Eric the Car Guy: The Power of Honest Flaws

Eric the Car Guy: The Power of Honest Flaws


Hey there YouTube. It’s Jack Heald with Cult Your Brand. When I had originally planned tonight’s episode, I was going to be doing a critique of various social media influencers, looking at how well or how poorly they use the loyalty triggers to create the types of emotional connections in their audience that powerful loyalty triggers will create.

But I do something else besides just write about loyalty and psychology. I occasionally like to fix my own car. In fact, four years ago I stumbled onto a guy who calls himself “Eric the Car Guy.”

And he did such a great job of explaining to me how to change the timing belt on my 2007 Honda Ridgeline, that I became a subscriber to his channel, and have been a supporter and a follower ever since.

So when I looked at his January newsletter today – I think he sent it out two or three days ago, but I just got into it today – he does something in here that I felt like I had to share with you. And that’s what we’re gonna look at today: Eric the Car Guy and how incredibly well he uses one of the most powerful loyalty reflex triggers: The Persona.


So this is Eric the Car Guy’s January 2019 newsletter. This only goes to people who are actually his subscribers. He gets really personal in here. It’s kind of amazing. I’d like to just highlight some things in here.

Eric says “I don’t feel the same way I did when I started 10 years ago. I don’t feel the same hunger, (or maybe “desperation” is a better word.) I think that’s what attracted people to my channel in the first place: the desperation and the way I overcame it.”

“I think they saw the same desperation in themselves and my videos helped them overcome it. Let’s face it: if you’ve got a broken vehicle and you can’t get it to work, you might be feeling pretty desperate.”

Eric’s right about all of that. But what he’s telling us here in this newsletter is that his youtube views over the last couple of years are lower than he wanted them to be. And he thinks the reason is because he’s no longer as relatable as he used to be.

Eric is one of the most I suspect one of the most successful guys on YouTube and he says he’s not relatable. Now he rightly diagnoses that part of the reason for his success was that he was extremely relatable, What he fails to recognize is that as he shares what’s going on with himself, he continues to be relatable.

So let’s take a moment real quick and review the the elements of a powerful emotionally compelling persona.

Now a powerful persona – in fact this comes from my training course How to Craft an Irresistible Persona – a powerful persona does something to us as individuals. It creates in us a desire to follow that person.

A well-crafted persona will inevitably provoke emotions in the follower and give the followers confidence that the person that they’re relating to is worth following and is trustworthy.

When we see Hollywood create powerful movies – movies that really connect with their audience – they’re doing a couple of things.

They’re creating positive emotions in their audience. And they’re doing it by creating heroes who are actually believable.

We see the important components of creating a powerful, emotionally resonant persona in the person of Steve Jobs.

Now Steve Jobs had a reputation as being a narcissistic asshole. And a lot of folks think that that narcissism – that assholery that he was so famous for – actually weakened him in terms of his ability to lead Apple and in his terms of his ability to persuade people.

But in fact it was his well-kn own asshole or his well-known narcissism that made him human.

One of the things that human beings love to do is put someone up on a pedestal. But when we put someone up on a pedestal, one of the things that happens is we stop relating to them because we know ourselves. We know we are not perfect.

One of the things that Steve Jobs narcissism did was it brought him off of his pedestal. As brilliant as he was, as visionary as he was, as charismatic as he was, we all knew he was also an asshole, And we also knew that he was he was very much like us.

And in a strange way that humanity – that Steve Jobs exhibited for decades in front of the entire world – is what is a great part of what made him so compelling and so persuasive.

He had flaws and he didn’t hide those flaws.

If we have a modern Steve Jobs, it’s probably Elon Musk. He’s every bit as visionary – in fact possibly even more visionary – than Steve Jobs.

Where Steve Jobs was fundamentally an artist who was concerned about the style and aesthetics of things, Elon Musk is fundamentally an engineer. And there are some of those very common engineering quirks that we see in Elon Musk. But those don’t make him relatable.

It is his flaws that make him relatable. And he’s got a couple of doozies. We’ve seen them exhibited here in the last several months.

He tends to be a little bit morose sometimes. In fact I think it is his deep fear and concern about the future of the human race that drives his creativity. But it also sucks him down into a black hole of depression sometimes. And because he displays that for the world, it humanizes him for us.

Yes, he’s on a pedestal in many ways, (to us – the normal humans around the world.) But he’s also human. And because we see those flaws in him. it makes us feel like, “oh he’s one of us!”

It makes him relatable. And because he’s relatable to us, it makes us much more willing to listen to and believe and most importantly follow him.

He’s got flaws that he doesn’t hide.

I’m gonna go back to Eric the Car Guy’s videos now. He says this, “Just about every one of my dreams in life has come true, thanks to the success of Eric the Car Guy. So why am I not happy? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately.”

I want to pause here folks. Do you realize this is one of the most successful youtubers on the planet sending out a newsletter to his subscribers saying “I don’t feel happy. I’m struggling with depression “?

Eric, I’m going to talk directly to you now, man.

You could not have done anything more powerful to improve the strength of your brand, to increase the emotional resonance that you have with your audience, than by sharing this fear, this flaw, this weakness that you have.

One of the most powerful things that any brand persona can do is prove that they are human. I talked about Steve Jobs. I talked about Elon Musk, And we see the same thing here now with Eric the Car Guy.

These people who have great success, we look up to them. But we also want to relate to them.

Why do we want to relate to our heroes?

Well, because if we see that someone who is just like us has achieved great success, then that means that someone just like me can achieve great success. That creates the type of emotion that creates in us is hope. And there is almost no emotion in the world stronger than hope.

So, as you create your brand’s persona, if you want to create that kind of incredibly powerful emotional connection with your audience, then you’ve got to share with them that you’re human. And the way you do that is the way Eric the Car Guy did it: by sharing a fear or a flaw that everyone can relate to.

This is Jack Heald for Cult Your Brand. Thanks for watching.

No One Ever Makes a Rational Decision

No One Ever Makes a Rational Decision

How do you more effectively convince people? Effective influencers understand human behavior. They use psychology to persuade people to make decisions. Persuasive arguments – the kind that actually motivate minds – are emotional, not reasonable. Here’s more evidence.


Hi, I’m Jack Heald for Cult Your Brand. People almost never make rational decisions. Even the most rational people make their decisions on emotion.

My younger son is a financial advisor. He challenged my statement that people don’t make decisions rationally. He told me that when his clients call him, he explains all the rational reasons why they should follow his advice. And they do. Therefore – according to him – they make rational decisions.

I asked a couple of questions. “When your clients call you, are they upset?” Yes. “Are they driven by fear?” Yes.

“So what you do when you talk to them is make them feel better, right?” Yes.

He uses facts. But that facts are not appealing to his clients emotions. The facts appeal to their rationality. And their rationality is not in charge of their emotions. My son’s calmness, his confidence, appeals to their emotion. And as they listen to his confident words and competent command of ideas, their fears subside. They feel better. And as they feel better, they can then grasp onto those facts and use them as anchors for the decision they have ALREADY MADE.

I asked him one more question. “Don’t they just take the FACTS you gave them and take those FACTS back to their spouse to JUSTIFY the decision that they’ve already made?” Yes. That is exactly what happens.

People are never, ever persuaded by facts. They are persuaded by emotion. They justify their emotion-driven decision with data.

That’s why you should Cult Your Brand.

Why We Only Seem to Be Rational

Want to learn a little more about how and why humans make the decisions we do?

One of the best books on the subject is Daniel Kahnemann’s Thinking Fast and Slow. Gets a Personality Gets a Personality


I read an email from Daniel Kempe this morning. The subject line was:

“An honest and open statement about Quuu.”

What he said in that email changed my mind about his business in the best possible way. And if you emulate him, it can help your business in the best possible way.

That’s the subject of today’s episode of Loyalty Triggers.

Hi, I’m Jack Heald, I was a self-taught programmer who started, built and then sold my own software company. About the same time, my two best friends joined a cult. That’s what drove me to learn about persuasion. I wanted to help my friends. What I learned led to the creation of my latest company, Cult Your Brand.

We help companies learn how to do the things that make people fall in love with them.

Daniel Kempe is the CEO of In the email I read, he said they’re “changing direction” at the company.

Now, when I read the subject line of his email, my first thought was, “Quuu’s going out of business.” I was glad to see I was wrong. Instead – as Daniel explained in his letter – they’re “going back to their roots.”

Quuu is a social media tool that integrates with Twitter. And Twitter keeps changing the integration rules on them. That’s got to be maddening.

So, first let me lay out the problem as it relates to all of us, then explain how Quuu got it wrong and then how Daniel got it right in his email.

Here’s the problem: Quuu needs to get people to try their product and then to keep using it. So They’re doing everything they can to make the product as compelling as it can be.

They’re keeping the features people love. And adding new features that people ask for. They’re listening to their customers about the business itself. The Price, customer service. That kind of thing.

And all these things – product features, product quality, customer service, pricing – these are all necessary components of building a business that people use and – more importantly – want to keep paying for.

But – and this is vital – there’s one other ingredient you have to add. Well, you don’t have to add it, but if you do, it will make everything go better.  

That vital ingredient? It’s love.

Now, that may sound a little woo-woo, but hear me out. There are sound, scientific reasons for this.

See, people don’t form emotional bonds with a product or with a service. People form emotional bonds with people. Or – more accurately – with personalities.

Now, you can argue with me about this if you want. But the science is clear. I can point you to study after study that demonstrates it. More than that, I have personal experience. Indulge me in a story.

My first car was a red 1972 Dodge Polara with a black vinyl roof. God, it was hideous. I named it Blur. I could seat 6 full size adults quite comfortably inside Blur. And – in the event I needed to do so – I could stuff another 3 or 4 friends into Blur’s trunk.

Not that I ever did such a thing.

Blur got 12 miles a gallon, downhill with the wind. He handled like a boat. A large boat. Blur was a land yacht in the truest sense of the word.

Blur got me all over Oklahoma and most of Texas. I even honeymooned in Blur.

The summer after I graduated from college, I traded Blur in on a brand new brown Nissan Sentra. As I drove away from the lot, I looked in the rearview mirror and  Blur was watching me leave. My heart broke. I felt like I was betraying an old friend – just swapping him out for someone newer and shinier.

I hated that feeling. And I swore to myself that I would never again name a car. And I never did. I didn’t want to form an emotional attachment to another machine. But the reality is, I had with a personality – Blur. I had an emotional attachment. That’s why leaving was so hard.

Emotional attachment. That brings us back to Quuu. It’s what’s desperately missing from Quuu. I think they probably have a really good product. But there’s nothing about Quuu – the company, the website, the people – that I can fall in love with. That anyone could fall in love with.

Is it even to fall with a company? Yeah. Here’s an example for comparison.

Jigsaw Health sells a commodity product: magnesium supplements. It’s a good product. In fact, it might be the very best magnesium you can buy. But there is nothing about the product – magnesium – that would make you fall in love with the company, Jigsaw.

Patrick Sullivan – the CEO – is very aware of this problem. That’s why he worked to give Jigsaw a personality. I guarantee you, spend just 3 minutes watching one of their videos and you’ll want to buy magnesium from Jigsaw. Even if you never bought magnesium before.

Quuu is selling software as a service. So they need their customers to keep paying month after month. They need to customers to fall in love with them.

That’s the problem Jigsaw has solved – not with product, but personality. You might buy from Jigsaw once because you need magnesium. But you’ll keep buying from them because you love the company.

Now does that mean your product doesn’t have to be good? Of course your product needs to be good. Nobody would argue otherwise. But to build a long-term relationship with your customer – especially in a market where there’s lots of competition, especially if you need customers to keep paying month after month – you need more than just a good product.

You need a personality.

When I look at the Quuu website, I get competence. I get features and benefits. What I don’t get is a personality that I can form an emotional attachment to.

That’s the bad news. Now – here’s the good news.

In his email this morning, Daniel showed me a little personality. I felt something. I didn’t merely think it. I felt a connection to people like Daniel. And because of that felt connection, because of that emotion, I’m gonna try Quuu again.

See, people are being overwhelmed by technology. Yet we are desperately hungry for emotional connections. Daniel’s honest letter this morning was all I needed to push me in the direction of trying Quuu again.

So, what’s the takeaway? How can you use this?

The glue that will bind your customers to your business is not your product. It’s something you can’t measure. It’s ephemeral: love – the love THEY feel for YOU. It’s the emotional connection they form with your company.

If your company has a poorly defined persona – or worse, like Quuu – no personality at all – they’ll never identify with you. They’ll never form a bond with you.

Anyway, Daniel. Thanks for the email. I’m gonna try Quuu again. And if you need a little help creating a persona for your company, well – you know where to find me.

I’ll link the info to Quuu and for Jigsaw Health in the comments. Let me know what you think. Can you change the way the market perceives you by showing a little personality? Let me hear from you.

Remember, if you don’t feel it, you won’t love it.

Until next time, I’m Jack Heald for Cult Your Brand.

How Do You Keep Customers Coming Back to You?

How Do You Keep Customers Coming Back to You?

How Do You Keep Customers Coming Back to You?

Joe has a gift. He can turn mere words into money – lots of money. And I was there to learn from the best. So I was pumping him for nuggets of wisdom.

Joe was bored with me though. He was playing with me – like a lazy cat with a tiny mouse.

So when he suddenly asked me, “why do people write such cheesy ads,” I didn’t take the bait. He was the Master. I was the Student.

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My lips were zipped, waiting for the punchline.

I’ll never forget that wicked little smile that spread across his face. He paused a beat, then jumped to his feet, clapping his hands by his ear as he answered his own riddle with a little rhyme.

Cuz’ it’s easy (clap clap clap)

To be cheesy (clap clap clap).

Cheese is for Sandwiches

I was thinking of Joe today as I watched one of Toyota’s “Pat” ads.  Pat gets paid a ton of money to act like a complete moron in Toyota commercials. Those commercials are cheesy as hell. Cheesy and offensive. I guess they took about 4 minutes to write.

They feature the unholy trinity of lousy writing:

  •         Fake emotions
  •         Fake feelings
  •         Fake sentiment

See, the biggest problem with ads like these is that they have no respect for the audience. The only authentic emotion in that ad is the utter contempt the writer feels for his audience.

And we – the audience – can feel his contempt.

Pro Tip: Wanna keep customers coming back to you? Don’t treat them with contempt.

Authentic Emotion is the Powerful Attractor

On the other hand, authentic emotion is impossible to resist.

Compare the horrible Toyota “Pat” ads to Subaru’s sublime “I’m Sorry” ad. I wrote about those ads here.

Watch the Subaru ad, then watch a Toyota “Pat” ad. Which one made you feel good? Which one made you want to vomit?

If you’re a parent, I guarantee you loved the Subaru ad. You are the kind of person they want as a customer.

(If you’re a professional clown, maybe you loved the Toyota ad. And maybe that’s who they want. I dunno.)

Question: would you rather share your Thanksgiving dinner with the guy who wrote the Subaru ad? Or with the guy who writes these stupid Toyota Pat commercials?

See, to get customers coming back to you, you must get them emotionally connected to you. So you to treat them with dignity, with respect and genuine feeling.

You don’t carpet-bomb your target audience with stupid, thoughtless messages. And you especially don’t take the easy-cheesy route.

Be real. Be simple. Share your common humanity. Open your heart to touch their hearts.

Subaru’s simple, direct message – with authentic emotion – is worth 10,000 phony and irritating Toyota Pat commercials.

Beware the Millennial BS Detector

If   you struggle to add authentic emotion to your message, ask us for help. (We’re pros.) At the very least, show some respect to your audience and refrain from resorting to cheese, ok?

If your target audience is under 35, authentic emotion is even more essential. Millennials in particular seem to be repelled by contrived emotion.

If you want to be irresistible, then be real. If you want customers coming back to you for years, be honest.

Contrived emotion — aka: “cheese” — provokes contempt from your audience. Authentic emotion says, “I respect you. I relate to you. I am just like you.”

Now, here’s how to do that.

Refine your persona down to 3 or 4 of its essential elements. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your company persona or your personal persona.

These 3 or 4 qualities will form the “voice” you use to talk with your customers. It should be a voice they can respect and also identify with. This is how you hook their hearts.

Need some guidance creating that persona? Download our free guide called Create Your Own Character Diamond.

Joe would be proud.

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How Effective Are Your Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty?

How Effective Are Your Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty?

(This is the text to the video “How Effective are Your Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty.”)

I’m thinking about one of the problems that almost every business runs into when it comes to Customer Retention.

As a rule, almost everybody I talk to has a very detailed, explicit and broad plan for capturing – for attracting – customers. Getting new customers.

In other words, they’ve got a Marketing Plan.

“How are we going to get new customers in the door? Well, here’s all the ways we’re going to go about doing it.”

But once those customers are in the door, almost none of them have a Retention Plan that’s as remotely specific as their Acquisition Plan.

So they work really, really hard and put a lot of time, attention and detail into acquiring a new customer. But don’t apply the same amount of thought and diligence into keeping the customer.

Now I think there’s a very significant factor in this very common choice – and here it is.

When it comes to marketing, most of us who’ve been involved in marketing understand that you attract people – your marketing efforts have to be aimed primarily at the psychology of the human being.

We have to appeal to them emotionally. They’ve got to feel something inside about whatever our offering is. It’s gotta resonate with them in order to attract them.

But then once we have ’em in the door – once we’ve made that first sale and they’re now officially “customers,” we forget about that aspect. We forget that loyalty is – in fact – an emotional response to the appropriate kind of stimulus.

And so we don’t have a plan to engage with our customers on an emotional level, so that we continue to capture their heart, to capture their affections, so that they continue to be our customers.

So as you think about your customer retention plans, ask yourself this question:

“Am I appealing to my customers with the same level of emotion and passion to keep them that I used to attract them and acquire them?”

Talk to you next time.

3 Ways to Increase Customer Retention and Nearly Double Profits

3 Ways to Increase Customer Retention and Nearly Double Profits

Wow, there’s been such AMAZING response to this letter that I'm re-posting it here. Thank you in advance for your kindness!

You’ve seen the photos. People paddling canoes down the street in front of their homes. Wheelchair-bound senior citizens lifted into a boat by helpful strangers. 180 MPH winds. Millions without power.

The damage from the hurricanes is estimated to be hundreds of billions. People won’t be able to work and kids can’t go to school. People like you and me need our help.

I found a charity ranked 100% by Charity Navigator. It gives away 99.4% of funds where YOU want them to go.

Forbes rates them 100% on Efficiency and 99% on Charitable Commitment. This group has been providing international relief for 17 years.

President Trump even donated to them.

It’s called Direct Relief.

Let’s help these hurricane victims out.

If you donate here to Direct Relief, I’ll send you a free copy of my e-book as soon as it’s complete.

It’s called Five Time-Tested Tools for Creating Lifelong Loyalty and I’m on schedule to a release on October 15th.

Just email me a copy of your donation receipt from Direct Relief and I’ll put you on the list for a free copy as soon as it’s complete.

About Five Time-Tested Tools

I’ve studied loyalty since 1990. How to get it. How to keep it. 1990 was the year my two best friends joined a cult. The cult promised them a better life. Yet the cult didn’t deliver.

Now, if the cult was a business, it would’ve lost some customers at that point. But my friends stayed even though the cult broke its promises.

Somehow, the cult did something to keep my friends loyal, in spite of broken promises.

I was determined to figure out why they stayed. That’s when I started studying the nature of loyalty.

It took a lot of time, effort and patience, but I cracked the code. Once I figured out these techniques, I understood why my friends wouldn’t leave.

See, cults use two kinds of techniques: manipulative and passive. The manipulative ones are really nasty. I hate ‘em.

But the passive techniques? Those are actually pretty cool. Anyone can use these passive techniques to create loyalty. They aren’t manipulative and they really work.

I identified five of these passive loyalty techniques.That’s what I’m writing about in Five Time-Tested Tools for Creating Lifelong Loyalty.

How You Can Help

So, if you’d like to get a free copy of Five Time-Tested Tools for Creating Lifelong Loyalty while you also help out those folks affected by the hurricanes, just go here to donate. >>

  • On the top right of the page, click on Donate.
  • Type in how much you’d like to donate.
  • Click on Direct my donation to if you’d like to direct the funds to a specific cause like Hurricane Irma or Harvey.
  • Pay by CC or PayPal

Then, forward your email receipt to me:

Let’s get that money where it counts.

Go ahead and donate now, and then send me the receipt so I can hook you up with the Five Time-Tested Tools for Creating Lifelong Loyalty ebook as soon as it’s finished.

The nation has been divided politically all year. Now is the time to come together to help those who need it the most.

Donate with Direct Relief now >>