VaynerMentors is a program part of The Sasha Group, a small business marketing agency I started dedicated to helping small businesses outgrow us. We do that through education, consulting, and marketing support. VaynerMentors is a crucial part of that process.
It’s our way of taking everything we learned working with big businesses at VaynerMedia, and using that knowledge to help smaller companies unlock their full potential.
In this case study, our team interviewed Doug Jones, Fernando Alvarez, and Luis Gazitua from JAG Insurance Group — a boutique insurance company that built a giant brand in their space after VaynerMentors.
Here’s a clip from one of our meetings that could shed some light what they got from the experience:
What did you expect when you joined the program?
At first, we didn’t fully understand what the VaynerMentors program was about, or the real value in it.
And frankly, we were pretty skeptical. We didn’t know much about social media or branding when we started, and we figured that our industry was different. We’re in the insurance business, and we didn’t think that our customers would really care whether or not we acted like a media company on social. We didn’t see the value in it.
But after talking with the VaynerMentors team, it became clear pretty quickly that the program was more than just “taking a selfie with Gary.”
We knew it had the potential to fundamentally change our business.
Was there anything in the program that surprised you?
The biggest surprise was that you guys weren’t afraid to get us to do things that we weren’t comfortable doing.
The program itself depended on us getting outside of our comfort zone. For example, putting our faces on camera and talking was a stretch – it’s just something we’d never done before.
The VaynerMentors team helped us embrace that and because of that, we’re seeing ridiculous growth after going through the eprogram. When we were done, we knew we’d grow way, way more than expected even 3-5 months out.
What kind of impact did you see in your business after VaynerMentors?
Before the program, we had virtually zero social presence. No educational content, nothing. We figured our industry was different and that since we were in the “insurance” space, social media wouldn’t be as relevant to us.
We were dead wrong about that.
The VaynerMentors team helped us grow our brand on social in a big way – everything from the logo to the tagline, colors, content pillars, and more. They helped us craft our identity, and solidified who we are as a company.
This helped in a few ways:
As we started putting out more content aligned with our brand, our impressions, engagement, and follower growth exploded.
Before, our brand’s design and positioning were all over the place…
Now, we have consistent “pillars” of content that we put out on a daily basis:
People also got to know who we were really quickly. That first impression made a BIG difference when we walked into meetings with influential people, and they already knew about us. We also have people coming up to us all the time saying they’ve seen our content online, and it’s been a big help in getting business without having to “ask” for it.
Each one of us has also taken huge steps to building the Jag brand through ourselves – through podcasts, video content, and more.
We’ve grown from virtually nothing to 8,700 followers on our Instagram page and our LinkedIn is growing exponentially. Fernando is helping promote the business through his podcast, The Transition: Life After Sports.
New employees are coming in with a deeper understanding of who we are and what we stand for, which has led to getting great talent. We have top tier talent from the biggest companies in the world – people leave “stable” jobs to come work with us because they get pumped up from the brand.
With greater brand awareness comes a greater “respect” factor which helps in so many different ways.
When you look at the business overall, how has it grown after VaynerMentors?
We’re incredibly committed to this. We’ve invested more money in brand building than we’d ever imagined, and we’re selling more insurance than ever.
We’re spending more because we believe this is a marathon. We’re okay with “eating shit” (as Gary says) for a few years and make less money ourselves because we know it’s going to catapult us long term.
We’re already in the big leagues now with other top insurance companies. We’re everyone’s boutique choice, and the crazy thing is, we’re only six months in. Can’t wait to see where we’ll be at a few years from now.
What was the experience working with the team?
This was the most impressive part of the entire process. Mark Evans (SVP at The Sasha Group) Sid Astir (Brand Manager for Gary Vaynerchuk), and James Orsini (President of The Sasha Group) were all amazing. Everything you guys said you were going to do, you did it. Our expectations were exceeded every time with every meeting.
In addition to helping us with execution, you also helped us feel like we can actually do this. You made us feel like putting out content and being “personalities” wasn’t just for people like Gary Vaynerchuk.
It was very clear to us that you guys a first class institution – Gary’s the face of the brand, but VaynerMentors brings such a deep level of expertise.