Is being a “Vaniac”, an aggressive follower of branding philosopher Gary Vaynerchuk, such a bad thing? I say “no, it’s a great thing” for some very good reasons.
Like any evangelist of new thinking, there are stalwarts of established tradition who will steadfastly stand against this “unproven” thinking. While an equal or greater number of followers will embrace this renaissance of marketing thought. Who’s left standing at the end of this philosophical cage match will hold the title for the next technological generation.
Few people in the branding world would argue that trends come and go as quickly as the winds change, but real changes in thought are rare and often come on the heals of new media. The printed word, radio, television and the web all have seen these watershed changes and it should come as no wonder that at the dawn of social media, “garyvee” has come.
From handheld videos on the streets if New York to the famous table adorned with NY Jets and wrestling action figures, Gary pours out his knowledge and opinions without reservation and seemingly without consequence. Regardless of his opinion on the nose of a new label or the latest PR 1.0 blunder from some corporation, Gary’s passion reaches through the screen and slaps you. Agree or not, you listen. Like him or not, you keep coming back for more.
Why? Simple, he brings “thunder”. The amount of exuberance that boils out of the pint-size wine guru might give us a glimpse of what Napoleon Bonaparte must have been like. People cannot ignore him and given the fact he’s right more than he’s wrong leaves more people nodding than clicking away.
Since I started following a year ago, I have seen the benefits of his commentary first hand. Our clients have seen it, too. Gary’s plain, no nonsense approach of applying passion, hustle and communication simply makes sense. His oft-repeated advice of “get in the trenches” is sound council for most businesses. Because, just as I mentioned before, we’re at the dawn of a new age in marketing.
Gary’s, “in the trenches” approach works so well because the evolution of marketing and the true power of brands have been realized by the masses. The web and now social media have merged into a new form of community. Interest communities.
Some will argue that these interest communities have always been there. Harley riders, Red Sox fans, even Green Bay Packer fans have no problems finding friends in their respective circles. However, the web and social media have opened these communities beyond geographical locales. Web and social media tear down the barriers of distance and language to unite these communities in ways we have not truly imagined.
Interest communities all have extensive knowledge of their communities and have distinct opinions of the products, producers and services providers. News is discussed, products informally reviewed and product failures are troubleshot. Why would a business or manufacturer not want to be fully plugged into these communities?
Few venues have the transparency and brutal “truth detection” that interest communities possesses. If you are not authentic and the real deal, you will get called to the mattresses and will get schooled. If a business or person is simply looking to “cash in” with these tools, they all inevitably fail.
The same principle applies to participation. If a business or individual is not willing to “crush it” with time with the community, relaying intense passion and good ol’ fashioned hustle they’re better off staying away. In this arena poor execution is worse than simply being absent. In this new era, the most committed win. There simply is no “second place”.
Vaniacs, by our nature, are mavens. We’re tied into our own communities, but are drawn to the truth coming from Gary. The fact that spectators to these communities may view fellow Vaniacs as sycophants or “kool-aid drinkers” merely demonstrate they’ve never spent time in the evolving social media community.
As the new economy emerges from the rubble of the old and the new business, marketing and branding practices become stitched into our lifestyles; we’ll see how this user-driven revolution was not powered by people like Gary Vaynerchuk, but merely represented by people like Gary Vaynerchuk. Building on the phrase, “power to the people”, we can now embrace “power to the community”. Thunder on.