Guy Kawasaki on enchantment for achieving influence


Guy Kawasaki, keynote speaker at SAS Global Forum Executive Conference 2012

I had the distinct pleasure today to hear Guy Kawasaki deliver a keynote address at the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference 2012.  I thought of his engaging address as a nice guide for personal effectiveness, particularly in a professional realm.  And my main takeaway from yesterday's keynote address by Joe Theismann was that in an ever-changing world, the one constant I have 100% control of is my own attitude. As a result, the points that Guy Kawaski shared could not have come at a better time to help me grow as a marketer.

Guy Kawasaki is known as a best selling author, a former visionary at Apple and many other things, and I can also confirm that he's a very good speaker. His address described how to influence people's hearts, minds and actions, and he started out with the thought that there are 3 pillars to enchantment: likability, trustworthiness and quality.  And in order to achieve those 3 pillars, he offered 10 steps to follow:


 1. Achieve likability.  A vivid example here is how Richard Branson started to polish Guy's shoes with his jacket upon learning that (until that point) that Guy had never flown Virgin Airlines.  The shoe-polishing incident changed that. So other than extreme shoe polishing, how can you achieve likability?

  • Have a great smile - the "Duchenne smile."  It uses the jaw muscles and the eye muscles to give you a twinkle in your eyes.  Therefore, crow's feet are a good thing. (Guy won me over with this one!)
  • Accept others.  If you want to be likable, you have to accept others as they are - period.
  • Default to "yes." It means that when you meet people, you should always be thinking "how can I help this person."  Do that consistently and you will be very likable.  There are occasional downsides when the person would like something unreasonable, but that seldom happens and the upside is more common and far greater.

2.  Be trustworthy. The surest way to do this is to sincerely trust others first and you'll find that they will trust you in return.

  • Great examples of companies that are trustworthy are Amazon - which allows returns on ebooks within 7 days,  Zappos - which always pays for shipping both ways, and Nordstrom - which accepts all returns without question.
  • Bake - don't eat.  Using the example of a pie, Guy says an eater doesn't share their pie because they see it as zero-sum and if you consume it they won't have it.   Bakers share their pie because think in terms of always baking more.
  • Agree on something.  It's a great starting point to trustworthiness. When dealing with others, find a place you can agree upon and start from there.

3.  Perfect your product.  It's far easier to enchant with something great than it is with something schlocky.

  • Focus on doing something DICEE.  Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering, Elegant. For Guy, DICEE is a new 500 hp Ford Mustang - fast, cool, elegant and includes a feature that enables him to limit the top speed on the car so he doesn't have to worry about his driving-age sons borrowing the car.
  • Another example he used is SAS itself.  For our customers, it's not just the software but the "whole package" of online support, VARs, consultants, webinars, whitepapers, conferences, etc.

4.  Tell a story.  Do that to launch your product, and make sure your story tells how it impacts a person's life.  The channels you use and the content in the story are both important.

  • Plant many seeds. Because in the web 2.0 world, @lonelyboy15 is the guy who could possibly make you successful justas easily as David Pogue, the tech writer at the New York Times.
  • An excellent example of planting many seeds is Twitter.  7 years ago when Twitter was launched, who would have thought that a platform that limits you to 140 character-messages about the long line at Starbucks or how nice the weather is could also take down governments?
  • Use salient points.  Consider a bag of chips - they print the calories on the package and inform the person how many calories they might consume. What if they instead printed how many miles the eater would have to run if they ate the bag of chips.  Is that salient? It might not sell many chips, but...

5.  Overcome resistance.

  • Provide social proof.  Apple's white earbud was brilliant, especially when they launched the iPod using silhouettes using white earbuds. What do you think of when you see a white earbud?
  • Use a dataset.  Show your data visually - demonstrate  your point so your desired conclusion is easy to reach.
  • Be sure you enchant ALL the influencers. For consumer markets, you may think you have to enchant the dad in the family and you'd be wrong 80% of the time. Focus on the mom, daughter or even the sister in law if you're in a B2C environment.
  • The impact of social media cannot be more powerful than showing how Justin Bieber and his mother launched his career entirely on YouTube. But it didn't end on social media, when he went on tour, there were many times his handlers went into the parking lots and gave away tickets to girls who did not have them. Talk about adding fuel to the fire.


  • Consider the Grateful Dead.  They have actually cordoned off areas of their stadium for people who record the concert so they go out and share. It contrasts with how many other artists and music companies approach the ownership of the content, and it decidedly helps them endure.
  • Build an ecosystem - consultants, developers, resellers, user groups, websites and blogs, conferences.  Doing that will help you endurs, as surely as it did for Apple in the 1980s.
  • Evoke reciprocation, so when someone does you a favor you should look for ways to respond in kind.
  • When someone thanks you, respond that "you would do the same for me," but then help them by telling them how they can do that. When someone owes you, enable them to pay you back. It builds endurance.
  • Do not rely on money.  It should not be the core reason people are enchanted by you.

7.  Present. Great enchanters are great presenters. 

  • When you present, customize the introduction so it shows that you've thought about them and you build a bridge to them.
  • Sell your dream.  The iPhone is not $188 of parts and built in China.  The iPhone is thin, cool, sexy and it will change your life. That's the dream that was sold and it made Apple a leader in mobile phone set sales.
  • The optimal number of slides in any presentation is 10 slides.  Optimally, you'd use 10 slides and deliver them in 3 lines per slide.  The optimal font size is point 30.

8.  Use technology.  We live in a great time.  Social Media is fast, free and ubiquitous.

  • Remove the speed bumps. Captcha is a speedbump. If you have a global audience, are your captcha characters the same as all your users' keyboards? Probably not - so why do it?
  • Provide value. It's the key to being relevant in social media.  Value is information, insights and assistance.  Provide what happened, how did it happen and how can it happen for you.
  • Engage.  The life of an average tweet is 2 hours.  If you have email, respond in 48 hours or less.  It's fast, flat and frequent.  You have to do it all the time.

9.  Enchant your boss.  This is very important in any organization. Seriously.

  • Drop everything else - this is how you enchant your boss.  Prototype fast.  Guy offered that as a married man, he believes this rule applies for married men too.  I presume it applies for married women as well.
  • The other way to enchant your boss is to deliver bad news early.  If you can, do it early enough so that you can figure out how to prevent the bad news.

10 Enchant down. You are in an organization and if you have people reporting to you, you depend on those folks to help achieve your collective success.

  • Provide a map - demonstrate how your folks can master new skills and how they can do it with autonomy and an understanding of your organization's purpose.
  • Empower action - enable them to do it and not have to check in along the way.
  • Suck it up.  Be willing to do the dirty job and never ask employees to do something that you would not do.

So, the bottom line to influence through enchantment, you should aim to have the quality of Apple, earn the trustworthiness of Zappos and achieve the likability of Richard Branson.  It's really that simple.  What do you think?


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


  1. Pingback: What you’re missing at SAS Global Forum - SAS Voices

  2. Pingback: Guy Kawasaki talks to us about the three pillars

  3. Great summary! And more good stuff...what he learned from working with Steve Jobs:
    1. Most experts are clueless
    2. Customers have a difficult time telling you what they will want in the future.
    3. Avoid "the bozo explosion:" Hire A-players because they will hire A+ people. If you hire B- players, they will hire C-players so they can be superior, etc...
    4. The old saying “If I can see it, I'll believe it” – in technology & innovation, the opposite is true. If you believe it , you will see it.

  4. Pingback: Five Key Take Aways from the Nation’s Leading Small Business Forum

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