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What are Gary Vee’s Issues with Branding & eCommerce?

Lifestyle and fashion brands share the similar building blocks for marketing (depending on their budget). With organic search marketing, content marketing, PPC, influencer marketing, and initiating email marketing campaigns to generate leads, offering them discounts to invite their friends, spreading the message.

This sums up the efforts of digital marketer, this marketing strategy works well and it gives somewhat 5 – 7% results but what this approach doesn’t do is build a lasting brand. It leaves a generic, linear, mechanized impression. The reason behind this is most often lifestyle brands and fashion startup brands in their rush to build and launch a MVP (minimum viable product) they bootstrap human emotions as well, resulting in…

Lack of soul.

Lack of emotional connect.

Lack of the delight factor.

Lack of excitement of a new product.

Lack of belonging.

Lack of loyalty.

To sum it up. They just deliver Mediocrity?

One good example of this is Gary Venerchuk’s lifestyle brand.


For few people who don’t know him.

Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, investor, author, public speaker, and internet personality. He is a driven marketing guru, advocates and shares passion for hard work, resilience and dedication. The story is well known to those who have followed him: he was born in former Soviet Union, now Belarus, in 1978 he came to Edison, New Jersey, U.S. with his parents where he was raised.

In 1997 he renamed his father’s liquor store and launched “Wine” which was one of the first wine e-commerce businesses. By 2003 he made wine to a 60 million dollars in revenue from a mere 3 million.

Here are “Gary Vee’s Issues with Branding & eCommerce”




Complete disregard of design and branding as a discipline:

It is disturbing to see Wine as the stepping stone for best selling writer, entrepreneur and investor who has invested in facebook, twitter, an angel investor and a branding coach to completely disregard design and branding as a discipline.

The type is hideous, a mutated form of slab serif. The wine mark is straight out of clipart it seems. There is absolute no readability. Being in the wine business, if you can just look at gorgeous artwork that they have, you’ll have ample understanding to not to land up like this.

This can only happen if the people right at the top, the decision makers, have no respect for concept of a brand, branding and importance of design.


Lacks Authenticity:

Wine, a company that does 60 million in revenue, if i had no idea about Gary Vee and i would be certainly thinking this is one of those internet scams. This in no way gives an impression of a 60 million dollars company, it exudes a naive, young bootstrapped, startup MVP.

It does not communicate at any level that it is actually more than 20 years old.

The saddest part is that it’s “The” Brand of Gary Vee, a personal branding coach, who talks passionately about building a brand. It leaves you with a bad taste for both the brands.


Lacks Customer insight:

The lifestyle brand segment works purely on customer insight. Even Gary Vee has shared it in his show about its importance and how he is moving towards snapchat instead of facebook. Yet his brand wine completely lacks in customer insight.

For a customer who is particular about wine is naturally exposed to finer things in life. A brand’s job is to elevate that experience not diminish it.

There is no pre-purchase experience. When you land on the homepage, it slaps few wines, numbers and prices, followed by amateur stories and you are done.


Key Message:

Any brand, personal, company or otherwise have to have a key message that aligns to their mission statement. Basically telling the world what they are about, how they matter and how they are going to put a dent in the world. Garry Vee’s lifestyle brand does absolutely nothing about it. It gives an experience of a discount store trying to be high street brand.


No brand positioning:

Much like the key message there’s no thought given to their positioning. Positioning when done right makes you Zappos of the category and if left untouched leaves you in the over-saturated market to fend for yourself. Garry Vee’s lifestyle brand has not taken any advantage of the changes in demographics, technology, and marketing or consumer behavior. It still feels it’s 1997 for wine


Staying Irrelevant:

Times are changing and they are changing fast. For brands to leap ahead in competition, attract attention, it is undeniably essential for them to stay relevant with the current times. That’s the reason brands who are build with a strong foundation lasts longer and stay relevant than the ones who completely disregard branding as a process.

Ecommerce has evolved since 1997, brands are more focused, authentic and follow their customers. Garry Vee’s lifestyle brand stands as firm example about staying locked in the time capsule, not evolving with current times and resisting to perform to its full potential.


The Irony:

A successful brand is a perfect mixture of great strategy with great branding, it is not bad strategy with great branding, nor it is great strategy with no branding.

It was a rather unpleasant experience to see a brand close to a brand coach, investor, best selling author and an entrepreneur to be in such a state. It almost as if you saw Elon Musk owns huge coal factories in China, to see Taylor Swift using auto tune software to correct her vocals, to see Everlane actually uses cheapest cheap sweatshops in Bangladesh.

Brands in today’s transparent world have to do much more than the talk. They have to do the walk to support their position.



What a startup lifestyle and fashion can take away from this is:

Follow the 80 – 20 rule!

Perception initiates Behaviour and leads to Performance.

You must dedicate 80 percent of your efforts in building your brand’s perception. The sharp well researched brand and equally competent strategy to build a perception around it. The rest 20 percent is where perception driven Behaviour leads Performance of your Brand. If you categorise your branding and marketing according to this rule of priority for your lifestyle and fashion brand. You’ll definitely create a brand that commands a premium and leaves a legacy.

We have written about it in detail over here.

Thank you so much!

Tweet us @KANNcollective for the rebranding of GARY VEE’s




Filed under: Brand, Branding, e-commerce, Lifestyle brand

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Kann collective is a multi disciplinary design studio that drives a brand centric solution for forward thinking and design conscious brands in lifestyle, luxury, creative and art domain.

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