What Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk Have in Common, and What You Can Learn from it

If you’ve been abreast of the strides and developments in the marketing space in the last few years, you’d know about both Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk. Both are incredibly popular public facing success stories with very strong brands, traveling often to make public appearances at a variety of conferences and venues. But while that’s a common trait about both marketers, that’s only the end result. It’s in the way that both Chris and Gary got there that is important. Let’s explore their characteristics and see how you can apply them to build your business or personal brand.

They are human. The brands of Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk are extremely well known. Both have incredible followings, and they often get cornered when making public appearances. It’s no surprise that both are asked to speak at events on a very regular basis. Clearly, both are celebrities in their own right. Their success, though, is contributed by the fact that they are down to earth individuals who are very personable. They are real people, and they make it known that they are more than just celebs. They are not afraid of being human despite the fact that they are in possession of incredible knowledge, which likely made them famous.

They have passion. Both Chris and Gary are extremely passionate about what they do, day in and day out. If you’ve ever seen Gary speak at an event or even just on his Wine Library TV appearances, you can see the exuberance of gusto in his presentations. There is not a single person I know who is more passionate about what he does while speaking in public. Similarly, Chris takes this passion in his writings, which are posted to his blog at least once a day. He gets up when it’s dark. He is extremely devoted to empowering individuals and companies about marketing, networking, reciprocity, and social media. And to lead into the next point, this passion emanates to who they are in real life.

They care about their followers. I started poring through the “list” of people I’ve met over the past 3 years at industry trade shows and events in my mind to see if anyone else really came close to the level of caring that Chris and Gary exhibited when they met with people face-to-face. I could not think of a single person who was on the same level with either. When I first came face-to-face with both, they genuinely seemed to care about who I was and what I was about. And they’d do it to you if you approached them for the first time too. They want to know about you. They want to learn from you. They celebrate the people around them. It’s about you also.

To that end, Chris often talks about how he rewards his followers by retweeting them, because this small act of reciprocation really resonates. And have you recently seen Gary’s Twitter stream? I don’t think I have ever seen that many @ symbols in my life. It appears that Gary responds to each and every single tweet directed to him, a task which is probably rather difficult for a man of his caliber. Yet he does not hesitate to show appreciation for his fans and peers and to develop relationships with each and every single one of them.

The Lesson

We’re all professionals, but expectations have changed of “professionals,” and putting a face — a human face — on an interaction is now expected of us. In fact, simply making ourselves seem human, just like everyone else, is a tactic that makes us appear more approachable and respected. Your customers want to hear from people who are just like them, so why not be a little more open about who you are?

Chris and Gary are devoted and extremely hard workers, but they make the work seem easy. That’s because this is fun for them and they live and breathe their work everyday. The passion for what they do is obvious in their interactions with individuals, their public appearances, their videos, and their writings. It’s clear that they belong where they are, doing what they love to do. If your work is not fun for you, it might be time for you to explore alternative possibilities.

When I was a young kid, I had a favorite teacher in every grade. Either they were knowledgeable about the subject matter or they cared about me as a student. I used to lump the knowledgeable and caring teacher together as a “favorite.” I remember having a discussion about favorite teachers with an older student who once said, “XYZ teacher is a great teacher, but is not a good person” and “ABC teacher is an excellent person, but she’s an awful teacher.” I realized that I’ve had nary a teacher who really excelled in both areas.

Little did I know that once I stepped out into the real world that I’d meet teachers that were both knowledgeable and caring, and Chris and Gary are examples of both. If you are looking to succeed, you need to know your stuff, preach it, but also reward your students and celebrate their importance. The bottom line is that both Chris and Gary are really nice guys.

I understand now that many teachers work merely to collect a paycheck. Few work to honor the achievements of their students. Few took the opportunity to look beyond the textbook and make the educational experience an enriching one. But these two web celebrities are doing this and more. The big question here: are you passionate about what you do? Do you live it every day?

If you are looking to become successful, love what you do. Reward your customers and followers by appreciating them, honoring them, and highlighting them in the work that you do. And don’t be afraid to show who you are behind the corporate face. Your customers — and you — deserve it.

Tamar Weinberg is a hustler and juggler. She is the VP of Marketing at Ruxly Creative, a creative marketing agency. She's the Director of Sales at Internet Marketing Ninjas, a 100+ employee search engine marketing agency located in upstate New York. She also rocks global sales at financial media publication Wall St. Cheat Sheet. Finally, she is the Chief Strategy Officer of Small Business Trends. Oh wait, and she's also the community manager at Namecheap. Yeah, like a boss.

10 Comments

  • October 19, 2009

    Nathan Hangen

    These guys keep it real and they are in the game because of the connections. When I talked to Gary about this, he mentioned that the people were the business, not the wine. I admire that.

    Chris is as charming as he is handsome.

  • October 20, 2009

    wes conard

    Nice post. Publishing, consulting and regular life all kind of merge on the web and it is sometimes hard to know which hat you have on. Obviously these guys have figured it out. Bill Wasik’s book “And then there’s this” looks at how marketing ourselves (trying to get readers) can change how we look at everything (including ourselves and other people.
    -Wes

  • October 20, 2009

    How To: Be A Damn Human

    [...] want to be your fan. They want to be appreciated. It’s this “human” thing that people like Chris Brogan and Gary Vee epitomize. It’s what makes them stand out and draws people to them. That said, I’ve been told three times [...]

  • October 20, 2009

    Kyle Reis

    (Written at 6:49am) Great post, Tamar. I’m loving the “gets up when it’s dark” vid link (thanks Chris) as I sit here in my office looking out at the dark sky, having woken at 4:45am and arrived at work at 6am after deciding that life is short, mornings are awesome and there is much too much to do to be lying in bed thinking about it. Thanks.

  • October 20, 2009

    chiropractic

    Love this post Tamar. Both these guys amaze me because neither has shown any sign of tiring from what they do. It’s one thing to be “on” and be excited, it’s another to live that excitement each and everyday.

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