PepperMill May 2015

Tim’s Intoxicated


If you live in Chicago, isn’t this just the greatest time of the year? Mother Nature is an artist without peer. She will tease us with a warm March day, but once April drops its showers, she gets on a roll and it’s pure magic. Everything comes alive, literally, and brings with it a palette of inspiration.

Nature breathes life into creativity.

Not that you can’t be creative in a windowless room, but you have to work much harder at it. Spring provides the crisp air to fuel deep breathing and puts a bounce in your step. You’re more attentive and you’re noticing a rush on your senses.

And oh yes, it’s fun to watch. You know, that day when you look up and all the grass has miraculously changed from winter worn, to rich green? When we visited Ireland last September I just wasn’t prepared. I know they call it the Emerald Isle for a reason, but I’ve never experienced such a green assault on my being. It was intoxicating, but at the same time brought a calm, made us more jovial and filled our hearts with a certain richness. It’s amazing how a color can overtake you.

There are many other colors and blooms that are anxiously awaited for. The two that immediately come to mind are the cherry blossoms and the anxiously awaited bursting of the lilacs. What about tulips? When our Executive Assistant, Ann, brought in the first bounty of flowers from her garden in a stylish vase, everyone not only gave thanks, but collectively “felt” their presence change our office mood. Spring had sprung.

While fishing this weekend with friends in Michigan you spend a lot of time just staring at the shore. Buds were on every tree and homeowners were making sure flowerpots and window boxes were being attended to with every color imaginable.

While I like summer, fall and winter, it’s spring that garners the most anticipation. It’s spring that sets the tone for getting outside whenever we want, and seeing how nature stimulates our creativity with patterns and randomness at the same time. There’s a sense of all things coming together for a reason.

So, take this seasonal opportunity to feast at the table of creativity and raise a glass tonight to Mother Nature!


“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.””
—Frank Lloyd Wright

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.”
—E. B. White

“Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.”
—Lorraine Anderson


4 Websites, 3 Videos, 5 Months, 7 Awards

Graphic Design USA has recognized Pepper Group with seven 2015 American Web Design Awards in its annual contest showcasing the power of design to enhance websites and online communications.

Our agency was commended for the design of:

Creative Dining Website

Mutare Website

NVISIA Website

Pepper Group Website

AAGI Overview Video

Forward Motion Video

Pepper Group Video

This national online competition celebrates the power of well-designed websites and online communications to attract audiences, disseminate ideas and information, generate response and promote products, services and ideas. This year Graphic Design USA received more than 1,100 entries, and only a highly-selective one-in-five were recognized as winners.

Thank you to all our clients for allowing us to do such creative work!

3 Critical Questions For Any B2B Marketing Campaign

B2B marketing campaigns can take a thousand forms (and we’re inventing new ones every day), but there are some key aspects of every campaign that you need to get right for it to really make an impact.

Here are 3 of the most important questions to answer:

What does success look like?

Without a goal in mind, it’s easy to get caught up in tactics, especially in today’s increasingly complex marketing environment. The point is that you need to understand what the end looks like before you begin. Once you have a goal in mind (e.g.: double qualified leads next quarter, decrease employee turnover by 20% next year, etc.) then you have a benchmark for success and you gain perspective. By knowing what the end result is you can constantly give yourself the gut check question of “Will this help me reach my goals?”

Who are you talking to and what do they care about?

If you can answer the question: “Who does my business exist to serve and why should they care?” then you’re going to have a much better chance of success. By knowing your audience you know your market. Many times, campaigns are targeted either to “prospects” or a laundry list of demographic segments. There’s a middle ground here where your business really knows who you’re trying to reach and once you know that you can figure out how to talk to them as people.

How are you talking to them and what are you saying?

In the words of the marketing mastermind, Marshall McLuhan, “The medium is the message.” At the heart of this phrase is the fact that the way you to talk to an audience is just as important as what you’re actually saying, and you should leave your preconceived notions at the door. As for what you say, you need a solid and compelling brand promise and positioning. It’s the corporate equivalent of “be yourself.” If you don’t know who you are as a business, that’s a different problem for a future post … or maybe a phone call with Pepper Group.

While these are three critical questions, there are other foundational aspects to campaigns that we’ll touch on in the future. If you’re interested in staying on top of the latest trends and learning more about how to get impact from marketing in the B2B world, why don’t you go ahead and sign up for updates in the sidebar?

Robert Black

Double Take: Odds Are, You Won’t Finish Reading This

Are you having trouble concentrating?

Maybe it’s spring fever, thinking of the plans you’ve made for the summer, or all the things on your plate at work and at home.

The good news is you’re not alone.

Join Joe and Sharla as they discuss—for as long as they can stay focused—their double take of the creative person’s attention span.

YouTubin’: Mind Control

Where would we be without TED? This month’s YouTube video is a look at some amazing progress that’s being done in brain science and how one audience member’s brain can make another audience member’s arm move, via a simple DIY kit

Neuroscientist Greg Gage is a TED Fellow, and in this brief TED Talk, he explains in layman’s terms what’s going on in the demonstration. Even though this whole thing is kind of creepy, I find it very thought-provoking!

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

Todd Underwood