The Company Spotlight program is new to BUMKC to give members hands on experience talking with marketing and business professionals on a casual and informative level. It allows members to get a better idea of how different agencies and companies function as well as understand what it is like to have a real job in the Marketing field. Students interview professionals and get hands on experience in the marketing world. Take a look at our first company spotlight interview:
Interviewee: Spencer Bramson
Interviewer: Chen Shi
Spencer Bramson is the Chief Imagination Officer at Influencers@. At the age of 23 he formed an influence marketing agency that hits the streets and interwebs to help brands and solutions become the most talked about, wanted, and shared among the 18-30 year old demographic. Spencer was very nice and friendly to talk to. He had a lot to say about each of my questions, he inspired me by his passion and unique personality. I feel he is a guy who thinks outside the box, wants to achieve a lot, and who pursues total freedom. In the end, we took a picture together in his office, and I met his employees there as well. I enjoyed this experience because I was able to talk to a young, passionate entrepreneur, as well as get an idea of how he runs his business.
Chen: How old are you? When did you start this company? Is your company a sole proprietorship or partnership company?
Spencer: I am 23. I founded this company a year ago in the beginning of August. The company is a limited corporation.
Chen: You have a very specific target market. Why are you so interested in connecting brands with college students?
Spencer: I think college students are the beginning buying power. They come to college, live on their own, and decide what stuff to buy or not to buy. They choose by themselves now, and their parents no longer have a huge impact on their buying behaviors. Students also get money, and they start off fresh.
Chen: Your job title is very catchy. Why do you call yourself a Chief Imagination Officer?
Spencer: I call myself that because I have built my business off of imagining up things, and then trying to implement those ideas. So I am always thinking of something new, creative, out of the box, and how it could actually be disrupted, changed and what the normal way of doing business or running marketing is, and trying to implement that.
Chen: What do you do to make yourself special?
Spencer: What makes me special was moving into this office without having a real business. People thought I was crazy, and I realize that, they didn’t imagine we could start a business in this happy office space. There are different products we have built up, there are campaigns we’ve ran, so you know, anything just out of the box, unique and different.
Chen: What made you decide to drop out of school? Does that mean you favor experience and opportunity more than education?
Spencer: I dropped out of school during the beginning of my sophomore year in order to run my first business full-time. I ran a business called Buzz University, with this guy named David, who just graduated from Babson. The business started to really take off about six months into it, and it took up more of my time than school did, and we were doing very well. Business became more important than going to classes. I was sitting in class, and didn’t enjoy it as much as other people, and it cost a lot of money to be there so I decided I wanted to be in the business world. In the new business I was learning a lot plus I was making money. I thought it was best to leave school and work in a business full-time.
Chen: If you didn’t have that opportunity, would you still have dropped out of school?
Spencer: No, I would probably still be in school if I didn’t have that opportunity.
Chen: What do you do every day?
Spencer: Every day is a little bit different. This is one of the fun things about running a business. You know, some days, I am talking to my clients, other days I am focusing on building new products, making sure that’s running properly, some days I am sitting behind my desk emailing all day long, trying to catch up. Sometimes I am at a field running a campaign, so it all depends on what is going on each day, and what’s currently on my plate. But on average the main things I typically deal with right now is bringing new clients, bringing executives, business partners, new team members, playing damage control and making sure that things are going right.
Chen: What is your defining moment in your life and how does that influence you?
Spencer: A moment would be my father’s acceptance of me dropping out of school in order to be an entrepreneur. My father is a typical stockbroker, suit and tie, goes to work, climbs the ladder, did everything that he was supposed to do and go on his path, and I am completely different. I dropped out of school, ran a business, and didn’t listen to anyone. So his acceptance and his understanding of my life choices definitely influenced me.
Chen: What is the biggest challenge you have in your life?
Spencer: Probably the biggest challenge I have is trying to live in a very stereotypical world in a sense. You don’t see a lot of 23-year-olds with a beard, not dressed up, trying to convince a Fortune 500 company that they should be hiring and working with us. I think the very untraditional path of no traditional education, sets us apart from other companies. It is a very crazy thing, there is a lot of seriousness that goes on behind all the madness. It is trying to have people who are so out of touch with that mindset and lifestyle to understand you and have them realize that there are actually some creative intelligence going on here. Instead of them saying “oh these kids are just having a good time, wasting their time and everything.” They don’t really know what they are doing.” So proving that viability is the biggest challenge here all the time.
Chen: What advice can you give to college students in general?
Spencer: In general, make sure what you are doing is worthwhile, so you are making the most use of your time. It is cool and fun to party in your dorm room, but don’t let that steal you away from what your main mission and goals are. People thought I was crazy because I was giving up partying and going to work. But I would rather have college from the age of 35, I can do whatever I want, at any moment of time, and am on a boat instead of in a small dorm room, being next to 20 of my closest friends. So make sure you use your time in an effective manner. Go out, and experience everything, go networking, talk to different professors, go to different professionals, take different types of internships, get a general understanding and try out different things, and once you really realize what you like, focus on that. Learn as much as you can, network, meet people, get your face out there, work on your personal brand, and basically think how you want to be seen in 20 years from now.