Gary Vaynerchuk’s agency VaynerMedia to expand into Asia with an office in Singapore

American digital advertising agency VaynerMedia is to expand its footprint to Asia next year, its founder and chief executive officer Gary Vaynerchuk has confirmed.

Vaynerchuk, who has been dubbed both the “ad industry’s lighting rod” and “the Donald Trump of advertising” due to his fiery online and offline persona, said VaynerMedia would open an office most likely in Singapore within the next 15-to-18 months.

Vaynerchuk: “I’m intrigued by Vietnam and the Philippines for a quality of talent in return for the costs.”

Speaking to Mumbrella Asia during the Brand Minds conference in Singapore, he said: “I think it’s a good time for us – VaynerMedia – to be in Asia because we’re mature; we’re 800 people in and nine figures in revenue. We need to take the next step because we are dealing with global companies, who are saying: ‘We would like to give you all of our business, but you’re not in Asia or South America’.  Me as an operator says: ‘We should be in Asia or South America.”

“I’m looking at Singapore first. I’m intrigued by Vietnam and the Philippines for a quality of talent in return for the costs.”

[To watch the full Mumbrella Asia video interview skip to 9.46]

Regarding Asia as a market for revenue growth, Vaynerchuk said: “I need to have a presence everywhere in the world for me to achieve to my business goals. So the progression is natural. It’s not just: ‘Oh there’s a land grab for margin and profit’.

“I have a lot of empathy and respect for the five holding companies. They are so big that they have to look for these things in the margins so they can continue to grow. I’m a privately-held small company: I’m going my intuition and interest grab.”

He added: “The reason we’re probably ready to make the move is because I’m ready. I’m going to speak less next year and I really want to focus on Vayner[Media], so that will open up the dates.”

During his career, Vaynerchuk largely made a name for himself through his forceful social media presence, which now consist of nearly four million fans across Twitter and Facebook.

Asked about whether there was too much emphasis on a ‘cult of personality’ among marketers and business leaders today, he said: “Nope it’s not. There are many great businessmen and women who are building great businesses without social media.

“It’s a fun life to write books and travel – it’s lazy. If anyone tries to make fun of me for my social media presence, I try to remind them in parallel that I’m the CEO of the fastest-growing agency in the industry.

“I understand why there is scrutiny of the cult of personality. I just want to remind them that I’m not selling infomercials. I built from scratch a US150-million dollar revenue agency. It’s very easy to make fun of me for my content on LinkedIn and Facebook. It’s a lot harder when these people banter about me and realise I’ve accomplished more in my career in one fucking year than what they’ve done in their whole lives.”

During one public speaking session, Vaynerchuk famously told a prospective marketing student’s father that “there’s not a school on earth that is remotely equipped to educate you about communications and marketing in the world today”.

Following this, Melbourne marketing professor Mark Ritson dubbed Vaynerchuk “a philistine from the anti-intellectual movement” during his talk at Mumbrella360 this year. 

When asked about Ritson’s comments, Vaynerchuck said: “I stand by what I said. I do not want to be disrespectful to this man. I would love to spend a coffee with him, but I would ask him: Has he ever done marketing to pay for his family’s wellbeing? Maybe he has. I don’t know who this man is. But there is a difference in being a marketer for the sake of being a marketer, and to grow up doing what I did, which was because my family had to pay its life based on the results of marketing.

“When I hear responses to statements I make, first I deploy empathy. That was an aggressive statement by me. But I do not believe there is one single university on earth that is teaching marketing for the world we live in. I just think there is a lot of pontificating from MBAs and professors, who have been professional marketers their whole lives and they never had to do it when their lives depended on it.”


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