Stu Opperman: making an impact on his own terms
Stu Opperman founded Hollywood-based Impact Players public relations firm in 2009
Stu Opperman founded Impact Players in 2009 and now represents a variety of businesses, including those in the mixed martial arts (MMA). (Photo by Jim Rassol)
Details: Stu Opperman/Impact Players: 954-815-2303; web: impactplayers.com; Facebook: ImpactPlayers; and Twitter: @StuOpperman
By Cindy Kent, Sun Sentinel
Having the voice and resources of an entire company behind you is important in any field, including public relations.
Indeed, leaving a senior position at an established PR agency means leaving a certain comfort zone, says Stu Opperman, founder of Impact Players, the Hollywood-based public relations firm.
When it’s time to strike out on your own as an individual, small business owner, it’s more about doing things your own way and building your brand, he says. So, Opperman created strategies for a successful start.
He parlayed his decades of South Florida connections into a launching pad. Opperman drummed up new business.
Then, in 2009, he launched his firm with his first client, syndicated radio’s “Paul & Young Ron Show.” He took on other project work and added the Andy Roddick Foundation as another early client.
Opperman specializes in media relations, on traditional platforms and through social media; crisis communications and creating or enhancing audiences, content and relationships.
You left a senior position at an established agency where others would cherish steady work. Looking back, would you have made a different decision? No. While direct deposit twice a month provided a comfortable existence, it didn’t quiet the nagging feeling that I could create something special for myself and my family. It was the right time, even given the state of the economy, to put my efforts into building a business that would provide long-term security.
What are the challenges of being a one-man PR firm? Finding the time to do everything you need to do and want to accomplish. I’m in charge of communications strategy, implementation, client relations, business development, accounting, IT, brand enhancement and everything else that goes into running a small business.
Did you ever feel like the rouge underdog? I’m fortunate to be in business at a time where technology levels the playing field and clients now understand that quality work and results don’t have to come from a large firm with a fancy downtown office. It’s an advantage (and selling point) that my client’s retainer dollars go toward the pursuit of the results they want and not the overhead I’ve taken on.
You’re one guy, how do you provide services for large-scale projects or a multitude of clients? I’ve established a senior-level network that can provide services valued by my clients that I can’t do on a professional level (graphic arts, web development). They are independent practitioners or agencies that I trust, and we share in each other’s success. Sometimes it’s me bringing them in to help with client work and other times I’m the recipient of their assignments.
If it isn’t broadcast on social networks — it isn’t real, it didn’t happen. What’s your take on that? Social media and networks are marvelous tools, but they are just pieces of the communications puzzle. Our job in public relations is to reach targeted audiences in whatever ways are most likely to accomplish goals and objectives. It doesn’t replace face-to-face meetings, handwritten notes or phone calls. Every audience is different, and one tactic doesn’t fit all.
What should small businesses consider before hiring a PR person? Understand the money spent must be accompanied by a level of commitment to seeing the process through. Whatever dollars a business feels it can spend in the pursuit of these goals should be focused and allocated consistently.
What keeps you up at night? The fear that the quest to provide my family a great future could take away from the present we already have.
What clients should know about PR:
- Hire advocates you like, respect and are comfortable with having represent your organization
- Share your knowledge; be open to new ideas, criticism
- Participate in, but don’t try to micromanage, the public relations effort
- Demand a crisis communications strategy, whether you believe you need it or not
What PR pros should know:
- Stay hungry, keep learning, ask questions
- If your writing isn’t significantly above average, improve it
- Challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis
- Connect and be a connector
- Don’t limit opportunities by pigeonholing yourself into one specific niche