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Special Guest: Andy Krainak

The Bosses are always talking about the importance of branding and marketing and using your personal brand to its fullest. So, we wanted to talk to a trend-setting expert on the subject. We’re excited to welcome special guest Andy Krainak – brand manager for VaynerMedia. (Yup, as in Gary Vaynerchuk’s right-hand man!) He’s sweet, humble and offers some killer branding advice to our listeners.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode

  1. Today we interview Andy Krainak Marketing Director for Gary Vaynerchuk.

  2. Andy started with VaynerMedia as an intern for the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

  3. His career with Gary Vee began with a tweet.

  4. He’s now part of a 35 member brand-team and has promoted two additional books including Crushing It.

  5. Andy tells us how he got started with Gary and what he did to get his attention and

  6. Andy’s moms’ reaction to the whole thing is classic.

  7. Andy talks about the progression of social media over the last six years.

  8. He stresses the importance of community management and talking to customers.

  9. Andy talks about the various social media platforms and how to choose the right ones for your business.

  10. Which platform best lends itself to your skill sets and who is the audience it best reaches.

  11. Andy talks a lot about Key Performance Indicators or KPI of social media.

  12. Testing is the key to finding the right platform.

  13. Andy is a big fan of Instagram but is also quick to point out that it’s over-valued.

  14. We also discuss predictions for the future of social media and how influencers will become the mainstream celebrities of tomorrow.

  15. Content is king but quantity can bread quality.

  16. Andy tells us about new platforms like Tic Tok and how voiceover actors can maximize their social media engagement.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Andy’s Twitter shows his social media skills
Andy is also active on instagram
Check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s Website
One of Anne’s favorite books from Gary is Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Another favorite is Crushing It!
The Bosses get their kicks with K-Swiss.
Check out these kicks in BOSS blue!
Recorded on ipDTL


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Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host Anne Ganguzza along with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby.

Gabby: Hello.

Anne: Gabby. [laughs]

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: I am so pumped.

Gabby: I know.

Anne: Super pumped –

Gabby: Me too.

Anne: – for today and honored to have such a special guest with us. He is the brand director for marketing and media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk and Vayner media. He started back in 2013 as an intern for Gary to promote his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, which of course I own, and I know you do.

Gabby: As do I.

[both laugh]

Anne: He entered into this starting with a tweet which I’m so excited to hear that story. [laughs] He’s then grown a 35-member brand team to include software developers, videographers, engineers, analysts, branding community managers, and have promoted two additional books, Ask Gary Vee and Crushing It – of course I have that as well – and three K-Swiss sneaker brands. Woo-hoo.

Gabby: Wow.

Anne: Welcome to the show Andy Krainak.

Andy: Thank you so much. Thank you for that wonderful introduction. I’m excited to be on the show with you guys. This is awesome.

Anne: I would love to hear the journey of how you got involved with Gary, with the tweet, because I think that’s a boss move in itself. [laughs]

Andy: Of course. Yes. So I first learned Gary Vee or Gary Vaynerchuk through Wine Library TV at – I was at Virginia Tech, and I took a wine course. And at that wine course, I had to watch his Wine Library TV videos as part of the curriculum. We had to take quizzes on how Gary described Chardonnays. At the time I wasn’t into wine that much, and I wasn’t a Jets fan so I didn’t think much of Gary’s wine room. 

[Anne and Gabby laugh]

Andy: Then after I graduated, I started developing more and more of an interest for pursuing my own business and marketing, and then I rediscovered Gary. I just randomly followed him on Twitter, and the things that he was saying really, really resonated with me. You know, I don’t think that there were many people in 2010 and 2011 talking about the impact social media was going to have on businesses and brands at the time. So I was trying to pursue my own entrepreneurial pursuits. I decided I would be better off trying to learn from someone who had been in the game, been doing it themselves, and I saw one day Gary tweet, “what can I do for you?” And I looked at that tweet, and I saw someone had said “Gary, I’m hungry.” And then he asked what his address was, and then a couple of minutes later this guy had responded with a photo of a cheeseburger arriving at his apartment door.

Anne: Wow. [laughs]

Andy: So I was like this guy is really responding to people. This is a good opportunity to take him at-bat. So I responded to his tweet of “what can I do for you,” “a chance to work for free.” Lo and behold, within 30 seconds, I got a response back –

Gabby: Wow.

Andy: – that said expand? And I said, “oh shit I got to – 

Anne: [laughs]

Andy: I was like “I’m just looking for a project that I can prove myself. I’m hungry and I want to learn.” He responded back “email me.” I said “all right, Andy. You have to write the best email of your life and you have to write it really, really quickly.”

Gabby: Wow.

Anne: [laughs]

Andy: So that’s what I did. I sent the email. It’s funny, my mom came home that day after I had decided that I wasn’t going to pursue the business that I was trying to develop. She was on me to apply for some more jobs, and she was asking, “Andy, how’s the job hunt going?” I was like “oh Mom, I’m good. Gary responded to my tweet. Gary Vee responded to my tweet.” She’s like, “child, what’re you talking about?” 

[Anne and Gabby laugh]

Anne: Yeah, that would be me.

Andy: After the first week, I didn’t get a response back, and I figured that was it. I was like, ok, I guess my email didn’t hit home, but then three months later, literally at midnight, my phone dinged, and there was an email from Gary Vaynerchuk, and he had responded to my email. And it said “how little are you willing to work for, where do you want to live?” And I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing older brother who lived in New York City at the time. So I knew that he would accept me with open arms to go sleep and crash on his couch. So I immediately just responded, “I’ll work for free and I want to live in New York City.” He responded right then and CC’ed his assistant and said, “Nate, there’s something about this kid. Maybe he can intern for the book.” And the book at the time was Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. So Nate called me the next day, and we had a two-minute conversation, and then he said “well, why don’t you come up to New York in a week?” And the rest is sort of history.

Anne: Wow.

Gabby: I just adore how many stories of entrepreneurial success start with, “so I was sleeping on somebody else’s couch, and.” 

Anne: [laughs] Wow, and so then you started interning and then obviously did an amazing job[laughs] because then you progressed to [laughs] – 

Andy: Yes.

Anne: – brand director.

Andy: It is fun looking back at it. You know? I mean, I’ve worked for Gary six years now. And it has gone by so fast. And the rate of change that has just developed in my industry is unbelievable. When I started working for Gary, Facebook didn’t have ads. Facebook didn’t have videos. Instagram was barely popular. I spent most of my time my first five months, we had created a book Twitter handle called @jabjabjabrighthook, and so I was the community manager for that. Anyone that was tweeting at Gary, I would jump in on the conversations and introduce myself as Gary’s new book. So if Anne tweeted at Gary and was like “hey, Gary. Saw your podcast the other day, I loved it,” I would respond like “hey Anne, it’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary’s newest book. Have you heard of me, winky face?” People loved it. People were like “oh my God, Gary, you’re genius. Your book has a Twitter handle?” But it was really good. It gave me a really good sense of what community management is, what it’s like to just interact with customers, and try and build contacts and Gary’s whole philosophy of “jab, jab, jab, right hook.” In that instance I’d give the winky face because it’s more playful. I was never always asking, “hey, buy this book.” You’re just navigating trying to bring awareness to the book. So yeah, that book was a success, and then from there on, I was put into the machine of Vayner media, if you will, for six months, working for several clients that we had as an entry-level community manager. And then Gary decided to bring me back on his team full-time to try and be the head of just growth and overall audience develop for him, while we had just hired his newest videographer.

Anne: Yes, he has been with Gary for quite some time too.

Andy: He started maybe six months after me.

Anne: You were like on all of the platforms. [laughs] All the platforms. There’s so many –

Andy: Yes.

Anne: – for entrepreneurs and getting out your personal brand statement. How do you choose what platforms? 

Andy: Yeah, I think it’s the perfect marriage of what first feels the most natural and comfortable to you to use. Which ones are you actually going to be opening up every day and creating and posting content for and sharing your story, matched with which one is actually going to deliver the value or business KPI or objective that you’re trying to achieve by spending your time on that platform. Now you can be on every platform, because I would argue that a lot of these platforms can bring you awareness or business results depending on what you’re trying to achieve. We can all rank and prioritize them accordingly based on what skill sets lends itself – which platform best lends itself to your skill sets, and then which platform has the audience that you’re most trying to reach.

Gabby: Anne and I were talking about this before we got on the line with you. You know, for voice actors, it can be really difficult sometimes to try to just get a handle on KPI and where we belong and what those key performance indicators are. I mean, what do you recommend for somebody who’s kind of in that, in a very, you know, niche industry, very specifics skill set and trying to figure out where do they belong? 

Andy: It’s a test. The one thing I’ve really learned from Gary, and you’ll learn through him by being close to him as a proxy, is just how fast he moves. You know, the value of you all deciding, ok, I’m going to try TikTok. I’m going to try posting five, 10, 15 times a day on LinkedIn. I’m going to try posting three or four times a day on Instagram. I’m going to try doing a weekly podcast, you know, all of those things, you could do in one day’s time and get a feel for the value that it brought you and the difficulty it was to do that. Testing and learning and then just trying to create feedback loops for how successful that’s going.

Anne: Do you have any personal favorite platforms that you use, or is it all dependent on I guess the brand and the message? 

Andy: Yeah, personally it’s Instagram. I love Instagram. But I think it’s overvalued in general, Instagram is. I think there’s a lot of people that should be spending a lot more time on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Twitter, or TikTok. But they value the branding or the objective nature of trying to have more followers on Instagram, even though that may not bring in the best business results.

Gabby: What do you see as possible predictions for the next five to 10 years with personal brand management? 

Andy: How I think of that is just the comparison of Hollywood versus influencers. The [indiscernible] polls of the world, the most popular YouTubers are a lot more famous than George Clooney is. And I think a lot of the traditional Hollywood agents and talent agencies are seeing and feeling this. I’ve been at the forefront of seeing – you know, Gary in a lot of ways is a self-made man. He didn’t have the traditional Hollywood cosign or he hasn’t ever had a really big moment, a big blockbuster film that just put him in the spotlight. However, he slowly, slowly built an audience where a lot of people can no longer ignore that this guy is getting a lot of attention, and a lot of people admire the things that he’s saying. So I think the general landscape is it’s just gonna continually shift and evolve more towards smaller teams, smaller agencies, and just a different skill set for what it means to be a personal brand manager managing talent.

Anne: If we can talk a moment about content [laughs] because you most certainly put out content – 

Andy: Yeah.

Anne: – is there a – I mean, tips, tricks of course. We can spend a lot of time giving out content.

Andy: Yeah.

Anne: But for our industry – like personal branding really works well for us because our voice is our product.

Andy: Yeah. Yeah.

Anne: So it’s very close to home. But how can we put out content? I know that Gabby and I with the podcast, it’s helped us for people to get to know who we are and know what we stand for. But how much content do you recommend putting out to get good results? 

Andy: Hmm. Yeah, there’s – I could go in a lot of directions with this. I think just first and foremost, you guys have a really special talent that most humans don’t have, you know? It’s a good opportunity to create content. You know, not many people can manipulate and use their voice in such amazing and fun ways. I specifically just think about TikTok for to- level awareness for your guys’ personal brands. I think you guys can make amazing TikTok content. In terms of how much content is too much or how do you create more content, I think in all honesty, I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much content. And I think when I say that, everyone will ask, “ok, but what about quality?” That quantity always comes in the face of quality. But I actually believe that quantity is what creates quality. Through creating 100 pieces of content a day, you’re gonna identify which piece of content actually resonated, and then you’re gonna see that that was the quality piece, and you can get better learnings and understanding of “ok, I’m going to try and make more content like that.” So I think within this podcast, you know, you guys might have something interesting or funny or valuable that you think you want to put out online, on different platforms and share it. And then, if you think – if that message resonated on LinkedIn, you can think about, “ok, how can I format that message for TikTok?” I think about just the emotional resonance a piece of content can have, and then if it performs well, how can you then take that message and deliver it in a tweet? In a 15-second TikTok video? 

Gabby: I mean, we have voice actors who honestly, they can’t imagine putting out 100 pieces of content in a year, nevermind in a day. It would be such an arduous or overwhelming task to them. But I think that’s, you know, what we’re always trying to tell them, is that you have to try. You have to get something out there. Otherwise you’re always going to be at something of a disadvantage.

Andy: If you were going to play with some new character development, I don’t know why you couldn’t tweet 100 different audio soundbites and try and get feedback from your Twitter audience which version of that character they like the best. Or you could almost have dialogues between your different voices on Twitter. Twitter is an amazing playground for testing and learning. If you have anything funny or interesting that you want to try and share and get feedback on, I think Twitter is a great place to do that. And then take those learnings and see where you can apply it elsewhere. There are so many fun and interesting way – like, just this 20-minute podcast that we’re going to do, you can easily create 100 pieces of content around within four hours in all seriousness.

Anne: I like that thought.

Gabby: Yeah, I do too.

Anne: You talk about, in an article that I read recently, about being selfless in your marketing. Can you expand on that concept of how can we be selfless in marketing –

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: – without necessarily giving away a product? 

Andy: Well, I do think giving away the best thing for free will always be the best version of what you can do to market and brand yourself. And people will inherently just then pay your money because you brought them value and they really trust you. You know, I think people’s barometer and level of cynicism against just marketing in general, things that they don’t believe in, is at an all time high. Consumers are incredibly smart. I think Gary, as an example, we have a consulting session here at Vayner Media, and in general Gary, Gary doesn’t ever really monetize his brand because he’s just putting out the best stuff for free. That inherently has created business leverage for him because people know that this guy’s really speaking truths. When it comes to being selfless, I just think about being closest to the consumer and bringing most value to the consumer. And if you’re being selfish in that, the consumer will sense that and move in a different direction.

Gabby: Yeah, it’s so true. I mean, we see it all the time. I mean, I think most people think of it as transparency, but it’s a little bit more than that. That selfless concept – is that something that you guys use at Vayner Media pretty much as sort of the baseline for everything? 

Andy: Yeah, I would say so. I think – and it starts with the respect for the consumer, you know, and same with content. How you put out an Instagram post, you really need to think about A, Instagram as a platform and how people consume content on the platform, and then also what that message is that you’re putting on the platform that might bring value to someone. The people that are closest in bringing the most value to consumers are always going to win. I think the biggest thing that I routinely see, and like in saying that, like you said, it’s so true, and I think everyone would agree with that. You know, the one thing that everyone gets caught up on is that they don’t actually start. They’re too afraid to actually start posting. They’re afraid of the anonymous comment of saying “oh your voice is silly,” or – and I get caught in the wheels too of, you know, you’re thinking about doing it, and it feels like you’re working, but you’re not actually doing it. You need to press the buttons. You need to get that feedback loop. You need to just start in doing it because that’s the only way you’re going to begin the process of getting stronger and better.

Anne: Press the buttons. I like that. [laughs]

Andy: Yeah.

Anne: If you can talk a little bit, the K-Swiss sneaker launch – we talk in our industry, we’re always – Gabby and I, I know, are always talking for our listeners to kind of latch onto something that’s a passion of theirs, and see how that can weld itself into your business, and how you can, you know, take that and run with it and market it. I feel like that could be something that was Gary’s passion because he’s very much a fan of sports.

Gabby: He loves his kicks. Yeah. [laughs]

Anne: Is that how that came about? 

Andy: Yeah. It’s funny. How Gary words it, it’s basically a win-win. Gary’s always been a sneaker head his whole life. So it’s a dream come true in ways for him to be able to have his own signature line, and if it worked out, that was amazing. That’s a huge win for him to say that, as a 43-year-old entrepreneur, he had a cool, fashionable sneaker that was trending in culture. You know? Or if it didn’t work out, it’s a funny joke that he can talk about with me and the team and his friends. “Remember that time I tried to do a sneaker deal? That was crazy.”

[Anne and Gabby laugh]

Anne: I love it. That’s just such a great nugget right there. [laughs]

Andy: It’s all, it’s all upside for him, you know? And in that, you can really see Gary’s brilliance of just perspective, which is really how this all goes because his business acumen and his business knowledge is incredible. I really think people underestimate just how intelligent Gary is when it comes to business and how strong of an operator he is, because he’s so motivational and aspirational, but how it’s really unfolded, when I first joined him, he wasn’t going to film a Monday video that says like “screw you, Monday, it’s time to get up and hustle and motivate.” He was always trying to do business tactics, and trying to deliver on the best business strategies for people, but then he was realizing, most of his audience wasn’t actually executing on any of the advice he was giving because they were too caught up in other people’s opinions or what happened to them yesterday, or all of the reasons why not they couldn’t start. So then he started getting more psychological with his content and trying to develop people’s mindsets to get to the place where they could really start leaning into those skill sets.

Anne: Yeah, I think that just, it makes it all the more human, which I think is where the real connection lies.

Gabby: Also, it seems like, and I mean, I know it’s a sliver, right? We certainly don’t see everything behind the scenes, but from what we do see of you guys, and the Vayner team, and Gary, everybody, it looks very playful. I mean, you guys really do seem to have a lot of fun. So I mean, just out of curiosity, how do you guys handle stress? Because there has to be some, obviously, there always is for any business. So what are the outlets that you guys use? 

Andy: It’s an amazing atmosphere, you know, and I started when I was 25, I had one or two other jobs out of college before starting here. But in that, it’s easy to take for granted just how amazing of a team and work culture I have. With that said, yeah, we work very hard. And we’re trying to get a lot of things done. In order to develop the proper work-life balance, I just think about the ways that I relieve stress, which is working out. I do yoga, I bicycle a lot, I have side hobbies, other little side projects that I like to take on on my own. I include that as part of my responsibilities for my work. I think anyone who has taken a vacation and comes back to work knows what it feels like to feel refreshed and excited to come back to your job. And I think everyone knows what it feels like to feel drained out. It’s part of my job to be able to come in and feel excited to be there, refreshed to be there. Which means it’s part of my job to make sure that I’m taking time off, making sure that I can tell communicate to my team members and Gary that I need to take the weekend off, or I’m going to leave early on Friday because I want to go take on a different project.

Anne: I read that you – 

Gabby: Wow.

Anne: – bike to work every day. Is that true? 

Andy: I do. It’s quite the experience. The contrast between being cramped in the New York City subways versus biking over the Manhattan Bridge and being able to see the Manhattan skyline with the breeze flowing.

Anne: I think, I think I know that. My husband is a spin instructor, so I know for my own personal stuff, I used to, you know, after a rough day at work, if I’m spinning, that was a great stress reliever. It allowed my creative brain to flow. I think that I, I think probably some of my best [laughs] work might have come after or during thoughts, at least, during an exercise session for me.

Andy: I would completely agree. It just allows my mind to wander untethered. You know, I can just go in any direction. I’m not focused on anything. And then I find my most creative moments.

Anne: Andy, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been amazing. Such valuable information for our listeners. We’re so grateful that you took the time out of your busy day to chat with us.

Andy: Thank you so much for the invite, and I appreciate the time, and encourage everyone to continue trying to story-tell their journey and their skill sets online.

Gabby: Real quick, what’s upcoming for you guys? Anything we should be on the lookout for? 

Andy: You guys mentioned it actually, so I’ll bring it up. Gary has another K-Swiss shoe coming out. That’s going to be a fun project. That’s going to be in the works. Aside from that, we’ll be continuing to preach that everyone should be trying to create and produce as much content as they can and bring value to the audiences.

Anne: And how can people follow you, get in touch if they want? To see you in action? 

Andy: I’m fortunate enough to have a unique last name, where I have my last name as all my social handles. So I’m online everywhere, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook at @krainak.

Anne: Awesome. Thanks so much again. I’d like to give a big shout-out to our awesome sponsor ipDTL that allows us to connect with Andy like a boss, and you too can find out more at

Gabby: Thanks so much for joining us, guys. Have a great week.

Anne: Bye!

Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast–to–coast connectivity via ipDTL.

Gabby: Andy, you’re so mellow, I love it.

Andy: [laughs]

Gabby: You’re so chill.

Anne: You’re a mellow New Yorker, by the way.

Gabby: I know, that’s like unheard of.

Andy: Yeah, I grew up outside DC, in Northern Virginia.

Anne: Hence Virginia Tech. [laughs] You can click on the disconnect or hang out with us for the next five hours, if you’d like. That would be cool.

[Anne and Gabby laugh]

Andy: Thank you, guys.

Gabby: Thanks again, Andy.

Andy: Bye-bye.

Anne: Thanks.

Gabby: Bye!