PepperMill

Tim’s Workin’ at a Great Place

I’m going to take you back to 1966, when one of the greatest summer anthems was released by The Lovin’ Spoonful.

This song was written by John Sebastian as a high school assignment, along with his brother Mark, and for which he got an “F.” Summer in the City topped the Billboard chart for three weeks. Summer back then was all fun and games. Nowadays, we have to work to make a living. And who you choose to work with can be a game changer. On July 27th I was reminded how lucky I am.

For the sixth straight year, we’ve been recognized as one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies To Work For In ChicagoTM. On the 27th I represented Pepper Group at the annual awards luncheon. Of all the awards we’ve been lucky enough to collect, this one is always particularly meaningful for us all. Every Pepper makes a difference and that effort has created a fun place to ply our craft.

That’s Tim, fourth from the left, picking up our award with co-winners. Celebrity presenters were Judy Hsu (ABC-7 News) second from left in red, Pat Cassidy (WBBM Radio) on the far right.

Of the 100 other companies on this year’s list, we are happy to say that nine of them are current or former clients. Of the remaining 91 winners, six more are strategic partners. They’ve not only been great inspirations for us, and have taught us quite a few things, but we hope we’ve taught them a few things, too. Building a great culture is part art, part psychology—and if your company needs a hand, we have some pretty cool ideas through our Talent Branding FrameworkTM.

Speaking of great places to work, it’s been proven that employee volunteering creates one of the highest ROI factors in employee engagement. I’m proud to announce that the Chicago chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization has agreed to adopt our Teer1 platform, giving all of their 135 member companies access to it. We hope to expand that access: the Entrepreneur’s Organization has more than 12,000 members in 52 countries.

And the best summer news of all? That the Cubbies are at (or close to, depending on the day) the top of the Central Division. It’s fun to be in contention and have some amazing superstars (pronounced “Baez”) to watch. That dude’s amazing.

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.

Tim Padgett
tim@peppergroup.com

I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to.
—Elvis Presley

Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.
—Leo Durocher (Cubs’ manager 1966-1972)

Client Spotlight: Edlong Reinvents the Taste of Dairy at IFT

We tell clients all the time that our clients and projects are like our children: we don’t have favorites, and we love them all equally.

That being said, there are some projects that are particularly fun to work on, and one of those is our long-time client Edlong’s annual participation in one of the food industry’s largest conferences, the IFT Expo. This year, the show took over Chicago’s McCormick Place, where more than 23,000 food scientists, product developers, suppliers and trade media gathered to get a real taste of the “next big thing.” (Why is it fun to work on, you ask? Well…who doesn’t like delicious food? Or even pictures of delicious food? Or helping buyers understand the unique value of authentic dairy flavors in creating delicious food? Nobody, that’s who.)

For Edlong, the IFT Expo is one of the year’s flagship sales and marketing events, so flawless execution of the year’s key messages is critical. From the innovative applications developed by the Edlong team for attendees to taste, to the booth graphics and handouts, to the expert presentations delivered onsite, to the pre-show promotion and post-show follow-up, it’s a true team effort that requires months of planning and a relentless eye on tactical integration.

This year, under the theme “Reinventing the Authentic Taste of Dairy,” we helped Edlong communicate to IFT attendees the many ways their advanced flavor technologies can make an irreplaceable impact on products in several key trend areas, including dairy-free and vegan formulations as well as healthier and more innovative spins on traditional favorites. (Dairy-free dairy flavors, you ask? Yes, Edlong has more than 250 of them, and they’re vital to creating great eating experiences in products that don’t contain dairy.)

That message was carried consistently through a multitude of tactics including the booth graphics and video, handouts, public relations activity and media materials, social media, product demonstrations and presentations, a customer event and so much more. Learn more about Edlong’s IFT success here; make your mouth water by reading more about the applications they showed here; and get the scoop on Edlong here.

If your company has a trade show approaching, let’s talk! While all trade shows might not be as delicious as IFT, when done right, they can all yield delicious results!

“The best overall unsolicited compliment we received: During IFT meetings with one of our key customers, they commented that recently Edlong has achieved some of the most well-aligned marketing execution that they have ever seen in the industry.” –Beth Warren, Chief Commercial Officer, Edlong

Jessie Atchison
jessie@peppergroup.com

Take the Talent Marketing Self-Assessment

Did you know that a strong talent brand can help cut your costs per hire in half, reduce turnover rates by 28% and increase profitability by 16%?

Your company’s ability to attract the best talent, and keep the best talent, gives you a tremendous competitive advantage.

Identifying and packaging your company’s strengths, and developing and communicating an authentic talent brand message, will deliver true and measurable ROI.

We’ve created a 3-minute self-assessment, developed from the experience and insights gained by our 24 years as a full-service marketing agency. It uncovers strengths and weaknesses, and shows you areas where you can have significant impact.

Are you marketing your company effectively to attract and retain the best talent? How do you stack up? Take the survey and see!

George Couris
george@peppergroup.com

Why B2B Video Matters

My daughter seldom watches television,

which you might think is healthy, until you realize she spends 200 hours a week on YouTube (that’s a guesstimate—the hours she spends are probably higher). But online is where people are, not television, and videos are the new commercial.

Although they can be much more affordable to produce.

When I first started in advertising, more years ago than I care to admit, I spent most of my time writing and creating television commercials, with budgets anywhere from $40,000 to a few million dollars. But a quality Internet video can be made for a fraction of that price. While helicopters and Brad Pitt will demand a big budget, all you really need is the right idea—backed by good music, solid editing and some original footage.

But video is not just for my daughter, or consumers. Did you know that 70% of B2B customers watch videos relevant to their B2B purchases? And 76% of all online marketers incorporate video as part of their strategy? But, often, B2B buyers must defend buying choices to their superiors, so video needs to be backed by case studies or similar fact-based support. The video will grab their attention. The additional materials will close the deal.

Another advantage of videos is that they are shareable, which means they can reach a large number of decision-makers. LinkedIn estimates that three out of every four buyers discuss upcoming purchases via social media, often sharing links.

However, the video needs to be engaging enough, and interesting enough, for someone to want to share it. Did you know more video content is uploaded in a month than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years? Is your video interesting enough to be noticed through all that clutter?

But you can’t just post a video of your cat. You need a professional video, and not one that looks like it’s been shot by the office temp. It needs to be entertaining, yes. Interesting, definitely. But also highly relevant to your audience.

Back when I was writing television commercials we competed against bathroom breaks, nacho cheese dip grabs, and a few dozen competitor commercials. But now that the competition is a few hundred million other videos and everything else someone can do with their time? You better bring your A game to your B2B videos—the only thing worse, may be not creating any at all.

Allan Woodrow

allan@peppergroup.com

YouTubin’: Plane Perfection

Paper airplanes have reached new heights.

Are there any of you out there who don’t have a deep appreciation for the flight of a well-folded piece of paper? My own skills in this arena stopped advancing decades ago, but thank goodness for John Collins! While I’ve been busy honing my interactive media career, this guy has been mastering the art of folding exquisite paper airplanes. This month’s YouTube video gives us the chance to jump right onto the runway and partake in the fruits of John’s labors.

Enjoy!

If that demonstration whet your appetite, have some fun with more plane folding instructions including the boomerang! Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood
todd@peppergroup.com