February 22, 2011
News & Opinion: Enchantment
Every day, each of us find ourselves in a situation where we want someone to do something. Sometimes we get our way, and sometimes we don't, but even when we do, was it really the best outcome? The Art of the Start, has written a new book about persuasion, titled Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. In it, he describes how to create enchantment, so that people aren't just compelled to do what you want them to, but so that their interests and yours intersect, making everyone involved and thus more fulfilled in the outcome. Below are some questions I sent Guy to further explain some of the concepts in the book. It's interesting stuff that can be put into practice immediately. This is a great book for management or any individuals looking to develop interest in their cause. How is enchantment different than persuasion? Enchantment is a higher form of persuasion. Persuasion implies a one-time transaction: I persuade you, you do what I want, hopefully you're happy with the outcome. Enchantment is long-term: I enchant you, you do what you want which is, fortunately, what I want too, and you're delighted with the outcome. One can persuade people without enchanting them. For example, Toshiba persuades people to buy a laptop using price, promotion, FUD. Apple enchants people to buy a Macintosh and then an iPad, iPhone, iPod, and iWhatever it makes. Is being trustworthy good enough to attract believers in a cause? Trustworthiness is necessary but not sufficient, so one must also be likable. Have you ever been enchanted by a person that you trusted but didn't like? Or liked but didn't trust. The third, and final leg, of enchantment is the quality of the cause. It has to be great--or at least great for the person--because one can trust a person and like a person but still not want to buy a cause that is crappy or irrelevant. How do you launch a product in an enchanting way? The foundation of an enchanting launch is the understanding--and reality--that your product is good for the person. Assuming that this is true, then you should tell a story about how you came to develop your product ("We wanted a computer that anyone could afford.") and then immerse people in your product by promoting the trial of it. In other words, you're not bludgeoning them into submission. You are saying: "We think you're smart. Try our product and then decide." What if you encounter resistance? This isn't a question of "if." You will encounter resistance. In fact, the greater your cause, the more resistance you may encounter because you challenge the status quo. Assuming, again, that your product is good for the person, then you can provide social proof that others like her are pleased with your product. When enough social proof exists, then products "tip" to use the word of Malcolm Gladwell. You should also show people your magic--that is, show how you make your product or you prepare your food. Factory tours and restaurant kitchens where you can watch the chef at work are very enchanting. Finally, be sure to enchant all the decision makers and influencers. The key player might be the spouse, grandparent, child, colleague, or friend. Be sure you identify and enchant the right people. How do you make enchantment last? The key to making enchantment last is for your audience to internalize your values--that is, where your outlook and perspective becomes that of your audience. An Apple customer, for example, has typically internalized a particular graphical user interface. Then building an ecosystem around your cause helps it endure. An ecosystem includes all the supporting people and companies--for example, developers, retailers, and consultants. One method that one should use carefully, if not avoid, is paying people commissions or affiliate fees. Introducing money into the relationship can change it: do your believers truly believer or are they in it for the money? They will ask themselves this question, and the people that they evangelize for you will also wonder about motivation. Honestly, money is usually the enemy of enchantment.