It’s 2:30 p.m. on a weekday, and members of VaynerMedia’s new Chattanooga office are probably having a stretching session.
Senior copywriter Megan Murphy started the stretching routine about three years ago before moving to the Scenic City with the business’ new office. Leading the short afternoon stretching session is an example of the social media-first digital agency’s culture and core values.
Along with his brother AJ, entrepreneur and best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk founded the company, and his personality and ethics dictate the company’s values.
“It starts from the top; it’s Gary at the highest level,” said Mickey Cloud, vice president of VaynerMedia and head of the Chattanooga office. “We have some core values and we let the people dictate the culture.”
Cloud: Instagram, Twitter (if watching sports), Snapchat
Murphy: Instagram, Pinterest
Hutchison: Beme, Instagram, Spotify
Vaynerchuk visited Chattanooga for the first time in May 2014.
In June, Vaynerchuk announced the opening of his Chattanooga office, and 12 of the company’s employees are now here. There will likely be 18 to 20 employees by mid-September.
The company’s core business is development of digital and social media strategies for clients. That involves creating content and a campaign that meets the client’s objectives, Cloud said.
They stay on top of the newest trends and-as Vaynerchuk would say-they market for the year we are living in, Cloud said.
The business is made up of three core teams. The account strategy team works with clients to understand the business’ objective. For example, who does the business want to target? What platforms do they want to use?
The creative team brings the objective to life and helps implement a strategy to meet the client’s goals.
The project management team helps keep all the teams in line and on time meeting deadlines, among other tasks, Cloud said.
There’s a fourth group of community managers who support all three teams and push content out via social media.
The local office has about five clients here, anchored by Ruby Tuesday, Cloud said.
The office does consulting and some social media work for the Miami Dolphins, in addition to working with some over-the-counter health and beauty products, Cloud said.
Cloud said that VaynerMedia separates itself the from competition by being hyperfocused on results.
And account director Jesse Hutchison, who went to Loyola University, said their focus on teamwork is another differentiator.
“It’s the level [at] which we collaborate with our clients; it’s staying in lockstep,” he said.
The company’s core values are basic-work hard, show your personality, be nice.
Cloud said that being the smartest person in the room but being a jerk means you won’t make it at VaynerMedia.
“Be good; be nice,” he said.
Company leaders also look for people with solid work ethics.
“We are here to get things done,” he said.
And leaders want employees to show off their personalities. They support their employees’ passions. There’s a rower who recently joined a local rowing club. And there are many people in the office who are passionate about music, so they started alternating radio stations in the office, Cloud said.
Chattanooga, the Gig City
VaynerMedia’s team had been looking for expansion options and they already had both coasts covered.
In May 2014, after partners with venture incubator Lamp Post Group brought Vaynerchuk to town, the entrepreneur said it wouldn’t be his last time in the Gig City.
When Vaynerchuk first visited Chattanooga, he texted Cloud about how much he loved it.
Cloud, who went to the University of Virginia, used to go to summer camps at McCallie School, so he was somewhat familiar with the city.
But Murphy, a Temple University graduate, had never visited Chattanooga before and had no ties to the South.
But the opportunity to move here was a chance to have an adventure, she said.
“For me, it was really about wanting to be a part of a community that was just like us,” she said.
So far, Murphy, Cloud and Hutchison have found the city to be welcoming. Cloud said VaynerMedia liked participating in The Company Lab’s recent Gig Tank and that they are looking forward to Startup Week.
“We are here to grow the pot,” Cloud said. “We are bringing talent and talent is already here.”
Hutchison likes that there’s more space and that he doesn’t have to pay “an arm and a leg for an apartment,” he said.
“It’s a city that has a ton of energy and a serious focus on hospitality,” he said.
Disclaimer: Nooga.com‘s parent company is Lamp Post Group, but editorial decisions for this publication are made independently of the Lamp Post Group.
Updated @ 1:13 p.m. on 8/3/15.