Grandma and Grandpa are best suited for the new economy

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded  |

I’ve been watching a few videos by Gary Vaynerchuk, creator of the Wine Library, lately. This is one dude who is passionate, pure East Coast, and also gets today’s marketing arena. He lives, breaths, and die, marketing and social media, specifically. He regularly gives talks at places such as SXSW, TED, and Rail Conf. One of his most interesting points is his belief that our grandparents are better suited for the future of business than the hipster 15-30 year old who is growing up with all of this new technology. In the cycle of business, we just came through the age of the big box stores. The bigger, the better. Now, it seems this breed of dinosaur is beginning to die off (Blockbuster, Circuit City, and Borders, just to name a few). The dawn of small, local business is about to break. The trend is all about getting local.

All you have to do is look at brands such as Yelp and Groupon. Even Google is trying to get in the local game. Back to Gary’s message. Our grandparents, running their local grocery store or bakery way back when, knows more about the local trend than most of the young bucks today. It’s not about “scalable”. It’s about really caring. Our grandparents know if they screw over Mrs. Jones down the street, she is going to tell all the neighbors about how mistreated she was, and in a local economy, news spreads like wildfire. The past entrepreneurs know that being authentic and giving a crap about their fellow human being is how success is built. One at a time. Not how many friends they can accumulate.

Today’s emphasis on mass numbers is completely off base. It misses the point. People will go where they feel their business means something to the owners. This brings me to one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s concepts, the Thank you economy. The internet is moving from the Freemium economy to one of appreciation and gratitude. If your “followers” and “friends” don’t think you give a damn about their loyalty, they will leave, or worse, just ignore you. Who could blame them? In the Thank You Economy, businesses need to reach out and thank each and every follower for their time, attention, and for caring enough to want to spend their time, emotion, and their money with them. Again, our grandparents know how to say thank you much better than their digital counterparts today. Too much is automated and “scaled” that hardly any of us believe that the email we received from a company was truly crafted only for them.

The local scene is going to be the next evolution in the business cycle. The pendulum is swinging from the big box to the small entrepreneur. Big business needs to realize this and figure a way to get “local” and let their customers know they are individually appreciated and listened to. Otherwise, our grandparents may come back around and eat their lunch. Remember, it is they who created the baker’s dozen, not Whole Foods.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.


  1. Starting a Startup, Creativity Not Required - August 16, 2011

    […] of Vaynermedia suggests that in today’s connected society, our grandparents would be better entrepreneurs than us because they have a better sense of what matters. In some ways, I agree. Our grandparents […]

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