Published on: March 19, 2015
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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
One of the more impressive sights at the recent IGA Global Summit in Orlando, where Michael Sansolo and I split the moderating and facilitating duties this week, was the sight of several hundred retailers and their families getting together in a room and making more than 12,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, all of which were donated to local charities that provided them to people in the area who are homeless, hungry or simply need this kind of assistance.
The effort was precipitated by a presentation by the founder of a sandwich chain called Which Wich, Jeff Sinelli, who describes himself as "chief vibe officer" - and part of the vibe he wants to create for his company is as one that is intimately connected to the community. And so one of the things that Sinelli has done is help create a program that donates peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the needy in the markets the company serves, and creates a mechanism through which customers can do the same.
Now, I have to be honest. After an hour or so of smelling nothing but PB&J, I thought I'd never want to eat one again ... but the fact is that I've had a craving for one ever since.
But one of the things that I thought was most remarkable about Sinelli's presentation was when he talked about something he's learned from this effort - that there were a lot of people even within his organization for whom the program resonated.
There was the person who had been homeless. Or the woman who'd escaped an abusive husband with her kids, and could only afford to eat peanut butter and jelly until they got back on their feet. Or the family that had been abandoned by a parent, leaving them with little money and fewer food options.
I'm a lucky guy. I never have had to deal with any of these things, and I don't know many people who come from such circumstances. I sometimes have to remind myself that not everybody is as lucky as me.
I think this is a good lesson for every retailer, every manufacturer. While almost every business has a community outreach program, I wonder how many have gone out of their way to find out what kinds of programs will resonate with employees and associates ... and then implemented these ideas with the knowledge that this is yet another way to compensate and connect with the people on the front lines of their businesses.
It is a way to do better business, and just do better.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: