Are you a marketer or a person who's been on the internet for more than 28 minutes? Then you know who Gary V is. If you don't know, then good, we're going to tell you.
This is him.
This man right here is a master of using memes to harness the power of marketing. But hold on, we're getting ahead of ourselves a little.
Gary Vaynerchuk is better known as Gary V, likely because he knows that people on the internet don't like to read and might not bother reading a slightly more difficult-than-average last name.
During the late '90s, people were just discovering the internet. But Gary V already knew that it was a gold mine waiting to get tapped into. He looked at his father's local liquor store and said "this could be something even greater." He threw the business online, called it "Wine Library," and earned $3-60MM in five years.
In 2020, he has over 12 million combined followers across social media platforms. How did he do it? Hard work. And memes.
Gary V often dominates the internet on marketing advice. Looking for something on how to reach millennials on Facebook? Where the future of Instagram is headed? How to target baby boomers? Gary V has got it, and he's done it, and he's done it well. It's a no brainer that he knows the importance of meme marketing.
Also king of making inspirational quotes, Gary V himself recognized how perfect his brand was for fitting right into meme format. Where before his zingers might have been simply written in text form or been confined to a single video, memes allow for the combination of the two mediums.
"Whether it’s drawing in caves, smoke signals, the written word, music, or emojis, people for as long as we have lived have judged and underestimated new languages," says Gary V. "I, on the other hand, think it’s important to lean into it. It’s why I’m a huge advocate of memes as a language."
Gary V took his image, and wasn't afraid to transform it into exactly what was popular on the internet. A serious brand that's still taken seriously, he was able to use silly images to keep himself relevant with the times.
While his inspirational content is still relevant, and shareable...
...memes are able to make him relatable.
Imagine just reading this quote on it's own:
"It's not about how much you sleep, it's about what you do when you're awake."
Okay, that's pretty good. Maybe it will make you work harder tomorrow.
But a message that could have been designed into old-fashioned, inspirational quote fashion?
Memed. Now, this message is even more shareable. It has a different twist. It's funny, and it still carries power. Memes can retell the story of a brand in many different ways. Don't be scared to use them.
Another vertical that Gary V is dominating? A little thing called TikTok. Calling the app "training wheels" for future content creators, Gary V himself has earned millions of view across his videos. While some people see it as an app where twelve-year-olds just jive to whatever song or dance that are deemed to be trends at the moment, Gary V recognizes the potential leverage to be just as valuable as a good, old-fashioned meme.
There is massive adoption worldwide, and the numbers only continue to grow. In late 2019, the app had been downloaded 1.5 billion times.
To give a framework of how huge that is, we have to remember: there are 7.5 billion people in the world. So about one in seven people worldwide have TikTok.
Gary V is using TikTok to reach an audience that might never have heard of his brand. "We've seen this rodeo before," says Gary V. "I continue to be fascinated by dismissal by the Madison Avenue corporate environment to not strike when it's hot. I view TikTok no differently than a top TV show. When ‘Seinfeld' was number one, you ran ads on the show. When it was gone, you didn’t."
Each of his videos packs a punch of a marketing lesson, but also talks about memeable subjects, like why people don't have abs.
So, yeah, Gary V gets it.
Memes. Those little pictures you spend all day sending to your friends and family actually might have a bigger impact than you think. Something that makes you laugh throughout out your day, or a heavy hitter with the power to transform a brand? Whatever you think, it's definitely a meme's world.
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