PEX Card Chat: Catching Up with Bryan Kramer

PEX Card Chat is a monthly conversation on Twitter designed to help business owners get answers to their financial and business management questions. This month, our guest was Bryan Kramer, President/CEO and Social Strategist of Pure Matter, a marketing agency based in San Jose, CA. The focus of our chat was to help business owners understand the new language of business and social selling.

PEX Card: Welcome Bryan Kramer to #PEXCardChat. A few weeks ago, you gave your first TED Talk. Tell us about that experience.

Bryan Kramer: Giving a TED Talk is surreal; like nothing I’ve ever done before. The buildup, preparation and anticipation made it quite an experience! Speaking at TED taught me to build the arc of my story; start with the end first, then tell the story. TED has a process that is very thorough. They put me through speaker-coaching which was also very helpful. Since the event was co-hosted by IBM, the #TEDatIBM team did a phenomenal job of helping to build a community around the event.

PEX Card: That sounds really exciting. We are looking forward to seeing the videotape of your speech. Ok…let’s talk about your company. As a the CEO of a marketing agency, how do you market your own business?

Bryan: Years ago, we didn’t do any marketing. We were the Cobbler’s kids. That mentality changed when business slowed down. We now work hard every day to test things on ourselves before suggesting them to our clients. We are the sandbox. Everyone in our company takes a piece of marketing as part of their goals for the year.  It’s important that we market together or we wouldn’t be able to learn together. 

PEX Card: You recently wrote a post for PEX Card’s web site titled The unnatural language of business. What does that mean?

Bryan: It means we need to make things easier for people to understand what we’re selling. I don’t care what language we speak, who the brand is or what message they want to send, we all need to speak more human. We have acronyms like LOL, OMG, TY, and BRB. We’ve introduced words such as “selfie,” “hashtag,” “wiki,” and “tag.” Technology demands that we communicate in a new way, but is it really making us more efficient? Whether it’s a social network or a human network, conversations are requiring us to relearn how to share with each other.

PEX Card: Where can small business owners go to learn how to speak the new language and be part of the discussion?

Bryan: If you don’t mind a small bit of self-promotion, they can learn about it here: I personally also enjoy using Social Media Examiner by Mike Stelzner.

PEX Card: In another PEX Card blog post, you wrote “In social, content is important, but context is HUGE.” Can you tell us more about the meaning of context in social?

Bryan: There are three things that make a brand into a human brand, all of which takes context in order to make it happen. In order to gain the ultimate context, you need: Simplicity, Empathy, and Imperfection. Once you have all three in place, the likelihood of being perceived as a human-driven company goes way up. With 93% of communications based on nonverbal body language, that leaves just 7% to explain verbally what we really mean.

PEX Card: You make it seem so easy to understand. Tell us about your “Four Rules of Context?”

Bryan: It’s easy to understand…after you’ve tried all the other options. The four rules are context are as follows:

  • Tap into the human senses in order to deliver a truly personal experience
  • Humans just want to be heard, it’s important that we listen
  • Humans have a large need for disruption, it’s rare for status quo to serve a long term purpose
  • Speak human, complicating our business language doesn’t make you look any smarter

PEX Card: Tell us about “social selling.” How does your small business approach social selling?

Bryan: As Jill Rowley would tell you, social selling is all about social helping! Selling socially doesn’t really exist. Social is helping other people and getting to know them. The sale then takes place offline.

PEX Card: You have given a TED Talk and written a book…what’s next?

Bryan: I’m working on my next book called Shareology. It’s about why, where and when humans and brands share. It’s based on my TED Talk. I’m also going to launch an online educational series for the SMB market in 2015.

PEX Card: Excellent. Please keep us posted on your educational series. That sounds interesting. Finally, do you have any parting thoughts for small business owners?

Bryan: First – there was a sense of accomplishment finishing daily newspaper. I have no idea when I’m supposed to stop reading the internet. Second – May you never be as bored as whoever figured out that holding a seashell to your ear sounds like the ocean.

PEX Card: Those seem like the perfect quotes to end our time together. Thanks again Bryan for being our guest this month on #PEXCardChat. You are a business rock star and definitely worth following on Twitter.

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