What an honor it is to have Andy Krainak as our latest guest on Dumb Questions for Brilliant Marketers. As noted in the title, Andy is the brand director for the one and only Gary Vaynerchuck, one of the world’s most well-known authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs. In this quick interview, we hit on topics that include brand storytelling, marketing KPIs, team building, world domination planning with Gary, and much more. Enjoy!
nDash: On the surface, it seems like creating a personal brand would be completely different than creating a brand for a company. As someone who’s successfully done both, we’re interested in getting your thoughts on this. What are the biggest differences and similarities in theory and in practice?
Andy Krainak: The company would have to be a little bit more creative in what they’re going to be storytelling around – what type of content they’re creating, what the brand story is – versus, if you’re a personal brand, the story is centered around them and what they want to speak to the world about.
In my opinion, creating the story should be ideally easier for a personal brand, but in practice, they are the same thing. You’re essentially creating stories around whatever you have that you’d like to share with the world.
For businesses, this can be a bit harder. Sometimes, if they find their industry “boring,” then people can be crippled in coming up with great stories. But on the flip side, there are also people that think they can be a personal brand, it truly depends on whether the world validates this personal brand and finds them interested, funny, or bringing value.
nDash: As marketing teams grow, it becomes exceedingly difficult for many companies to maintain a consistent brand story. In other words, the people can change, but the story should not. How have you – and your team – been able to maintain such consistency despite a team that is constantly changing and evolving?
Andy Krainak: For Gary, I find maintaining the story quite easy because the story doesn’t change rather the moments within the story do – for example, when a new product comes out, we want to receive Gary’s take on it or how does Gary think about hustle today versus yesterday. The hardest thing is coming up with something new every day, it takes a certain type of creativity.
Gary is always changing what is most important in terms of attention and bringing the most equity back to his brand. And that comes back to me, where I then need to align the team and say something along the lines of “Hey, we did a great job yesterday, but we’re going to need to change focus today and devote more time to project X because that’s going to be the most ROI positive.”
nDash: And what is that marketing KPI that you and Gary are most obsessed with?
Andy: Loosely, I would say attention. What platform or area, or way are we cornering the most attention for the least amount of input – whether that’s dollars, time, or the number of resources allocated. It’s important to measure all of the input and energy and investment you’re putting into something and really dive into how much ROI you’re receiving back in terms of attention.
Attention could be view duration, subscribers, followers, or downloads, but in basic terms, for the input and output, which are you giving the least and getting the most out of it?
nDash: It’s not every day that we interview someone who manages a brand for one of the most popular marketing figures on the planet, so we have to ask, what’s a typical day like?
Andy: It changes every day. Gary now has a 17-person team that works on his content specifically. But we also get pulled into a lot of projects that fall under his umbrella – for either Vayner Media clients, an investment Gary is involved in, or an outside party that Gary wants to help out.
We have a team of 17 amazingly talented people – videographers, designers, and strategists. Over the last 6 or 8 months, I’ve been dividing my time between Gary and also bringing value to these projects.
nDash: It sounds like you’re never bored! What types of roles do you have on this 17-person team?
Andy: The skill sets fall into three different categories – administrative (scheduling, outreach, fan mail), content, and distribution. You’re either a creative making content (audio engineer, writer, videographer, designer, photographer), or you focus on distribution (paid media analyst, growth hacker, strategist).
nDash: How do you get everyone on the same page?
Andy: It’s definitely difficult. But everyone on the team is some form of a ninja. And we all work extremely well together. For instance, suppose you want to have a really strong Facebook ad. Then the person who is responsible for running the media also needs to understand what type of input the creative side is going to have and then need to be in perfect unison understanding that, “Hey, let’s make sure we have x, y, and z because that will help the ad performance.”
nDash: What are you and Gary looking at in this picture (LinkedIn profile)? Top secret plans to rule the world or Chinese food menu?
Andy: World domination, definitely.
nDash: Yeah, we figured as much. But maybe you guys were hungry.
Andy: The real answer is that we were looking at Facebook audiences. Gary wanted to know specifically the size of specific demographics within his Facebook ad manager. So, I was working with him on that.
nDash: That definitely aligns with world domination. Also, we saw that you coached basketball in Beijing for a brief time. So, another “dumb” question, bigger Chinese basketball celebrity: Yao Ming or Stephon Marbury?
Andy: Stephon Marbury, he’s a beast out there.
nDash: You’ll know @garyvee’s Twitter account has been hacked when ____ happens.
Andy: When he’s cheering for the Patriots.
nDash: Ha! As a Bostonian, I may be slightly offended by that, but I’ll move on. How many angry comments a day can a person write before they’re officially a loser?
Andy: Anything more than one.
nDash: And, lastly, how will the show Finding Bigfoot most likely end?
Andy: It never ends.