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Guy Kawasaki: Anyone can enchant

3 min read


In his new book Enchantment, Guy Kawasaki defines enchantment as “a voluntary change of hearts and minds and therefore actions.” It’s based on likability and trustworthiness, and Kawasaki explains how both character qualities can be cultivated in an individual and then communicated to a broad audience. Enchantment, he says, can work on employees, bosses, customers — even on those who consciously try to resist being enchanted.

Kawasaki took time out from promoting the book to tell SmartBrief contributing editor Robert Jones a little more.

You indicate that marketing through “influentials” is passe, but didn’t that originally catch on because it was cost effective? Can a small business with limited resources afford to “plant many seeds”?

There is no reason why planting  many seeds is more expensive that sucking up to the A list. For example, I could have gone on a five-city tour to meet the book reviewers of the big media outlets. Instead, I chose to send 1,600 copies of Enchantment to any blogger that asked for it. The cost for either effort would have been the same.

You say in the book that “extrinsic rewards such as money are not necessarily effective enchanters.” Popular services such as Groupon stress extrinsic rewards in the form of deep discounts. Are these counter-productive to enduring enchantment?

These extrinsic rewards are not necessarily counter-productive for enchantment if they generate trial where trial would not have happened before. For example, if a Groupon deal entices you to try a spa you hadn’t visited before and you like the spa (or, more accurately, it enchants you), then the discount worked for the mutual, long-term benefit of both parties. But if it causes the first and last visit ever, then price clearly wasn’t the issue.

“The key to enchantment … is a great cause,” you write. But what if you’re “just” the corner dry cleaner or auto shop? Does that mean enchantment won’t work for you?

No, it means that you should strive to be the best dry cleaner or auto shop in the world. It means that your laundry is done on time, perfectly folded, with the right amount of starch, and the “impossible” stains are removed. It means that your car repair is done on time, at or under the estimate, and the problem is truly resolved. It means that when you go to the dry cleaner or car repair shop you’re met with a smile and a handshake.

My favorite anecdote in the whole book is the one about Richard Branson polishing your shoes. Would that sort of gesture have had the same effect if it were your local barber rather than Sir Richard?

It’s the spontaneous act of doing something like this — no matter who’s doing it. And the bottom line is that I would switch barbers if one did it assuming he was competent. Believe me, even if Sir Richard did this, I wouldn’t fly on his airline if it sucked. But when you combine likability with a great product, enchantment ensues.