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In a recent guest post  “Why Outside is in” Karen Catchpole and Eric Mohl (aka TransAmericas) presented us with the theory that the best fit for a Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent position would be someone who is neither a beginner at wine nor a deep insider, but rather an “outsider”.  You know the one who

developed a taste for the stuff, consider wine an important part of their lives, know their way around the main varietals (even the tongue-twisting German ones) may even own more than one corkscrew and occasionally dream of better stemware but then decide to spend that money on dog food or new shoes.

They go into the spiel of “knowing your reader” and come to the conclusion that they, the accomplished and published writers for magazines such as National Geograpic etc. would be the ideal choice.

If you have not read that post, may I suggest you hop on over to have a quick read — because this is a continuation of Hardy’s 800lb gorilla, Gary Vaynerchuck (aka great wine guru) which got Karen and Eric thinking… 

A guest post by Karen Catchpole and Eric Mohl


V is for Vaynerchuk, Not Vino

We Love Gary Vaynerchuk, but not because he knows more about wine than we do. What we can’t resist about Gary is the energy, humor, passion and optimism intrinsic to his personality. That guy could be talking/blogging/vlogging/lecturing/sending up carrier pigeons about sifting sand and we’d tune in and be inspired to grab a sieve and join him.
There’s no doubt that “the most ridiculously successful person to date has been a deep wine insider,” as you say, Hardy, and there are crucial lessons to be learned from how he did it. Foremost among them, the use of sheer, unadulterated passion and honesty and humor none of which requires a degree from UC Davis or years of tasting notes. Like much of the wine-drinking public, you can be passionate about the stuff without knowing much beyond whether or not you liked the bottle you had last night. (We will be posting more about where our own passion for wine comes from and how it manifests itself in our unorthodox everyday life very soon.)

But has Gary V done more for wine or has wine done more for Gary V?

Let’s face it. It’s been a long time since anyone asked Gary to talk about wine. These days he’s an expert in the emerging and very powerful and important art of online brand-promotion: your brand or his brand, whatever. And good for him. This is the logical next step for an insider in any industry: once you’ve proven that you know more than most everybody else about a certain subject and ridden that horse as far as it will take you the insider simply must shift gears from promoting a brand (his wine shop and the wine industry in general) to becoming a brand (Gary V) and showing others how to do it too.

So Gary is now running courses for media and public relations professionals through the publishing industry clearing house Media Bistro with titles like “Building your own brand” not “Building your own winery” and he says that he’s “doing a lot of personal consulting for brands,” including a bank.

Yes, Gary’s first book was about wine (and Wine Library TV remains a powerful force for good), but I bet all 10 books he was recently contracted to write will focus on something that starts with a V but isn’t vino. After all, the first book in that 10 title series is called “Crush It! Turn Your Passion into Profits in a Digital World,” not “Turn Your Insider Knowledge of Wine into Profits in a Digital World.”

So Gary is rightly and understandably busy turning his irresistible personality and mastery of new media into old media profits (hey, look, it’s a book!) using some pretty dusty tactics, like keynote speeches to Domino’s Pizza franchise owners which are more motivational seminar than wine symposium.

We’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the man but we’ve watched a lot of his speeches online in which Gary himself preaches that connecting with and genuinely caring about your target audience is the key to effectively branding anything or anyone. We’re guessing that he’d agree that you need more than the inside track to do this—you need something of worth to say and an honest, enthusiastic, funny way to say it on a level your target audience can immediately relate to. Storytelling from a point of view your audience understands—whether you’re talking about Muprhy-Goode or yourself—is essential.

Apart from intrinsically not being on the same level as most wine drinkers (by definition there’s a certain amount of superiority involved in being an insider—you are, in essence, trading on the fact that you know more than others do), another big danger with a wine insider is that once they inevitably reincarnate, as Gary has done, he or she becomes the brand. Think Martha Stewart and Donald Trump.

What Murphy-Goode needs is a real-world, really talented vessel capable of transporting the message of the brand they already have out to the masses. What they don’t need is a correspondent whose personal brand could eclipse theirs.

@garyvee? Care to chime in?

Look for more posts from Karen and Eric from the road right here and at http://trans-americas.com/blog/. And check out www.areallygoodehire.net to watch their application video, learn more random facts about Karen and Eric (which one do you think can kill a rattlesnake with a hoe?) and get answers to FAQs about the making of their video, including “Who’s that guy dancing in the background?”.