I see the positive effect of altercasting firsthand every week. I just didn’t know there was a name for it.

Altercasting is when an individual projects the identity of a role they want you to assume so you’re encouraged to behave in a desired manner.

So today a personal story of admiration of two men—a father and son—who I greatly admire. They are both leaders. And they are both altercasters (in a good way).

My regular readers know that I perform with an International Championship Chorus. Its name is Vocal Majority. There are nearly 140 of us who will be on stage tomorrow as we compete in a District contest (a geography that includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma). Assuming a win, we’ll go on to the International Barbershop Harmony completion stage in Las Vegas next July.

The long-time director is Jim Clancy. What a man, and what a leader! He’s instantly your friend, and he has the gift of encouragement to bring out the best in yourself. He’s retired from directing contests because of its rigors, but he remains an active leader, and our primary musical arranger.

His son, Greg Clancy, is now the Director who will be in front of us directing tomorrow. He has the gifts of his dad.

Altercasting, as a method of persuasion, caught my attention in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, quoting psychologists as saying “it’s widely used in the real world—by advertisers, fundraisers, parents, teachers, spouses, and therapists, among others.”

I believe that any successful marketer, and every successful leader, will use the positive aspect of altercasting to be a success. (As an aside, I believe there are darker elements of altercasting that can only be viewed as manipulation—I completely discourage that approach in marketing. Read the WSJ article for more about those dark elements).

But back to the positive: Jim and Greg both encourage us before we sing. They tell us how they expect to hear a certain phrase or chord before it’s sung. They project a persona they want us to take on. So we do it. The greater point is that through encouragement, and specifically telling us what they just feel deep down they will hear, that we’ll do it. We do it because they are leaders. We do it because we admire and respect them. And we do it because we want to meet and surpass their expectations. 

There will be a live webcast tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 1) where Vocal Majority will perform at about 12:30 pm Central Time. You can watch it here and see for yourself the positive outcome of the persuasive power of altercasting.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.