Sam Horn - Intrigue

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sam Horn - POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything

How to Breakout - Rather Than Blend In
Can You Identify These Intriguing Slogans?

September 12, 2008

Dullness will not sell your product; neither will irrelevant brilliance.” - Bill Bernbach

Every year, Advertising Week selects the top slogans. By definition, these taglines are relevant AND brilliant. Of the tens of thousands of commercials we see and hear every year these are the “sticky” ones – the ones we can repeat word for word years after we first heard them.
Here are a few candidates for this year’s contest plus some past winners. Notice how they all have a verbal “kick.” A beat, cadence or comic twist that elicits a smile and makes them easy to repeat.
Can you identify the company associated with each of these slogans?
“What happens here, stays here” ______________

“Think outside the bun” _______________________

“When you care enough to send the very best” _________________

“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t”_____________

“When you care enough to send the very best”_______________

“Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’”______________
Why is it so important to have an intriguing slogan?

You may not have heard or seen these slogans for years, but the sponsoring company was on the tip of your tongue and on the top of your mind.

Wouldn’t you like your business name and slogan top of mind and on the tip of the tongue of millions of people?

You can — if you make it intriguing.

Websters Dictionary defines INTRIGUE as

1) to arouse the curiosity or interest of by unusal, new, fascinating or compelling qualities,

2) to appeal strongly to; captivate.

I’ve studied the art and science of intrigue for 16 years because I know that quality is important; it’s not enough. You can have a quality product, excellent service and a worthwhile offering — that doesn’t necessarily means it’s going to get noticed, remembered and bought.
My POP! Process takes the mystery out of intrigue. It features specific, replicable techniques to get anyone interested in anything.
Email us at to receive an article identifying the 8 Elements of Intrigue so you can package your communication so compellingly it captures the favorable interest of your target audience.

September 4, 2008

“I never had to change a word of what I got up in the middle of the night to write.”

The above words of wisdom were just a few of the many shared at this year’s Maui Writers Conference — the finest in the world. What Cannes is to the film industry, MWC is to the publishing industry.

Our opening and closing keynoter this year was the inimitable Bryce Courtenay — the author of POWER OF ONE –the 5th biggest selling book on the past 15 years, just after To Kill a Mockingbird.
Part of Bryce’s message was “Writing is a perishable skill.”
Have you always wanted to write a book? Are you putting it off until the kids go to college, you retire or you’re not so busy?

What makes you think your writing skills will still be there when you’re finally ready to write?
A recurring theme at this year’s Maui Writers Conference ( is that authors write — no matter what. They write in the middle of the night, they get up at 5 am and write before they go to work, they write when they’re tired, they write when times are tough.
Jacquelyn Mitchard, the first Oprah pick with her book The Deep End of the Ocean, wrote in her kitchen even when her husband died at age 39 and left her with 3 young children and no life or health insurance.

Steve Berry, author of The Templar Legacy and The Amber Room, wrote even after he received 86 rejection letters from dozens of different publishers.
Comedian Judy Tenuta said, “My parents always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told ‘em, ‘Just you wait.’”

If you’ve always wanted to write a book, if you have ideas or insights you want to share; don’t wait for perfect circumstances that may never come. Start writing today and continue writing every day — no matter how tired, busy or overwhelmed you are.
In my 16 years of helping people get their book out of their head and into the world — I have never met any who were sorry they wrote their book. I’ve only met people who were sorry they didn’t write it. . . sooner.

How to Capture Interest in 90 Seconds, Part III
August 20, 2008

Make ‘Em Say a Mental Yes

“When are you going to understand that if it doesn’t pertain to me, I’m not interested?” - Candace Bergen as TV character Murphy Brown

Want another way to have your audience at hello?

Ask yourself, “What keeps them up at night? What are they worried about? What is frustrating them?” Begin your meeting or workshop with rhetorial questions around those issues.
For example, if you’re preparing a presentation on the topic of money, you could begin with:
Do you ever wonder:

“What am I going to live on when I retire?”“Who’s going to take care of me when I grow old?”“Is social security going to be gone by the time I’m 65?”“What if a health challenge drains my savings?”“What if my company goes bankrupt and takes my 401K with it?”

If you said yes to any of the above questions, you’re in the right place because that’s what we’ll be talking about today.

See how starting off with the questions that are on your audience’s mind wins buy-in?
People will immediately bond with you because they’re thinking, “That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about!” They’ ll be motivated to pay attention because you’ve articulated their concerns and they’ll be eager for your answers.

Next time you want people to give you their valuable time and attention, include content in your first 90 seconds that makes ‘em chuckle, makes ‘em arch their eyebrows and makes ‘em say a mental yes.

They’ll be on the edge of their seats, ready and willing to hear what’s next, because you’ve shaken them out of their preoccuaption and made their eyes and mind POP! open.

How to Capture Interest in 90 Seconds or Less, Part II

August 20, 2008

Make ‘em Arch Their Eyebrows

“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” - George Washington Carver

Want to know another secret to engaging people in 90 seconds? Start with something they’ve never heard before.

You’ll know you’ve succeeded if listeners raise their eyebrows. It’s a surefire sign you’ve said something that’s piqued their curiosity. They’re thinking, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”
Are you thinking, “I agree with this, but where can I find items that will get those eyebrows to go up?”
Scan USA Today the morning of your presentation or staff meeting. You’ll almost always discover an eye-opening item to shake people out of their preoccupation and prove early on you’re not going to be predictable (the kiss of death for any speaker — after all, if people know what you’re going to say, why should they listen?)

Cut out an article related to your issue and bring it with you. Hold it up and use a POP! technique called hook ‘n hinge to link your factoid to your topic so listeners get a fresh “Aha”.
The fact that you went to the effort to share something current and pertinent shows you’re not launching into a canned spiel. This raises your approval ratings because people dislike speakers who are on autopilot.

For example, I got up early to read the local paper before a Tongue Fu!® keynote in San Francisco and was rewarded with an article entitled “California Couple with Empty Nest Gets Serious About Downsizing.”

The article reported that Steve and Judy Glickman realized they were using only 30% of their home after their sons left for college. In a rather radical move, they traded in their five-bedroom home for a (drum roll, please) . . . chicken coop. What made this even more startling was they paid $545,000 for their new 544 square foot home (a result of the pricy real estate market in Silicon Valley).

Quoting that article definitely arched my group’s eyebrows and provided a dream opportunity to play off our theme of unintended miscommunication. With a twinkle in my eye, I asked the audience, “Can’t you just picture Judy Glickman looking at her husband with eyes as big as saucers and saying ‘No, I said . . . ‘Why don’t we FLY the coop?!’”

That got a laugh, a segue into how easy it can be to misunderstand each other and a return speaking engagement, at least partially because that amusing news item provided an uncommon intro to my topic.

Want more ways to have your listeners at hello? Check my next blog to discover how to immediately increase your likability factor — so people are predisposed to like you and what you have to say.

How To Capture Interest in 90 Seconds or Less, Part I

August 20, 2008

My job is to talk; your job is to listen. If you finish first, please let me know.” - Harry Herschfield

What’s a situation you’ve got coming up in which you’ll be asking people to listen to you?

Did you know your success depends on whether you capture their interest in the first 90 seconds?
People today are BB (Busy and Bored). They have dozens of things competing for their attention and they think they’ve seen and heard it all.

If we don’t quickly prove we’re worth their valuable time and attention, they’ll start checking their watches (or Blackberries.)

The best way to instantly intrigue listeners is to fulfill the 3 Prerequisites of the First 90 Seconds of any Communication.

1. Make ‘em chuckle.

2. Make ‘em arch their eyebrows.3. Make ‘em say a mental yes.
Make ‘Em Chuckle

“I learned at an early age that when I made people laugh, they liked me.

This is a lesson I never forgot.” - Art Buchwald

If something makes you laugh, it will probably make others laugh.
Imagine you’ve been asked to coach employees on cell phone etiquette. The evening before the staff training, you’re watching a talk show and guest Sandra Bernhardt is complaining about how offended she is when people talk on their cell phones in restaurants.

The host says, “I have Caller ID and never answer my phone in public unless it is urgent.”
The quick-witted Bernhardt says, “Caller ID? What we need is Caller IQ!”

You could start your training with Bernhardt’s line (be sure to attribute it) and then segue into three ways staff members could practice Caller IQ so they don’t offend customers by taking calls during business functions.

Starting off a serious subject with a light-hearted approach will pleasantly surprise listeners and they’ll be more likely to tune in instead of tune out.
Check back for the next blog to discover more ways to capture people’s interest the next time you want them to pay attention.

Got Brain Fog?

July 4, 2008

Having trouble getting an idea out?

Something on the tip of your tongue you can’t quite articulate?

Sometimes consulting clients or participants in my weekend retreats will have a hard time communicating an idea that’s tickling the edge of their mind.

I suggest they coax it out by saying, “What I really want to say is ….” or “What I mean is ….”
Next time you’ve got brain fog or you’re struggling to express yourself, complete those sentences. It can help you bypass the self-conscious tension that is tightening your mental vocal chords. Instead of trying to get it right, this gives you permission to just say what’s on your mind — without criticism — which is where originality resides.

Sam Horn


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