On the subject of self-branding by smart individuals:
Emotional support animals require no training. They don’t even have to be dogs. Their purpose is to provide a therapeutic benefit through companionship. At Yale, there are emotional support dogs, emotional support cats and even an emotional support hedgehog.
Oh, I just can’t go through life without the emotional support from my hedgehog! I’m too fragile and wrought for that.
This is what sells, folks. The quirkiness, the knowledge of how to manufacture and flaunt personal peculiarities.