Scammers diluted college brands

Like the rest of the world, I read in fascination how the rich and the famous had bought their children coveted placements into famed universities. I guess I was jaded enough not to be that surprised at it. After all, I supposedly live in a country where a two-tiered (public and private) health care doesn’t exist. And yet I found myself paying for an online doctor’s consult just this past weekend. So, for people with money, options always exist. In the case of big brand university admissions, an option did indeed exist for as low as $15K. I think I was just surprised at how cleverly it was packaged and sold with such wide reach.

What It Does to The Brands

As a result of the scandal, we have the involved kids who are shamed. We have the parents who go to jail. We have parents of students who couldn’t get in, suing the bribing parents. Then we have the rest of the student population who are left resentful because their degree from that university no longer has any clout. After all, if anyone with a few bucks can get in, do you now have to put on your resume that your parents were poor BUT you are still a graduate of a big name college? It’s a little funny but only if you’re in my warped brain when you think about it.

Does It Really Matter?

This scandal brought a really great point to mind for my practice. Everyday, I build brands for both my clients and their companies. And the truth is that accreditations, degrees and certificates are great but they don’t mean everything. Even if you don’t have a hundred letters next to your name, you can still build marketing content to position yourself as a thought leader and seem to be at the top of your profession. Write a book, speak at conferences, do media, make videos or host a podcast. You don’t need a degree to do any of these.

So whether you’re a shamefaced big brand college student or just a regular business owner, you don’t have to rely on anything outside of yourself to enhance your brand. You just have to own an expertise and continually pump out quality advice around it. Remember, in marketing, visibility is money.

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