The Science of Brand Visibility (and Invisibility!) with Chloé Nwangwu


“Visibility does take resources, whether that’s time, energy, or money. Systemically under-recognized folks have fewer of those resources in a general sense.” – Chloé Nwangwu


In this episode of The Widest Net Podcast, Pam is joined by Chloé Nwangwu, an expert in strategic networking and professional visibility and director of NobiWorks, a brand visibility consultancy rooted in behavioral science. With her extensive experience in navigating visibility biases and expanding influence, Chloé brings a wealth of knowledge on enhancing visibility for entrepreneurs. Her unique insights and practical strategies make her a valuable resource for those seeking to strategically network and elevate their professional presence.

The pain of struggling to connect with your audience is real. It’s time to break free from ineffective strategies and discover a better way to truly understand and engage your target market. Let’s navigate the visibility biases and expand your influence together!

Here’s what you can expect from this episode: 

  • Unveiling the power of shifting client avatar profiling strategies for enhanced connection and engagement
  • Exploring the terms under-represented vs under-recognized
  • Conquering recognition biases in diversity to foster an inclusive and thriving work environment
  • Navigating visibility challenges in the workplace
  • Elevating visibility through strategic networking for expanded influence and professional growth


Here are the Show Notes.


Here’s the transcript:


Welcome to another episode of The Widest Net Podcast. I’m your host, Pamela Slim, and I’m joined today by my guest, Chloé Nwangwu, known as the brand scientist. Chloé is the director of Nobiworks, a brand visibility consultancy rooted in behavioral science. She unabashedly believes brands and visibility strategies not built with power dynamics and biases in mind should consider disappearing from this plane of existence.        


Here, here, fist in the air. Pause from reading your bio. That’s the Thanos snap treatment for the nerds out here. Yes. Nobiworks equips under-recognized brands with visibility strategies and systems scientifically formulated to help them neutralize visibility biases while commanding and keeping attention in an increasingly crowded marketplace.        


Everything you do to be better seen, heard, and understood should work full stop, and it is her personal mission to make that so. Most recently, she advised the first refugee delegation to the United Nations. How amazing. Just like you. Welcome to the show.        


Thank you so much for having me. And folks, listening cannot see because we don’t share video, at least up to now, but there is a giant baby Yoda behind her, which, you know, has my heart and this coolest multi sort of gently changing color microphone that I’m sort of transfixed with. So if I go into another dimension and forget my questions, it’s because it is very beautiful to watch. And I feel mesmerized. Thank you.        


I mean, to fully earn my nerd cred, like, right now, all of those elements make this interaction super neuro rich. And so that means that you’re being stimulated on multiple different sensory modalities. And that means that this is going to leave an even stronger impression than it might have otherwise. I knew there was science behind it before you even said it, but it’s working. It is working, whatever it is.        


So I want to start our conversation today by discussing an idea that you so brilliantly wrote about recently in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Why We Should Stop Saying Under-represented.”, which was the title. And then I added, and instead say, under-recognized. What’s your premise and your point of view about this? Yeah, absolutely. So the premise is this, right?        


That when it comes to representation and who happens to be in a room where decisions are being made at any given point in time, we tend to hear that issue and say, oh, okay, we just need more folks in the room, right. What that is overlooking or choosing to ignore is the fact that the low number of under-represented folks in the room is a symptom of a problem. Right. There’s a behavior that’s actually leading to that outcome. And the word under-represented doesn’t actually talk about that behavior.        


Instead, what it does is it says, oh, these folks just happen to be under-represented. There’s no agent, there are no small, tiny actions that we can do to ameliorate this. Right. This is a big problem, and it’s going to take big things to fix. Only now is under-representation a big systemic issue.        


Yes, absolutely. Yes. But when we’re talking about the actual behaviors that need to change in order for under-representation to become a thing of the past, what science, and a lot of anecdotal experience is starting to show is that rather than an issue of not enough folks making it into the rooms, right. The issue is not enough folks being recognized. Right.        


That what’s actually happening is that folks who tend to be underrepresented are underrepresented because they tend to be under-recognized. Right. Their contributions, their ideas are underappreciated as the status quo. And a great example of this is the racial attention deficit, which is a cognitive bias discovered in 2021, I want to say. And these researchers were able to empirically demonstrate that white Americans are 33% more likely to overlook their black peers as opposed to their white peers.        


Right. And that’s even when they’ve been incentivized to pay attention to those black peers and when they know that that black peer may have knowledge or background that can help them with a pressing problem. So when both of those things are true, the gap in attention is 33%. And that’s a sort of minimum average type situation. Right.        


Because when you’re working in person, the numbers are likely higher. And that was something that was actually pointed out in the study. Right. And I know a number of people, and I’ve read a number of sort of anecdotal experiences where it feels like that number is higher. I’m going to tell folks who are listening trust that instinct because chances are it is, right.        


This study looked at a very narrow scope of social identity. It didn’t necessarily look intersectionally. It didn’t necessarily look at socioeconomic status or sexual orientation. It didn’t really look at gender. It didn’t even look at race in a multitudinous way.        




So I bring up the racial attention deficit to say that there are tons, dozens and counting of these cognitive biases, this learned brain chemistry that contributes to our current status quo, and that current status quo means or shows that as far as who gets recognized is concerned, as far as who gets seen, as far as visibility is concerned, we as a society allocate our attention in discriminatory ways.        


And that is something that’s an actual behavior that we can change. Right. That’s something that we can actually pinpoint as opposed to saying, oh, the problem is under representation. Let’s just throw a bunch of folks into the room, which tends to be the solution. Right.        


We say, oh, okay, not enough variety here. Cool. Insert woman here, right. And we’ll see how it goes. Right.        


And the problem with that approach is that it doesn’t change the recognition landscape, right? That person who’s been inserted is still within the same systems that allowed for them to be underrepresented in the first place. Right. And it’s that under recognition. And so what using the word under-represented does is it sort of sets us all up to fail.        


It says, okay, cool, we’ll handle the problem from this end. And we know that handling the problem from that end hasn’t led to sustainable change.        


Yeah. And I so appreciate the analysis. And as a white woman, it’s also so helpful. As you talk about the shift, my favorite word is who is we? So when we start to talk about change, there’s something that I read in the article, as you were saying, one of the issues that can come up in the context of underrepresentation is somehow it is for whoever has been underrepresented, aka underrecognized.        


We’ll get to in a minute. But where it seems to be the onus, there’s this pressure without any support, any system of support around that. Oh, yes. We just get you in the room and then automatically like, hey, if you fly, you fly. We gave you the opportunity.        


We, and I will speak on behalf of my white self and my white brethren and sistren in that that is actually ineffective behavior. It’s not addressing the real issue. It can create this whole sense of reinforcing bias where folks are like, well, I asked, and we had somebody and it didn’t work out. And then, as you said, therefore, it just can lead to this whole cascading set of behaviors. So I just appreciate, so much, the context in which you share it.        


Looking at the science behind it, I get annoyed. My brother and sister in law are amazing scientists. They’re at University of Pittsburgh, and we love to banter back and forth, especially on email, with the whole family copied. It’s like our favorite thing to do. And then our mom is like, would you stop?        


Yeah. It’s just like, so fun. But I can shake my fist sometimes. Like, why is science so important? Because sometimes I think we just always worship science.        


And at the same time, I love it and I appreciate it. And one of the reasons I just get annoyed is because through lived experience, people are saying, this is true. This is true. This is true. This has always been true for me, all my relations, and then still and again, speaking to my own identity, right?        


It can take scientific proof to say, oh, this is true. When literally people have been saying it forever. For decades and centuries, right? Decades and centuries. And so it’s like, all of a sudden science comes in.        


So I just. On behalf of all of my ancestors and myself, right, like, sorry for that annoying part, and thank you for your support in looking at the science, because that is something that I think can just bring it home for people, but is a very real thing. I think early on when you and I first connected, which I enjoyed so much, I was sharing one of the mission behind our space here at the ket community lab was really recognizing the leadership that exists but is rarely seen. And it was before I understood your work and looked at the specifics around it. I know we talk about it a lot in terms of indigenous folks and indigenous leaders here of just one of the pillars of white supremacy being invisibility, and where we have just all kinds of historic policies programs hypnotizing, like, marketing campaigns, kill the indian, save the child, manifest destiny, like, all these things that literally are designed to make indigenous people invisible, to make the history about what actually happened invisible.        


And now, as we see in a current wave of anybody who happens to write about the truth of it, to make those books banned and out of the way. But it was so interesting just in my own identity where folks might come in and predominantly white folks who would say, like, oh, pam, it’s so great that you’re doing this program. What are you teaching the people that you’re working with? When I would say, we host BIPOC entrepreneurs that are doing whatever they want to do here in the lab. And it was always the assumption, how are you teaching and developing them to be leaders?        


And I always say, I don’t do anything. I do nothing. I do zero programming. Because the issue is not that leadership doesn’t exist. It exists, but it’s just very rarely recognized.        


So I love the direct connection with what we have definitely lived here and seen. And it ends up impacting in the way that you’re talking about overall, where you begin to recognize the science, behave in such a way where you are just inviting folks to come in as the leaders that they are in celebrating that, and then noticing so many amazing things that happen that can create a positive vibe where then other people come in the room. And what’s sort of magic about it is there could be nobody else in the space. But I think just of the fact that there have been so many amazing people in this space. People are like, gosh, it just feels so good in here.        


And I’m like, I know people are seasoning these walls with their good feelings, good kind of energy that I think is. And then you just have maybe a word of mouth reputation that this is a place where you’re just celebrated for the amazing person that you are. So I just wanted to draw that direct line for folks who might have read the widest net and just be like, see, Chloé has a science behind it. Yes. And honestly, more than you know, we at some point should talk about the network science that sort of underlying this might be like, podcast episode number two.        


Because let’s do 37 episodes. Okay. In the history. Because I feel like we’re just going to scratch the surface today. Yeah.        


But so much of that, when I was reading it, I was like, oh, my goodness, this thing comes in here, and so much of it is actually supported by this. The science supports it, which evidently is my catchphrase. Now, I didn’t realize I said it so often, but I do. But the science supports it is just brand scientist stamp of approval. No one can see me doing that.        


But that’s what I’m doing. Exactly. I love it well, and it is a common thing. So this is more maybe getting specifically to the practice of behaviors, which as an instructional designer, I love looking at things through the practice of behaviors. I often get asked because people might know that I do have a lot of relationships with folks of color, in particular entrepreneurs here.        


They might come and say, and very often it might be predominantly white led companies, as you said, maybe people who are saying, we have an underrepresentation problem, we need to get more folks in the room. And they just say, do you know any black founders I could talk to? Or could you introduce me to any indigenous artists or whatever it is? I’ll definitely tell you what I say, but I’m curious what you would say if people often just come saying, could you just make the introduction? So what would be your counsel if somebody asked that question?        


So this is a really good question. And I think honestly, for one, it does depend on the context and who is asking, right. The size of the organization, all the context things. Right. However, the thing that I am always hyper vigilant about is one ensuring that this meeting isn’t going to be an un, a draw on this under-recognized person’s resources, be that time, energy, or money that isn’t reciprocated fairly.        


Right? So that’s one thing, right? And reciprocity, this is going to come in when we talk more about the various kinds of learned brain chemistry or cognitive biases that contribute to under-recognition, right? But one of them is this term I coined, I suppose, the reciprocity gap, right. And understanding that when it comes to the rate of return, perhaps on investment of our resources, right?        


So let me see, what would a good example of this be? Let me give you this example of what the reciprocity gap is, right? So imagine with me, if you will, a parent, right? And they are preparing lunch for their rambunctious kids right? Now.        


Chances are extremely high that you imagined a woman or a mother, right? So that’s one thing. Right. However, the more important thing is to imagine with me if that parent was a man, was a father, right? What would be the collective societal response to that theme?        


Right. Often it’s something like, oh, wow, he’s such a great dad, or, look how much he cares, or whatever it happens to be. It feels like this person is going above and beyond. Right. But if it’s the woman.        


Right? Well, first of all, we defaulted a woman into that place. Right. And secondly, if it’s the woman, it’s just sort of like, yeah, what about it? Right?        


And so there’s something in there that clues us in something in that reaction, in that experience that clues us into the fact that reciprocity exists on a spectrum of equivalent exchange. Right? And so when somebody comes to me and asks me to introduce them to an underrecognized whomever, right, the first thing I’m hyper vigilant about is reciprocity and ensuring that that’s going to be there. Right. The second thing I’m hyper vigilant about is ensuring that the system is ripe for that underrecognized person’s success.        


Right. And again, it depends on the context. I’m speaking very generally because it depends on the context. Right. But if we are in a situation where the organization does not yet understand the difference between underrepresented and underrecognized and hasn’t yet decided to make steps towards ameliorating the problem of underrecognition, then I’m not necessarily sure that that organization is a safe place for this underrecognized person that I’m connected to.        


Right. And so there is a great deal of that analysis that is going on behind the scenes when I’m deciding, am I going to make this introduction? What kind of caveats am I going to make to this underrecognized person as I am connecting them? What sort of things am I going to advise this organization that has asked for this introduction? Right.        


So there’s a lot of that sort of mental calculus that’s going on. I hope that answers your question. I’m not entirely, oh, it’s so helpful. Yeah, well, it totally does. And I am really curious now.        


And I was just thinking, oh, I know the first thing I’ll do is say, read this HBR article, really? Because that is part of the context what made me think, and tell me if this is accurate in terms of the science, but a common assumption, if you have yet to understand the difference between the terms underrepresented versus underrecognized, there can be the assumption on behalf of the person asking that it is always going to be a good thing. Like I, and especially in a person of power or privilege, I am giving the opportunity to somebody to come into my amazing experience or to be a guest on my podcast or to be on my stage. And as you said, when we’re talking in hypothetical terms that could be like, isn’t that what everybody wants? Don’t entrepreneurs or authors want to be on stages?        


And one can say in general, yes, people want visibility. As we look at the work that you do and why, how that happens, what happens once somebody goes in there, what happens? And I know intersectionally in the relationship that I might have as a white woman with different individuals from different communities, that is often a very long standing, multiple interaction kind of relationship based on trust. And like many relationship, we can fracture in all kinds of different ways in all of our different identities, right? With family members, with people from our own cultural background.        


And there’s, I think, very specific fragmentation when it’s like, why are you doing this, Pam? Why all of a sudden are you just introducing me maybe to random people who you don’t have any lived experience to know that are going to care for you, are going to have an analysis, are going to, like you said, very specifically compensate often for in the case where there’s been an organization or an event or a stage or a podcast that maybe hasn’t had a lot of diverse folks on it, then there can be a whole bunch of background work that that person would need to have to prepare whoever is doing the interview or running the organization. So it’s interesting to see in the way that things begin to stack up that based on not having an analysis, you might lead to a certain assumption that, again, can just start to reinforce it where it’s like, and I’ve had people get really mad at me. They’re like, why won’t you keep talking about how we need to have more visibility? Like, I’m trying to do the right thing.        


And very often I say, yes, I totally appreciate that. I would love to personally maybe spend some time with you in your organization learning more about, like, what are you about? What have you kind of done? What are some assumptions so that I can learn more, but it usually ends up just being worse all the way around. If there is just that general connection, and I don’t care, people get pissed off at me.        


In fact, I, it. Which being that barrier. No, it’s a thing. No, that’s absolutely right. And I want to add another soupçon of science in here to say, right.        


That not all disability is good for under, in general, right. But especially for underrecognized folks. And the reason for that is this, right one, visibility does take resources, right. Whether that’s time, energy or money. Right.        


It takes systemically under-recognized folks have fewer of those resources in a general sense. Right. In a general sense right? Now, if we take all of those things into consideration, and then we also take into consideration the way that the attention economy is currently set up, right? Where it is insanely crowded, and more and more and more things are crowding it day by day.        


Especially now with the advent of AI in common use, right? What that means is that our brains, just as a society, are extra judicious, right? We’ve had a pandemic, we’ve had economic instability, we’ve had just xYz, you name it, we’ve had it, right? And that leads to a hyper vigilance in our brains filters about what we consider important and what we’re just going to not even see, right? Part of why under-recognition is so troublesome, part of why the cognitive biases that contribute to it are so troublesome, is because what it means to be under-recognized is that you’re being batted away by the brain’s filters, right?        


In many cases, it’s like you are invisible. It’s like you’re wearing an invisibility cloak, right? So if you have fewer resources with which to be visible, right? And generally people’s brains are already in overdrive, like swatting things away. If an underrecognized person then takes those limited resources and tries to be as visible as possible, just blanket wise, right?        


Without really having that intentionality that we’ve sort of spoken about when we’re talking to folks who want to bring them into the fold or have them on their podcast or in their organization or whatever it happens to be, right? All that’s doing is teaching these brains to overlook them, right. Because you see a thing again and again and again, and the first time you ignored it, and the second time you ignored it, the third time, your brain’s not even going to bother. It’s going to filter, filter, filter, right? We want to make sure that we’re not teaching or reinforcing that habit of overlooking under-recognized folks, right?        


And so if we’re not intentional about how, if we as underrecognized people are not intentional about how we’re showing up, and if folks who are looking to signal boost underrecognized people are not intentional about how we’re signal boosting them, all we’re doing is reinforcing that tendency, that predisposition that’s already there. And add to that the limited resources, and then suddenly those limited resources are gone and it hasn’t translated into what we were hoping it would, right? So it’s not even just a, even though don’t get me wrong, safety is so key here, right. It’s important to anyone I’m connected with, that I’ve built trust with, that they are safe when I introduce them to another organization or a connection or what have you. Right.        


That’s really important, and that’s part of why I ask all those questions that I do. But also, it’s from an efficacy standpoint, right. That I’m not trying to make that connection and have a person put them on their podcast or have them speak at their workshop or whatever it happens to be, and have that not translate for that under recognized person. Right. Have that actually just reinforce the problems that we’re trying to overcome in the first place.        


There’s a lot there. Yes. Well, I’d love to dive into the sciences that you said, because you were saying right on the homepage in your website, that as it turns out, the visibility game is rigged. And so what is the science around that? It sounds like this is part of what you’re.        


Right. A portion of it you’re talking about. What’s the way that you describe the bigger picture for folks to understand? Visibility. Yeah, absolutely.        


So this is the way that visibility generally works. Right. We have an attention economy. So for those who are uninitiated, what that means is it’s sort of like the full set of things to which we can allocate our attention. Right.        


And the sort of marketplace within which that happens. Right. And I want you to imagine with me that you have a limited number of coins, like actual coins, right. And these are attentional coins, right. These coins.        


When you pay these coins, that means you are paying attention to a thing, right? Now, what happens when you pay attention to a thing is that that thing then is noticed. And when it’s noticed, that means that it has the opportunity. Doesn’t necessarily mean that this is going to happen, but it has the opportunity to make it past the brain’s filters and enter into the constellation of ideas and memories that make up parts of our brains. Right?        


Now, the reason that it’s so important for you to be able to not only make it past those brain filters and also make it into that associative network of ideas and memories is because when someone is then making a decision or behaving, like, about to make a decision or a behavior, right, they consult that network of memories and ideas. And if you, your brand, your idea, whatever it happens to be, if it is stored in the right part of this constellation, in the right galaxy, and it’s connected to the right ideas. Right. Then what that means is that chances are very high that you’ll be remembered in the right context. That when someone is making a decision, that short list of candidates or whatever it happens to be, let’s say they’re deciding where they’re going to donate their volunteer hours, or maybe it’s their dollars to charity or who they’re going to vote for in an election, who they’re going to buy, whose soap they’re going to buy, right.        


All of these various kinds of decisions, right? Folks are drawing up a short list of candidates in their head from this associative network, right? And the only thing that you are trying to do is make sure that you are in the right galaxy connected to the right ideas so that you are one of those ideas in that shortlist when somebody is making a decision. Right? That’s the framework generally.        


Now under recognition. Now under recognition has two sides to it, I would say. Right. There’s the side that is what I call visibility biases, right? And these are the cognitive biases, the learned brain chemistry, like the racial attention deficit or the reciprocity gap that we brought up before that are responsible for that predisposition that we have of allocating or giving or paying our attentional coins in ways that are discriminatory.        


Right? And so what that means when we think about the racial attention deficit, for example, right? Yeah. What’s happening is that someone has the option to pay an attentional coin to this underrecognized person, this black person. Right.        


Or to this white person. They’re 33% more likely to give that attentional coin to that white person. Right. That’s what the racial attention deficit is showing us from a mechanical standpoint. Right.        


And there are dozens of these visibility biases, like I said and counting that talk about the various different ways in which we allocate those coins in discriminatory ways. Right? So that’s the first problem from a scientific standpoint that’s going on, that those coins aren’t being allocated in a neutral way and for all intents and purposes, people believe that they are. Then we have the other side of under recognition, right? And this is what I call the invisibility tax.        


Right? Now, folks get taxed by the government and hopefully they pay those taxes, right? And when you look at the list of taxes that you’re going to get paid and the various facets of the various lines of taxes that you’re going to pay, right. Context sort of determines what you’re going to pay and what credits you get and that sort of thing. Right.        


That’s all determined by context. The invisibility tax works in a very similar way in that depending on your social identity, depending on sort of other factors of context, being invisible looks different. Right. And you are asked by society, as an underrecognized person, to pay even more in order to be visible. Right.        


And so there’s this threshold almost that you need to overcome, right. In order to be as visible as your peers who may have more privilege than you. Right.        


I’m trying to think of what a good example of a facet of the invisibility tax might be. I would say so, for example, The Ambition Penalty. Right. One I coined. This is Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, I believe.        


And essentially, it is all of the penalties that you face as an underrecognized person for being ambitious. Right. The way that you are nickeled and dimed and demonized, as it were. Right. Because of your identity, because you are under-recognized.        


Right. So a very general example, a woman may be very ambitious in a corporate workspace, right. And we see the things that that kind of woman is called, as opposed to her male contemporaries. Right. That’s an ambition penalty.        


Right. And that’s a facet of the invisibility tax. Right. That is something that you are being asked to pay as an underrecognized person in order to sort of level set so that you get to a place where folks can see you and even consider paying you their attentional coins. Right.        


So those are the two sides of the under recognition equation, as it were. So.        


If we’re. If we’re in a place where our ability to allocate those attentional coins is already compromised. Right. And our brain’s filters and the ways in which it filters information is already compromised as a result of the reinforcement of that. Right.        


And then we’re also in a place where folks who are under-recognized have to actually work harder and do more to be at the same level as far as visibility is concerned, to then fall into that already sort of rigged visibility pathway mechanically. Right. We have a system that is ripe for exhaustion, for overwork, for underappreciation, for all of the things that we’ve been talking about. And so from a mechanical standpoint, that’s what it looks like. Yeah.        


I’ll stop here because I know I’ve been talking. It’s really helpful. Yeah. And I appreciate the examples that you use in order to illustrate it. And then it immediately makes me think for the clients that you’re working with, first I’m imagining there’s some relief that people might have where you’re like, this is science.        


You’re so exhausted. It is not you. Here’s all the things that are happening systemically. And then how do you help people navigate that, knowing what those conditions are, what are specific ways? And it may ask you, like, who do you work with?        


So who are ideal clients for you? We’ll talk in just a second about the ideal client Avatar and why you don’t want anybody to do it. So answer it in the way that you talk about your clients, and then we’ll talk about that in a second. But, yeah. So how do you help your clients navigate and without, of course, giving individual names.        


But can you describe the way that you might work somebody through that, the process of getting visible where they want to be given the system that they’re operating in? Yeah. No, absolutely. So the underlying foundation of how we make that happen is you look at it as a behavior change challenge. Right.        


Because at the end of the day, under recognition, that’s a behavior. That’s something that someone is doing. That is a behavior. And so when you look at that behavior from the standpoint of, okay, what do we need to do in order to change that behavior, in order to design a different type of behavior, the approach actually becomes pretty straightforward. Right.        


And so let’s say I want to think of a good example of someone.        


Yes. Okay. So I will talk about a business coach that I worked with. And I should say that to your first question about who I work with. Right.        


Despite the ICA stuff, what I would say is that folks tend to fall into a few different camps. Right. There are executives, I might say. So these are folks who, they might be founders, they might be executives in larger companies. And the thing that unites them is that they are wrestling with under recognition whether or not they themselves are under recognized, or in some cases, folks who may themselves not be dealing with under recognition.        


But see, under recognition is a problem, maybe on their team or something, they want to know how to tackle it. Right. That’s executives, then we have practitioners. Right. And those are folks like you and me who are in this sort of strategic communications, marketing, pr, like all these sort of adjacent things that are tangentially related.        


Folks who are sort of in that field who. Yes, they want to do a good job. Right. But they also want to do good with their jobs. Right.        


And then there’s the third camp of folks who are just sort of like institutions, right. And that’s sort of a newer. When I say newer, no, I wouldn’t it feels newer, but it’s actually not. But it’s larger organizations who are trying to tackle under recognition on a huge scale. Right.        


And those projects tend to be very, how would I put this? Very tailored. I’ll put it that way. They tend to be very tailored. So it might be less useful to talk about that example.        


So I’ll bring it back to this person who I was working with who does fall into the executive camp. Right? And I remember I was speaking with her before. She was a client of mine. And essentially I was just giving some advice, saying, oh, I would be happy to connect you with these people who I’ve been on their podcast.        


Like, I vetted them that you’re safe. It’s a really great fit given what you’re doing. Happy to make that connection. And she said to me that she was excited for the connection and also wasn’t even sure what she would talk about in that instance. Right.        


Like, wasn’t even sure how she would articulate what made her and her work distinct in a way that would sort of help her supersede some of these. Some of these biases. Right. And the overactive filters that we’ve been talking about up until now. Right.        


And so often I found that that is one of the first steps. Right. And so I said, oh, I can help you with that. And she was like, oh, great, okay, so what does that look like? Right.        


And so what that looks like is, first we want to do a stakeholder analysis, right. What this means is we need to understand all of the stakeholders that are relevant to your success. Right. And we need to understand them motivationally. Right.        


And this will eventually maybe get into the ICA thing. Right. But you want to understand them from a motivational standpoint, because motivation is what actually drives behavior change. Right. Motivation and motivational drivers.        


Right. So we understand that context, the motivational context, then we want to move on and make sure that we are able to connect that motivational context to what it is that you do. Right. So we want to give people an obvious reason to pick you that connects to that motivational context. Right.        


And that’s sort of the bit that this person was sort of missing. Right. That they understood, to an extent, the motivational context, but that bit right there, that obvious reason to pick you, which I call your end factor or your notability factor. Right. That thing was sort of missing.        


Right. And so once we do that, once we have, by their powers combined, they are captain planet, right. What we are able then to do is to articulate your advantage in a way that helps clearly navigate around some of those visibility biases. Right. We’re not yet at the stage where we’re neutralizing them, but we are at the stage where we’re navigating around some of them.        


Right. Then what happens is we want to systematize our approach to expanding your sphere of influence. Right. And this is so key, especially if you are under-recognized, that your.        


Under. Recognition, like I said before, is a behavior challenge. Right. And so what that means is that if we are going to have this behavior change on a scale that’s actually going to be valuable to you, you need to be really vigilant about many things, but especially your network. Right?        


And so network science, and this is one of my relatively newer loves. And by relatively new, I mean like a few years, right. So not as far back as some of these other things, right. But network science has shown us that certain orientations of network, certain network shapes, and I mean that geometrically. Right.        


Like, if you map out your network and you look at its literal shape, you can determine with a lot of regularity when behavior change is going to happen at scale. Right. And when it’s not. And so that’s the second step that we need to sort of set in place a routine for ensuring that that behavior change is happening at scale. Right.        


And that looks different depending on who you are and where you are and all of that. Right. But that’s sort of the overarching idea. And then finally, once we’ve done all that, then the idea is that we want to continue to systematize people’s interest. Right.        


And so that means that, okay, now we’ve been able to articulate your advantage. Right. Now we’re in a place where.        


Sorry, now we are in a place where you are consistently building your sphere of influence, not only so that it expands, but it expands in a way that facilitates the behavior change that we’re looking for. Right. And at scale. And so how do we, how might I put this?        


How do we ensure that both of those things that we set up are as effective as possible across the various contexts that you are going to encounter? Yeah. How I would say it, because context is going to change. That’s the only thing that is as sure as the fact that time is going to pass. Right.        


Time is going to pass. Right. And context is going to change. Those are two things that are immutable. Right.        


Unless we figure out time travel, in which case, no, still, those things are going to happen. Right. And so we need to be able to understand everything that we’ve said before within the context that you have now, the context that might come and the context that came before. Right. So that you are able to adapt regardless, so that you’re equipped to adapt.        


And that’s generally how it works. I’m not sure if that was specific enough. Please let me know.        


Yeah, that’s the process that I went through with this person and they got back to me and they were like, I closed like 30k in business within a few weeks of us talking. Right. And again, results not typical. Right. I’m not a charlatan.        


Okay. I’m not going to make promise, especially because I’m also certainty is the thing that wigs us out in behavioral incidents and in science in general. Right. But I will tell you that those building blocks, as far as the behavior change process, really do lead to an unlock as far as visibility and the return on your investment into your visibility is concerned. Yeah.        


Well, and I think we do need and want to have another episode because I’m so excited to be digging into the network science, and there’s so much richness and depth. And we will absolutely provide links for people so they can get some of the background and context. I love that we share a love for models and frameworks. I got to peek underneath the hood a little bit when we first met, and I was just absolutely flabbergasted with delight. So you do such deep, beautiful work.        


And I’ll ask another kind of final, short question. That’s a little bit of a preview for an exciting something you have coming up. But what is your passion for saying, please stop doing the ideal client avatar exercise? Why is it a problem? And how can people work with you in order to not do that but have a similarly, have a much better positive result?        


Yes. Oh, my goodness. Okay. This could be a whole episode. I’m going to try to be brief.        


So I will say this, that I understand the impulse to use ideal client avatars. I do. Right. And they are a tool that I used earlier on in my career. Because that’s what we knew.        


Right. It’s just that ideal client avatars are not the right receptacle almost for those impulses to be poured into. And that is because, one, they’re not as effective as we would like them to be from a behavior change standpoint, and two, they’re actively making the world a worse place. Right. And I think none of those things are things that we want to have happen.        


Right. And I’ll say very briefly because I know that that’s an incendiary device that I have just dropped here at the. End of get everybody fired up. And then I’ll say, where can you connect with Chloé so that you all can have. So, yes, come at me if you have feelings about this.        


I actually just wrote an essay on why these things are the case. Right. And I’m happy to link these, but very briefly, I will say that behavioral science has shown us that demographic and often psychographic information is not enough to actually facilitate behavior change. Right. So you, knowing that I am 33 and really enjoy grapefruit seltzer is not going to help you facilitate my behavior change.        


And that’s even if you’re trying to get me to buy Grapefruit seltzer. Right. It’s not going to facilitate that behavior change. Right. So that’s one.        


And then two, demographic and psychographic segmentation.        


We can look all around us and see that there are increasingly frightening, explosive echo chambers. Right. That exist around us. Those echo chambers, and the ease of manipulating them and the ways in which many of them are further and further divorced from reality and have their own alternative realities and facts and things. Right.        


That is directly because those groups, those echo chambers, are demographically and psychographically not diverse. Right. And so I will leave it there in terms of why that leads to stuff. Please read the essay if you want to hear more. That’s just sort of like an overview.        


But I will say that if that’s something that interests you, I do have a certification coming up where I am going to certify you. Not just train you, but certify you in my approach to circumnavigating all of this. Right. I have developed an approach called stakeholder spectrums, and I am going to teach you how to use that to group folks motivationally so that you don’t have the same sort of pitfalls that ideal client avatars and personas do. So if that’s something that is interesting to you, please do read the essay first, because you need to make sure that you really do believe that this is the case.        


And then, if you are convinced by the essay, please do come and join me in December. That makes me happy in every level, you know, my love for certification. So I’m so excited. And what is the best way for people to connect with you and learn more about your work? Yeah.        


So I would say that if you have questions every month, I do a Visibility Clinic. It is, for now, free and open to the public. Basically come with your questions, and I’m happy to answer. Aside from that, you can find me on LinkedIn, where if I have a new big piece of research that has just come out of me, that’s usually where I’m sharing it. Or if you want to hang out in a more chill way, I am also on Instagram.        


You can find me under my name on LinkedIn and you can find me under Nobiworks N-O-B for boy. I for igloo works with an S on Instagram. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for sharing time with us today. I so enjoyed the conversation and look forward to future ones on another episode.        


For those that are listening, make sure to check out the show notes  at We will have all kinds of links to multiple articles and frameworks that I can’t wait to dig into myself. I want to thank my 31 Marketplace production team, La’Vista Jones, Tanika Lothery, Jose Arboleda and our award winning show narrator, Andia Winslow. Until next time, be sure to subscribe and rate the show and continue getting inspiration to help grow your world changing work at scale.

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