Leslie Forman
November 8, 2010 — By Leslie Forman

Lust, Alarm, and Mystique Trigger my Fascination. What about you?

As part of my ongoing quest to learn copywriting, I have been reading lots of blogs, which link to other blogs, and sometimes I feel compelled to write about them on this blog. Today I came across the work of Sally Hogshead, who advises college grads to… Put down the beer bong, and read this […]

As part of my ongoing quest to learn copywriting, I have been reading lots of blogs, which link to other blogs, and sometimes I feel compelled to write about them on this blog.

Today I came across the work of Sally Hogshead, who advises college grads to…

Put down the beer bong, and read this blog post.

And write 800 headlines when your client wants 8. Brute force and hard work bring out good ideas.

On her list of Recession Karma principles, these are my favorites:

7.) Don’t aim to avoid negative feedback. Disapproval is inherent for anyone involved with new thinking. Unless you’re creating spreadsheets, your work won’t always add up in neat columns. Learn as much you can from negative feedback, and move on.

8.) Likewise, don’t base your self-image on positive feedback, because no matter how good you are, you can’t count on it. Find other sources of confidence.

13.) Integrity is unsexy. It can also be difficult, painful, and even expensive. So is dental care. Neither are wise to shortcut.

Recently Sally just published a book called FASCINATE.

Here’s the gist of it:

she points out that people are truly looking for two things: to be fascinated, and to be fascinating. It’s no longer good enough to create a great product and provide great service, you need to fascinate people beyond the realm of rationality. Here’s how you can build fascination into your business.

Different people are fascinated by, and fascinate others with different triggers.  Hogshead’s website has a fun quiz to discover your triggers. These are the seven options:

triggers bottoms Result Page

I took it and here are some of my results.

[Note: The text below comes straight from the quiz results.  I cut out a bunch of sentences, but I didn’t reword them.]


Your primary fascination is LUST. (Nicely done, you.) Even without realizing it, you’re already instinctively applying this trigger when trying to persuade others. Your secondary trigger is ALARM, and your dormant trigger (the one you’re least likely to apply in your personality and behavior) is MYSTIQUE.

1.9% of people who took the F score use the same primary and secondary trigger combination as you (LUST and ALARM).

  • 24.9% people who took the F Score test also use LUST as their primary trigger.
  • 8.8% people who took the F Score test also use ALARM as their secondary trigger.
  • 8.9% people who took the F Score test also use MYSTIQUE as their dormant trigger.

So lust is your primary trigger. That means you draw people closer with a warm and open style of interaction. You’re expressive with ideas, communicate well in person, and probably have a strong creative streak. Even when you mask your emotions, you feel passionately about your opinions.

You’re intuitive with information, often making decisions based on gut instinct rather than cold intellect. While other personality types prefer facts, you’re more attuned to the nuances of attitude, design, and a certain indefinable je ne sais quoi.

Lust is a powerful form of influence because it creates irresistible messages that overcome rational resistance. When you dial up your primary trigger, you have the ability to create messages that are extremely difficult to ignore.

You’re remarkably talented in creating messages that lead to a powerful intellectual, physical, and emotional response. For instance, you like to share experiences with others, and in conversation, you draw people closer with body language and eye contact.

By applying these natural strengths to your work, you can build warmer relationships and more trusting dialogue. And by applying to your ideas, you can create messages make people say, “I want that now!”


The sight of blood. An unexpected phone call in the middle of the night. Losing sight of your child in a crowd. These things instantly create a sense of urgency, or even panic, forcing us to act now. Now! Now! Now!

Unlike other triggers, which have fairly consistent traits in one’s personality, alarm is different. This trigger can show up in your personality in one of two ways: you’re either responsive to alarm, or, you create alarm in others.

If you’re responsive to alarm: You’re extremely sensitive to demands in your environment, and focus on ways to avoid conflict. You’re highly attuned to the expectations of others. Deadlines make you more productive, and demands push you to achieve more. You work hard to avoid experiencing unpleasant surprises. You’re probably also using the trust trigger to send consistent, uncontroversial messages.

If you create alarm in others: You have high expectations, and use your authority to achieve your means. You’re not afraid to establish consequences for poor results. Most likely, you’re most combining power or prestige with this trigger, to heighten performance of those around you.

Fedex uses alarm (“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight!”), and so does QVC (“Call now before we’re sold out!). When used as a solo trigger, alarm can be too extreme for everyday use. However in combination with any of the other triggers, it can prod your message with intensity, and urgency.


If mystique is your dormant trigger, you don’t hide your emotions or opinions. You’re straightforward and open. People often appreciate this about you. Yet, you also might benefit from considering how to take a step back, and add a hint of intrigue.

Few people think of their company, or their own personality, as inherently “mysterious.” Mystique offers a competitive advantage even for well-established products or familiar people, because it attracts others to move closer.

[ end of copy/paste. Leslie here, again…]

Wow. That is one of the more accurate personality tests I have ever taken. (Take it! No, I am not getting paid to write this.  It’s just illuminating. Really)

A friend whose identity will remain anonymous interpreted thes findings as: “so if a really hot guy with no clothes on were to surprise you, that’d be about as good as it gets?” Hmmm…

I am not surprised that my dominant trigger, Lust, is an intuitive one, rather than a rational or status-oriented one.  Alarm makes sense too, since I respond well to deadlines, and do so much more when I have lots to do. (Case in point, this blog post!) I consider myself an open book, more prone to oversharing than mystery, but always curious, so a dormant sense of Mystique makes sense as well.

So, what to do with this information?  Sally Hogshead has some answers (Actually this is Steve Cunningham, paraphrasing Hogshead’s book in the Financial Post)

Fascinating messages create advocates. NASCAR has advocates. Warren Buffett has advocates. Barack Obama has advocates. Do you?
Fascinating messages force competitors to realign around it. Zappos.com has done an amazing job of this in the online shoe market. When people start copying what you are doing with hopes of riding on your coattails, you know you are fascinating.
So, how are you fascinating? What are your triggers? Lust? Power? Trust? Mystique? Alarm? Prestige? Vice?  Do the quiz! It only takes three minutes. And report back with your results! :P