Making an ...

Are They too Big to Care?

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I fired my bank recently.

I share this not to brag or shame them publicly (although if that happens, so be it) but as a reminder that all businesses have an obligation to satisfy the customers that support them.  Long after I’ve forgotten the details of mistakes that were made, I’ll remember how I was treated, and how little urgency there was to correct situations they created.  Each issue that arose, and there were a number of them, was met with comments like, “It’s an automated system; we have no control over it” and “It will be 7-10 business days for us to get that resolved.”

I realize I’m a proverbial drop in the bucket to them and that me taking my business somewhere else will not even register on their radar. But I also know that I can’t treat my clients the way I was treated without consequences and that customer service and human decency still count for something.

So, while they weren’t particularly inclined to take action and correct a bad situation, I was.

What Would Fudgie (the Whale) Do?

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Faced with the “adapt or die” scenario, one would assume business people would understand the need to change. Yet each day there are numerous examples of those who still cling to the thinking of the past, even at the expense of their future. Here’s one example:

My daughter really likes those crunchy, chocolate things that are often between layers of an ice cream cake. With today being her birthday, I decided (with a little prodding from mini-me) to get some extra “crunchies” to go with the cake mom and sister had baked. Happy to overpay for a small container as a birthday treat, I’m told at my local ice cream shop that they won’t sell them to me unless I first buy a cake from them (the least expensive was $10). No exceptions, they say, we’ve never sold them separately (even though they do get requests to do so).

While I’m no expert on the cost of producing crunchies, if that’s even their name, or the potential scarcity should people be allowed to eat them outside of cake, I am confident there was profit to be made if they charged me, say $4, for a small cup. It might even have been the best margin they recorded all day.

Still, the manager refused to even consider the sale, since the preservation of the store’s decades-old business philosophy was apparently the top priority. Forget trying to survive a bad economy (somewhat prophetically there was an abandoned mall, 350,000 sq. ft. of retail space, directly across the street), making an obscene profit on a special request, or satisfying customers so they’ll come back/tell their friends, the store didn’t sell crunchies outside the cake 30 years ago and they weren’t about to start now.

Is your company doing things the way it always has even though the business arena and customer (service) expectations have evolved? While the resistance to change may provide some short-term comfort for those who enjoy the non-thinking zone, it’s also the fastest way to insure the number of birthdays your business enjoys is limited.

What They’re Saying about Impact Players

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“I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous public relations professionals over the years and have found precious few of them that share the same level of innovative and strategic thinking as Stu Opperman.

For more than 10 years, we have worked together on a variety of projects with positive results. We rely on Stu to help guide us through the always-changing world of public relations. He has challenged us to be proactive in the social media arena and we are a better organization because of it.

We highly recommend Impact Players to any company or non-profit, both big and small.”

Richard Kelly, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida


(see more testimonials under the “Feedback” tab)


Iron Chefs?

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Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri



If you were looking for the epicenter of the food and cooking world one recent morning, there was no need to look further than the “Paul & Young Ron Show.”


Celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri hosted the show’s annual cook-off between Paul Castronovo and “Young” Ron Brewer, with the “Iron Chef”-style competition judged by Cat Cora, Tim Love, Bryan Voltaggio, Howie Kleinberg, and Rick Moonen.


Paul Castronovo


The two were given a random sampling of items and had thirty minutes to create a meal once the main ingredient was revealed.  In a bit of an upset, Brewer’s “Lobster Tropicale” was judged superior to Castronovo’s “Mediterranean Surprise,” although the competition was not without controversy, with allegations that Brewer’s winning entry was primarily prepared by a sous chef from Florida International University.


The competition took place poolside at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel and was part of the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Guy Fieri, “Young” Ron Brewer, Paul Castronovo

Some Needed Perspective

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It had been one of those days.  One of the ones where seemingly everything goes wrong and disappointment is around every corner.  A day where you go to bed early, just so that you can make “today” into “yesterday” without any further damage.

Then a remarkable thing happened . . . I got an e-mail.  Not just any e-mail, mind you, but one from the mother of child who had a wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida, an Impact Players client.  Their son, David, a promising high school pitcher whose career had been derailed by illness, had traveled to Southern California to have his mechanics evaluated by former major league pitcher and current USC coach Tom House.  It was David’s hope that with some expert instruction and a little bit of luck with his health, he might be able to earn a college scholarship to play baseball.

Mom was thankful for some of the media opportunities we arranged for her family, but also wanted to share “the power of a wish.”

“I tried to explain (to the reporter) how incredible the experience was for us and how much it means to David.  It is hard to find the words that do it justice.   For us, having something to look forward to right when David needed it and then getting the encouragement that he got from Tom House has been life changing for him . . . it gave my son hope at a time when he needed it.  How do you thank someone for that?  It is beyond words.

David has tryouts next week for the Varsity spring team.  There is an amazing amount of talent on this team and they are ‘stacked’ with pitchers.  Hopefully, he will make it.  David thinks he will and has been training and working on the things that House taught him all through his holiday and time off (the wish is still making his life better).  Since his time with Coach House, David thinks he can do anything.   He had a Dr.’s appointment today and is the healthiest that he has been in three years (even the benign bone tumor in his leg has gone).  We don’t take anything for granted and we don’t know the what the future holds but thanks to (Make-A-Wish) and two incredibly smart doctors, David is living his dream today.”

Like I said, it was a great day.

Maybe the ‘World Record’ Ain’t What You Think

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This record has nothing to do with motorcycles.

The Guinness World Records people have a new division that helps companies figure out what records can be set for brands and products, and another division to help record-setters get media attention. The process costs nearly $5,000, which includes having a judge verify the accomplishment and brainstorm other potential record opportunities.

Does knowing this change your perception of Guinness and the records it chronicles?

Source: Tactics (November 2010)

Hope, Strength, and Joy is the Best Medicine

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One of the common misconceptions about the Make-A-Wish Foundation is that it only grants the wishes of children who are terminally ill.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The kids all have life-threatening medical conditions, but, thankfully, many grow up to lead healthy lives.

At Impact Players, we work with the media to help tell their stories.

Child Labor . . . Really?

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We’re annoyed by magazine companies that enlist school kids to shake down Grandma for a subscription she doesn’t want/need.

That’s your business model, exploiting kids (win a prize for your school!) and families to provide a cheap sales force?