Bryan Kramer headshot

SAN FRANCISCO — Marketers need to start worrying more about human-to-human (H2H) emotional connections and less about things like B2B or B2C.

That was the message Bryan Kramer ­— the man who coined the term H2H — emphasized yesterday during a talk at the FunnyBizz conference here.

People Power Businesses

Kramer is co-founder, President and CEO of PureMatter, a San Jose, Calif.-based digital, social media and content marketing agency. He's also a TED talker and author of “There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human #H2H” and “Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy.”

He describes himself as a leader in the art and science of sharing, and the force behind the #H2H human business movement in marketing and social. Moreover, he espouses a simple yet surprisingly overlooked idea: People power businesses, and people are fueled by emotion.

If you understand that, then you understand that humanizing your brand can give your company a competitive edge, he explained.

Build Trust With Your Customers

Following H2H means focusing marketing on real conversations rather than selling and interactions with machines, systems and processes.

“As we’re building content for different companies, we also have to build their trust,” Kramer said.

Kramer proposed: What if we sent out more thank you cards and used less customer support resources? What if we learned to speak human instead of replacing communication with personalization and automation?

If we thanked people for being our customers, we wouldn’t spend so much time and resources on customer support, he argued.

“Being human is your competitive advantage. A computer will never be able to do that. A computer will never be able to feel emotion,” he said.

Find Your Inner Focker

So how can marketers embody H2H?

At the FunnyBizz conference — where a roster of speakers that included comics, cartoonists and content and marketing strategists discussed how to use humor to transform boring content — it was no surprise that Kramer embraced laughter.

Studies have long proven that comedy improves our lives — stretching muscles, burning calories and reducing stress. And businesses, too, can benefit by embracing their inner Gaylord Focker, he said, referencing Ben Stiller’s character in the film “Meet the Fockers.”

Kramer calls himself a real-life Gaylord Focker — someone who is genuine, possesses a sense of humor, has a heart and, above all, embraces imperfection.

Both in business and in life, Kramer said he welcomes the funny and imperfect moments — and that’s what marketers should also do in the content business, he explained.

Jesus and Joey Fatone

Once, Kramer recalled, he was misrecognized by several young fans of the boy band NSYNC as Joey Fatone, the heartthrob of the 1990s group members. The women took selfies with him, and one asked him to sign her arm, he said.

So he did — and shared it on social media.

During a family vacation at Disneyland, his daughter was caught on camera riding a roller coaster mid-ride — long brown hair and while robe flowing, looking like Jesus, he said. He found it funny and posted it to social media.

These were deliberate, human decisions too nuanced for any computer to have caught, Kramer said.

A computer wouldn’t have known his daughter looked like Jesus or that he wasn't really Joey Fatone. That's why marketers can't leave everything to automation, he explained.

To be a really successful marketer, he stressed, you have to connect … you have to be human and embrace human emotion.