PepperMill March 2015

Tim’s Workin’ and Playin’


I usually use this column to share my observations, experiences and weird stuff. So I’m hoping that this month I can indulge you with a little self-promotion of Pepper Group.

Annually, Pepper Group holds two events to have fun and share adventure. In summer we do something for Peppers only, where we usually take advantage of the weather.

On Friday night we had our annual “Winter Social” party, enjoyed by Peppers, strategic partners and their guests. These are almost always indoor events and this year we went to the Emporium Arcade Bar in the city. If you haven’t been, they have pool tables, foosball, air hockey, bowling machines and a couple of walls lined with pinball machines. With a giant bucket of tokens we let the games begin!

One of our core values is Work And Play With Passion—and we like to play hard. It builds trust and lets us hone our competitive spirit, which comes in handy when we build market share for our clients.

To say that we have some competitive folks is most easily illustrated by the amount of times we talked back at the machines and exchanged good-natured trash talk. The legends grew throughout the night and were recounted through hazy recollections on Monday morning.

Having a great culture is never taken for granted around here and we look forward to sharing our experiences and best practices with other companies. Recruiting and retaining great teammates has never been more important in today’s business climate. As we rise out of the recession, employees are becoming less afraid to venture out in search of new opportunities.

Over the years, Pepper Group has helped many clients with how they communicate with their employees through newsletters, internal signage, meeting support, retrospective videos, etc. Many times we create impactful messaging that helps a company project what a great place it is to work to attract the attention of future teammates.

With baby boomers moving out of the workplace and technology positions being the hardest to fill, the talent war is upon us. Is your company, or someone you know, challenged with attracting and retaining the best and the brightest?

If so, please contact us. We’re ready to share best practices and provide great communication tools that can help. We’re focused on success and always provide support that is targeted and very cost-effective in ROI.

Here’s to your success in having a great team and outstanding performance!


“The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.”
—Lee Iacocca

“When you’re a part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they’d do the same for you.”
—Yogi Berra


Client Spotlight: MW Industries and Hyperco

Hyperco is the leader in the development and optimization of standard and custom suspension components for motorsports. The company improves performance on track after track. Hyperco is in motor racing to win, and with more major wins in more major championships (their parts have been on every Indy 500 winning car since 1965), they’re proving it.

The Performance Racing Industry tradeshow was a great opportunity to remind audiences that Hyperco continuously redefines and pushes the limits of machines, engines and complex assemblies. Pepper Group developed a high-impact video that reinforces the fact that Hyperco’s most important race they’re in is the one their client is in. The video drew visitors to the booth and kept them entertained while they waited to talk with key Hyperco personnel: Bill Marcum, CEO; Kelly Falls, VP of Motorsports and Performance Aftermarket Products; and Greg Hazard, Carbon Composite Specialist.

Hyperco is part of MW Industries, the largest and most diversified U.S. specialty spring and fastener manufacturer. MW is a family of integrated companies sharing knowledge, technology and resources that is built on innovation, engineering excellence and value.

To learn more about the MW Industries family and Hyperco visit

Where Content Programs Fail … And the Solution

The latest 2015 statistics are out from the Content Marketing Institute. The survey shows that B2B companies are investing an average of 28% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, and that 55% plan to increase these investments in the next 12 months.

It’s a pretty solid endorsement of content marketing as a strategy. However, the top two challenges continue to dog the respondents year after year. More than half of companies reported these two challenges as very significant—producing engaging content and producing content consistently.

These have been the biggest challenges since content marketing began growing in popularity five years ago. And they’re getting more difficult to overcome. The first challenge is the result of a content overload that’s overwhelming human capacity to consume it. Generating engagement gets harder when the competing noise is growing exponentially. Our answer to that is specificity and novelty. Specificity means creating content for a defined audience or people looking to solve a specific problem. And novelty means adding creativity. In other words, developing content or creating formats that are new and interesting. In a crowded environment, creativity is more important than ever. You’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” Well we now say that content is critical, but creativity is the new king.

The other perennial challenge is producing enough content on a consistent basis. This is huge. And putting content production in the hands of key executives almost never works. They have urgent and important issues to deal with, and sitting down to write a white paper or blog post gets pushed down the priority list. And it stays there. That’s why companies like Pepper Group exist. First, we can help create new content via a short interview or our own research. And secondly, we can repurpose this content into new, specific and novel formats to not only get noticed, but vastly extend its life.

To help support this, we’ve created what we call the Pepper Group Content Matrix. It is a unique and proprietary tool that helps us and our clients find multiple combinations of content type, format and distribution method. Keep in mind the difference. For example, a content type could be a customer success story, education on a specific topic, a tip or a shortcut, or industry survey results. Formats can include a brief article, video, infographic or slide deck. And finally, distribution methods include social posts, direct email, a press release or sponsored posts.

For example, let’s say you have a customer success story. In addition to it living as a write-up in the form of a PDF and posted on your website, it can also be repurposed into a short video, infographic and slide deck. It can be distributed as an email, sponsored post, press release or shared on social platforms. In short, you don’t always have to create new content. Our Content Matrix shows how any one of 16 types of content we’ve identified can be repurposed into 16 formats and then distributed over 16 channels. That’s more than 4,000 combinations. It’s helped us solve the biggest challenges companies face in a smart, effective and creative way.

Are you struggling to create engaging content on a consistent basis? Are you creating new content and using it just once? Ask yourself if you could do a better job with your content marketing. If the answer is yes, then send me an email or give me a call. We’ll review our Content Matrix together and identify key opportunities to help you succeed.

George Couris

Double Take: Caveat emptor like never before

Perhaps you’ve heard the true story of how a man walked into Nordstrom to return a set of tires—and they gave him a refund. Or how a Nordstrom employee drove to an airport to track down a customer who inadvertently left their bags at the store.

Nordstrom’s customer service is legendary, and delivering exceptional service is a business essential, especially since customers have the power to instantly Yelp, Tweet, post and share their experiences. But now, businesses also have the power to rate us.

Join Joe and Sharla as we talk about how we feel about getting rated as customers.

YouTubin’: Zeppelin!

I’m always keeping an eye out for feelgood videos and this one came to me courtesy of my wife, Kathy. It’s a rehearsal recording made by a group of 7- to 12-year-old students from the Louisville, Kentucky area who perform in a non-profit ensemble called the Louisville Leopard Percussionists. The ensemble’s vision is for participants of diverse backgrounds to develop music appreciation, performance skills and proficiency on a variety of percussion instruments. They also learn to improvise, compose and teach music, and to care for their instruments. These skills build creativity and self-confidence and teach life-long values of personal discipline, cooperation, leadership, responsibility and community.

When you combine that wonderful vision with a medley of tremendous Led Zeppelin songs, you have a truly magical treat. I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw it and hope you have the same reaction.

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood