Recently I got an email notifying me that I had been nominated to
be included in the latest edition of one of the Who’s Who (WW)
Now, being smart and sophisticated, you may be laughing already.
“Bob, you maroon,” you may be thinking. “Don’t you know that
Who’s Who is hype and a scam — meaningless, worthless, and
bordering on fraud?”
Well, in some ways it may be. It is definitely a marketing ploy,
and not a genuine award or honor.
But there is a counterargument, and it is based on a simple
notion: perception equals reality.
YOU are smart and savvy enough to know WW is mainly a way for the
publisher to make money from marks who are, shall we say, perhaps
a wee bit susceptible to flattery.
But right or wrong, many in the general public — including some
of your prospects and customers — see Who’s Who as real.
Therefore, if you add “listed in Who’s Who” to your bio, doing so
causes your star to rise a bit with these people.
As a result, your WW listing is yet another block (albeit, a tiny
one) in the foundation of your reputation as a guru or expert.
And as we know, being an established guru in your field helps
sell more of your products and services.
Now, “Who’s Who” is a specific example of a broader category of
self-promotion I call the “thin credential.”
I define a thin credential as an honor, award, membership, or
designation that you (a) proactively pursue mainly for its
promotional or marketing value, and (b) sounds more impressive
than it actually is.
Also, if obtaining the thin credential requires study, courses,
and tests to earn it, the individual seeking it often does these
things primarily to get the certification or designation — with
the education and knowledge gained being secondary if that.
For instance, decades ago, I trained as a Certified Novell
Administrator (CNA) — not so I could become a working network
administrator, but to earn a certification that would show my
credibility as a copywriter in the IT niche. And, it worked!
One word of warning: If you get a thin credential, do not
overplay it. Be low key. If you strike up the band, and your
audience knows it’s lightweight, you’ll come off looking silly,
egotistical, or both.