I was pleased to see a profile on Wine LIbrary in The Business Podcasting Book (BPB) (p.48-49). I found winelibrarytv.com about 4 months ago and have become an avid subscriber ever since. In fact, this video podcast is what really got me hooked on podcasting. The host, Gary Vaynerchuk, is “out to change the wine world, whether they like it or not,” and he does so by tearing at the walls of prestige and inclusiveness that “old wine” has created. Gary is a real person who shows his emotions and his heart every episode with single camera, uncut episodes. Sometimes he is on fire and “brings The Thunder” when he gets excited about a wine he is tasting and sometimes he is just in a down mood. No matter, if you watch long enough the most amazing thing happens. You feel a part of his family and visa versa. He talks about not trusting his palate (his “pal”) or anyone’s, only your own. He refreshes constantly on the value of family and connecting with people and uses wine as the catalyst to connection.

The show is a component to his business, of course, and he is the first to admit (and has done so) that he saw social media as fresh terrain from which to sow seeds and reap profits. However, I also think he would agree with me when I hypothesize that the show has taken on a life of its own and has moved beyond buying and selling. He has created a community and is now beholden to that community.

Case in point: Taste Washington, the annual wine event held in Seattle on April 5-6, featured Vaynerchuk in a seminar where he taped one of his shows in front of the seminar audience. I was in attendance and it was standing room only. Later that evening there was an event held at Seattle Wine Storage attended by Vanerchuk, Mott, his one man production team, and Matt, his personal assistant. Several well known wine makers, and may I say savvy ones for understanding the power of brand association, along with well over 100 “Vayniaks” as the community calls itself. Each person brought wine and food. There were over 100 bottles of very high quality and expensive Washington wines essentially donated to the community, by the community, to be tasted. Gary circulated around the room for hours and made real connections with everyone, proving he is more than just hype, he is legitimate.

This may be the toughest part of podcasting for corporations; how to be real. An audience can sniff out insincerity a mile away. And, it’s a good lesson for those of us going into podcasting. Be real. Be passionate. Talk about what you love. If you do and you happen to have something to sell, the brand story you are creating by being true will convert into dollars.

Gary serves as a lightening rod for this community built around good wine, good conversation and new friends. Imagine he does this nation wide. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when he informed us that a recent show had over 90,000 views.

This is the power of podcasting. And the power of community in building brand in our modern times.

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