What Is a Trust Signal?
Let’s say you are interested in the topic of a book by an author you aren’t familiar with.
Late one night in 2006, I was procrastinating in my home office when I should have been writing a business-to-business technology white paper for one of Idea Grove's public relations clients. I had just read something in the news that was highly critical of Italy's political situation at that time. I thought to myself, "Yeah, but all in all, Italy is probably the greatest country in the history of the world." And then I was off and running on a blog post that would end up receiving more than 500,000 visits over the next 14 years -- and is still clocking in at more than 3,000 visits per month.
I mostly write about PR and marketing topics, because I own a PR and marketing agency called Idea Grove, but I don't think the topic of history is irrelevant to public relations. It pertains to everything we do, in fact.
Much of what we learn in textbooks growing up is the PR of the winners. Do you remember that great ancient civilization of Carthage, which rivaled Rome in importance and affluence? No? Maybe that's because Rome destroyed it and all record of its past after three brutal wars; the little we know about it today is decidedly biased, and from the Roman perspective. And so while I still trust in my list of greatest countries, I recognize that it is at least partially a product of good PR.
Here are the rules I made for this personal parlor game and the resulting post:
I've recently gone back through the list and freshened it up a bit. Not a lot of big changes (we're evaluating all of recorded history, after all), but I did drop a couple countries a slot or two and dropped one country off the list. The original post sparked a lot of debate -- and more than 1,000 comments -- so we'll see how the reboot does.
OK, here we go — the Top 10, starting with the greatest country in the history of the world:
By our measure, Spain, Japan, France, Germany and a few others just missed out. OK — who did we miss?
Want to read more history with a PR twist? Try some of my other posts:
Scott is founder and CEO of Idea Grove, one of the most forward-looking public relations agencies in the United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers, with clients ranging from venture-backed startups to Fortune 100 companies.