ASOTU CON Sessions Episode 16: Claude Silver

October 24, 2022
Claude Silver and Paul J Daly sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2022.
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Claude Silver is the Chief Heart Officer of Vaynermedia.

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Paul Daly: 0:03You're listening to the ASOTU Con Sessions by Effectv recorded live in Philly. Claude silver, thank you so much for spending some time with us on the ASOTU Con Sessions by Effectv, it is always great when we can get some outside auto industry wisdom inside the auto industry. So thank you for stopping byClaude Silver: 0:23

let's do it. I'd be here any day. Okay. So

Paul Daly: 0:26

you know a little bit about the auto industry. You own a car? You know me? Right. And you've worked with some automotive clients via agency in the past? Can you just give us a few? A few seconds on your background? Just in general, your whole background? Yeah,

Claude Silver: 0:40

sure. Advertising been in advertising for years and years and years and years. Now I'm the Chief Heart Officer with Gary Vaynerchuk at Vayner. And what it is

Paul Daly: 0:48

that actually me, I always tell people, it means second in command,

Claude Silver: 0:52

it means second in command, and also just infusing empathy, and touching every single person making sure that everyone knows that they're valued, and they matter. And we want them to thrive.

Paul Daly: 1:03

And so through your agency life, have you worked a lot of people any automotive intersections there?

Claude Silver: 1:08

Yeah, we did a Toyota before Lexus in my previous world, Fiat and a previous world. Yeah. And then you and then I met you,

Paul Daly: 1:16

then you met me. And you had no idea why I had anything to do with cars. So Automotive is, I think, an intrinsically human product. Because I think it affects more people in the country. Actually, I think it affects everyone. And I can't think of another retail product that does like even if you say like retail chains like McDonald's or Coca Cola, these big brands, people don't need those. Right? Everyone needs a vehicle to take them or to take something to them. Yeah. And so I believe that this industry has the power to affect more people than any other industry. When you think about the people aspect of automotive and the people aspect of working for a dealership, the people aspect of the transaction that happens when people buy and sell a car, what are some of the first things that come to mind.

Claude Silver: 2:03

Intimacy, is the first thing that comes to my mind like it is such an intimate buy you are going to sit your butt in that seat for miles and miles, your family is going to be in there, you want safety. And also I can imagine it's really difficult to be a salesperson having to make your numbers. So I think there's a real big kind of see saw that that must happen.

Paul Daly: 2:27

Right? You know, hacked on on overall life. Really? Yeah, right. This is the vehicle that I'm going like it's a purchase, not that you sound like a phone now, right? People like in the auto industry, a lot of people talk about, well, we need to be more like apple. But the truth is the 14 just came out, I'm on the upgrade program, I tapped a few buttons. And now we're going to have a new one. It doesn't change my life really that much. But a car can never be that easy. Because it's like between 25 and you know, $50,000 If you're going by just basic use car prices. Yeah. And go ahead.

Claude Silver: 2:58

Yeah, I was gonna say it's just, I can't not use the word intimate in a relationship. I mean, I'm in a relationship with my car. When I drove up here today, I'm talking to Siri, I'm on Apple play. I'm using all the dials, like, I'm looking at my tire pressure, I'm interested.

Paul Daly: 3:14

And this there's like a there's like a environmental intimacy as well. Exactly. Get in, right. It's like the sights, the smells, the touch. Right? It's it's a gives you a sense of comfort and familiarity as well. Yeah. And so I think when we talk about the car as a product, it's much more than something you hold in your hand, or much more than something you eat. It is something that actually you experience, like through and through people. There are we were just talking one session on how the data is all showing, it doesn't matter what your philosophical approach to the data is, the data shows that we just have less people on the way than we ever had in the past less babies being born, right population is going to shift the whole landscape folks that were about to retire when the pandemic hit, decided to cash out early at a large scale, right, six, seven years early, and move into it, meaning that we are going to have less people to fill vocational seats in the future, actually not enough. So what approach do you take to hiring and I'm just talking about your approach at Vayner. In general, what approach do you take to get people to say we want to be with you? Oh,

Claude Silver: 4:27

yeah, I mean, it literally starts way before the person even thinks about us. So our brand reputation is extremely important and making sure we're consistent in that whatever it is we're talking about. So people first people first kindness, empathy, so forth and so on. And then getting them in to the chair and making them know that we are here for them. We trust them. We want them to win. When you say we, we. I mean the culture. Gary, myself. Every single person in that organization is paddling in the same direction it's a we not i culture, you cannot win with an AI. It's very

Paul Daly: 5:05

odd in the agency world for people to stay somewhere more than 2436 months, right? I mean, that's kind of the churn. Right? We thought we had a pretty bad in automotive, the agency world's pretty rough. Right? Yeah. What does it look like at Vayner?

Claude Silver: 5:19

I mean, I'm there eight and a half years, which is my longest anywhere, we've got the people that were started with us at 13 years, I would say we've got 13 down to six. And that's our biggest kind of girth of population, which is an enormous set.

Paul Daly: 5:34

Is there anything else like it? I

Claude Silver: 5:35

don't know, if the industry No, I mean, the longevity, the loyalty, the resilience, the teamwork, the camaraderie, everything

Paul Daly: 5:43

feeling of, I think, like, the feeling of trajectory is something that's palpable. For me, I've been a part of what Vayner is doing for a while now, long enough to see some of the folks that were interns when our paths first crossed, probably six years ago or so, to now running teams of 100 being responsible for actually entire business units. And when we were at VeeCon, one of the things that I noticed very clearly was they felt like they did it. Yeah. Right. It was like they it was their conference, there was a sense of ownership. How do you build that into your organization? I know you said some words, right? But we this is a short podcast, auto dealers have a stigma of not being a great place to be, or a stigma of a place where just like the agency world where it's like, Oh, someone will come here, and then they'll go and then someone new will come? Where do you even start?

Claude Silver: 6:38

I mean, high touch, high touch that means not only myself or Gary, all leaders touching people reaching out how are you want to get 15 minutes, you want to go for a cup of coffee, showing every single person the accessibility and the availability of leaders, which helps with retention? That's exactly it. And really, like, what do you need? Do you want to shift companies? Do you want to shift positions? Like, what do you want to do in 510 years? So

Paul Daly: 7:05

you're like, allowing lateral movement within the company? We're Yeah, COURAGING it actually we're

Claude Silver: 7:09

encouraging it. That's one of our winning formulas like retention and promotion from within, or across laterally over the seas. Like, that's a win for us, because you take people from the States, where our headquarters is and you plant them in Amsterdam, our new office, they're just bringing the water to Amsterdam,

Paul Daly: 7:29

right? You have to incubate This is one of the things when I first went through the mentor program, because we had my reconditioning business had scaled culture geographically, you know, several, like three, four hours away. And and what the team at Vayner Mark Evans, who's still there, he and Maribel as well. We're saying, we've really found that you need to incubate culture for a year before you send that person out. Yes.

Claude Silver: 7:53

So Paul, when I started at Vayner, Gary and I were were talking about me leaving London. And when he gave me the job offer, he said, I need you to be in New York for 12 to 14 months because you need to see my DNA you need to have my DNA and I never left

Paul Daly: 8:13

I've been there I can I can fly there. Yeah,

Claude Silver: 8:15

I can help them and now it's it's it emanates off of everything we do. I think you just said it. When you're in that office, you feel an energy you feel we're going someplace, everyone feels like we are disrupting. And I mean that in the best of ways, the industry and we're really bringing our marketers and our brand people to the next century because they need to wake up and go where their consumers are finally,

Paul Daly: 8:41

Claude, I know an awful lot of time today. Thank you for spending a few minutes with me on ASOTU Con Sessions by Effectv. Thanks, Paul. Thank you for listening to this ASOTU Con Sessions by Effectv if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday, here and podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collabs auto collabs. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to We'll see you next time.

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