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Enchantment: Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions


EnchantmentThere’s nothing new in the idea of enchantment. It’s been turning up in fairy tales, legends, and myths for thousands of years. So, when Guy Kawasaki applies the word as a metaphor for how to influence customers, is he telling us anything new?

Like many big ideas, the modern version of enchantment isn’t new. And also like many, you could interpret it as stating the obvious. His book contains nothing a well-read and experienced manager won’t have encountered before.

But, also like many big ideas, the value really comes where we too-easily overlook the familiar. So we need reminding of what we already know. And coining a great metaphor is a good way to do it. So let’s look at what lies at the heart of Kawasaki’s Enchantment.

What Does Kawasaki Know about Enchantment?

Guy Kawasaki worked as a marketer for Apple for many years. And there is no doubt that he is right when he says that Apple has enchanted many of its customers. Long before I had used any of their products, I often had friends evangelising their reliability, ease of use, and design ethic.

And that metaphor – evangelisation – feels right. I’m writing this article on an Apple computer and I know that I am a convert. I know that I too have sought to persuade others to believe. And when Kawasaki headed up marketing at Apple, he took the job title of Chief Evangelist.

So, if Apple can truly inspire such fervour, it must be worth listening to a man who led the way in crafting their message. And Kawasaki articulates his message in his 2011 book, Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions (US|UK).

What is Enchantment?

We don’t need to work hard to get a definition of Enchantment, as Kawasaki uses the term. He defines it for us in the book and numerous interviews.

Definition of Enchantment

“Enchantment” is the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization, or idea.’

The outcome we are looking for is a long-term relationship with our customer. It is one they want as much as we do, and it serves both us and them equally. So, enchantment is a successful form of marketing and sales.

The Three Pillars of Enchantment

Kawasaki suggests we build enchantment on three pillars:

  1. A Great Cause – something our customers want to commit to. Commercially, it’s our product or service. But he allows that it can also be an idea or political outlook.
  2. Trustworthiness – your customers need to feel that they can safely put their trust in you, as well as in your products
  3. Likeability – in this, Kawasaki is channelling Dale Carnegie and his perpetual best-seller, ‘How to WinFriends and Influence People’ (US|UK).
The Three Pillars of Enchantment
The Three Pillars of Enchantment

How to Build Enchantment

You can find many good summaries of the book online, so I want to focus on a couple of snippets. Because some critics have rightly pointed out that there are chunks of the book that merely repeat what we all know already, like:

  • To get people to trust you, you must first trust them
  • If you want to be likeable, you need a great smile
  • To build a massive reputation, you need to address the masses, not the few high profile influencers
  • People love a good story, so a creation myth for your product will help you to enchant

I am going to pick up on two specific points I like.

A Mathematical Formula for a Firm Handshake

I like this because it is… bonkers.

I cannot not agree that a good handshake is an asset in business and professional life. It’s a rapport building must-have in Western culture, at least.

But Kawasaki goes a step further. He advocates for Professor Geoffrey Beattie’s research that led to 12-point formula for the ‘perfect’ handshake. And,whilst I can honestly say I have not scrutinised this, I cannot believe anyone can use this as a practical tool!

The Perfect Handshake - Geoffrey Beattie
The Perfect Handshake – Geoffrey Beattie

The DICEE Acronym for a Great Product or Cause

To enchant with a great product or cause, Kawasaki suggests it needs five things:

  • D – Deep – Great products have great feature sets
  • I – Intelligence – Your customer must believe that someone understood their pain, and addressed it
  • C – Complete – A great product pays attention to the totality of the user’s experience
  • E – Empowering – It will make you feel more productive and creative – a great product feels like an extension of yourself
  • E – Elegance – The product’s creators care about the user interface and experience. They create a thing of beauty

For me, this is the single biggest takeaway of the book, Enchantment. I’ve learned loads about Likeability from Dale Carnegie. And nobody does trust worthiness better than Maister, Green, and Galford (The Trusted Advisor’s (US|UK) Trust Equation).

But to get an insight into how to make your products super-compelling. That was worth the price of the book. And that is what, for me, makes Enchantment a Big Idea.

What is Your experience of Enchantment?

We’d love to hear your experiences, ideas, and questions. Please leave them in the comments below.


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