Gary Vaynerchuk has captured attention with his pioneering, multi-faceted approach to personal branding and business. After primarily utilizing traditional advertising techniques to build his family’s local wine business into a national industry leader, Gary rapidly leveraged social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to promote Wine Library TV, his video blog about wine. As his viewership swelled to over 80,000 a day, doors opened to a book deal, several national TV appearances, and a flurry of speaking engagements around the world. Gary’s dual identity as both business guru and wine guy has made him the “Social Media Sommelier.”
Gary’s remarks on personal branding, social media, and business at FOWA, Strategic Profits, and South By Southwest occasioned praise from established web denizens including Kathy Sierra and earned the admiration of countless bloggers and aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out the Keynotes tab above for more video and check out Gary’s national TV appearances on the left!!
Gary’s landmark seven-figure book deal with Harper Studio was featured in The Wall Street Journal and he was recently profiled by The New York Times and Market Watch. Watch his interview with Business Week for Gary’s advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Question: Why is it important for everyone to build a personal brand?
Gary Vaynerchuk: Your personal brand is your resume. If you think anybody is hiring off of a resume in three years, you’re out of your god-darned mind. Ninety percent of people I know Google you first anyway. No shock. So, whether you like it or not, I’m just laughing at people who don’t think they’re selling. Right? You know, the Hippie Movement in San Francisco in the tech space that sometimes busts my chops. They’re always selling too. They just don’t realize it. They think they’re selling in a different way, but they’re not. And when push comes to shove, if you’re not selling, you’re going to go out of business. And they always sell out to the big corporations, so, this hierarchy of ‘don’t be a sales person,’ or ‘don’t promote yourself,’ I understand, and being too much is definitely a bad thing and I’m might balk at that at time. I get it. But I’m just excited and I think that it is important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, and so you’ve got to be a good person because you can’t hide anything and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.
I mean, if you have every left a comment on a blog, or if you create a profile page on any public site, you are a personal brand. You may not be a big one; you know Timmy in Accounting may have a Facebook page that’s public, and a Twitter. Timmy is a personal brand. He may not be hustling for it, but I promise you Timmy, if you want to be an Accountant at VaynerMedia one day, I’m looking that up.
So, it’s a platform that can allow you to do very special things; it’s not something you can run away from. Being an introvert is not a negative, you don’t have to be obnoxious, and over the top, you can be yourself. That’s just fine but to be naive to the world we are moving towards where information is at your fingertips and it’s readily available and everything you do is being monitored, if you have a problem with Big Brother, you take that up with the era that you were born in. Take that up with your parents, or God, or the world, but the fact of the matter is, you’re here and you’ve got skates on and a hockey stick and I don’t want to hear you crying about wanting to be a basketball player. And if that analogy doesn’t make sense, I understand. But the fact of the matter is this, we’re living in a very connected, transparent, everybody knows your business world, and I think you need to embrace that and harness it and not run away from it because really, it’s the reality of the marketplace.
Question: What’s the best way to take control of a personal brand?
Gary Vaynerchuk: Putting it out there. Right? Do you know how many junior level executives sit in meetings and want to vomit all over the place from what’s being said and say, Oh, my God. The senior manager, or the CEO, or my boss just doesn’t get it. The ability for you to create a blog, or to tweet about your thoughts, and I understand you can get fired, so you’ve got to be smart, I’m not telling you to go rogue here. People get mad at me when I say that. I’m not telling people to grab guns and go into Post Offices. I’m just saying this is America; it’s not Russia. You have the right to speak your mind. And so, obviously you’ve got to be respectful to the rules of the company that pays your bills and you can’t get fired and you don’t want to go on unemployment, but I think it’s very smart of somebody writing, I have an idea and just putting it out there. Because once you put out your smarts, you’ve got a real shot. And Vader Media charges tons of money. You know, a hefty, hefty amount of money a month consulting, but I put a lot of it out for free on GaryVaynerchuk.com. And the reason it works is because I talk in theory there, and when I have a client, we talk specifics. And there’s a lot of nuances and navigation through specifics and that’s kind of where that’s at.
Recorded on: September 15, 2009