5 Reasons why Gary Vaynerchuk has an “Addictive” Brand

Gary Vaynerchuck Gamification

Guest Post on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Engagement Design

Are you following Gary on Facebook or Snapchat? Are you watching the #askgaryvee show or Dailyvee? Getting increasingly popular with entrepreneurs, Gary has found a winning formula to hook us to his content. It goes beyond simply being ‘good content’. What makes his stuff so addictive?

In this article, we analyze the emotions and feelings Gary triggers with his readers through Yu-kai Chou’s cognitive framework Octalysis. The framework identifies several factors with potential to drive engagement (called Core Drives) that can be applied across industries.

So, what makes Gary’s content so addictive?

1. You can execute on his advice and see progress (Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment)

Let’s start with the obvious. The reason most people watch Gary is because he always provides concise, actionable, day to day tips or advice, that you can execute on your business.

By providing value, rather than selling a dream, you can see that he is worth watching simply because it helps you grow, one step at a time. Gary is very upfront that there is no shortcut to success except hard work and talent, and his content helps you put that into practice.

2. He makes you feel part of the hustler’s tribe (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling)

Gary is the leader of the ‘hustler’ community, these entrepreneurs with the mindset to make things happen, and who never give up. Seeing him hustle everyday makes you feel part of the tribe and gives you confidence that you can do it too, especially because of his casual, approachable look.

Even if you didn’t have the best day, Gary’s motivation will pick you up. Because hustlers feel like non-hustlers will never be successful people, this pride to be part of the ‘good side’ of things reinforce the sense of belonging to the tribe. Remember though, just because you watch Gary’s stuff doesn’t make you a hustler…

3. His genius makes you feel social-smart (Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness)

Gary comes up with amazing punchlines (“attention is the new currency”, “one is greater than zero”) that people appropriate for themselves in social situation to appear and feel smart. I’ve heard people using those in networking events and not quote the source, which always makes me laugh (how many people are ‘so bullish on Snapchat’ recently!)

Beyond the simple bragging factor though, people genuinely feel smarter because they understand the tagline and unconsciously appropriate Gary’s genius for themselves.

4. His content is raw and unscripted (Core Drive: Unpredictability & Curiosity)

Whether on the #AskGaryVee, Dailyvee or Snapchat, Gary’s content is 100% genuine, non rehearsed, showing the good and the bad (late for meetings, bad news, even issues with sound recording). This makes the content unpredictable, which is a reason why you’re hooked to it: what is going to happen next? What is Gary going to come up with today? You’re not able to guess the plot and your curiosity takes over. To satisfy it, the only option is to watch his content!

5. You don’t want to miss out on the new tips (Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance)

Because Gary’s content is unpredictable, you do not know which episode will actually provide the most value. What if you skip one and Gary answers a question that could change your life? You do not want to take that risk, and the human aversion to risk kicks in: you keep up to date with his content to avoid the feeling of missing out. Snapchat and disappearing content emphasizes this effect the most, and Gary leverages this effect to get more followers on this platform.

The Octalysis Framework characterizes this last core drive as Black Hat meaning that it is generally triggered by negative emotions – you watch to avoid a negative feeling, not to seek a positive one.

This is however a very powerful and widely used core drive that is easy to leverage.

Can you identify the drive that motivates you to keep up with Gary’s content the most?

Samuel Huber is a young entrepreneur based in London. His company bridges the gap between games and e-commerce. Samuel speaks about customer behavior and engagement mechanics, and is an avid user of the Octalysis framework. You can drop him a note on Twitter @samhuber (

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