any other. Often, they inspire imitators.

In a competitive environment, the most fascinating option wins.

Gold Hallmark #6: Taps into (or even causes) social revolutions

When people become fascinated, they merge with larger groups of people fascinated by the same message. These groups dramatically accelerate your marketing, inciting others to join a bigger cultural movement.

Social revolutions aren’t once-in-a-decade events.

They’re happening constantly, every single day, when we shift our decision- making. changed online shopping. Red Bull changed cocktail culture. Dove changed the conversation around female body image. Netflix changed media consumption. Viagra changed the perception of impotence to “erectile dysfunction.”

Even if you don’t trigger social revolutions, you can make your budget go farther by tapping into cultural changes.

Now that you know the 6 Gold Hallmarks, how will you start creating a more trusted, admired, and talked-about brand?

The Wizard of Oz said, “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”

The same is now true for companies. Marketing is no longer about creating messages—it’s about getting the market to participate, and to create fascinating messages about you and with you.

By evaluating our communication according to these six Gold Hallmarks, we can begin to make any type of message more fascinating: a sales presentation, an email, or anything else that must influence behavior in order to succeed.

Fascinating companies win more revenue, greater loyalty, and more repeat business.

Companies that fail to fascinate will lose the battle.
It’s that simple.

Do you know how your brand fascinates? Find out here.

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About the author

Sally Hogshead

Sally skyrocketed to the top of the advertising world in her early 20s, fascinating millions of consumers for clients such as MINI Cooper and Coca-Cola. Since then, she’s published two New York Times bestsellers on the science of fascination, and is one of only 172 living members in the Speaker Hall of Fame. Over a million professionals have taken the Fascination Advantage® personality test to discover how others perceive their communication.

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