PepperMill August 2015

Tim’s a Shill


Last month I had the privilege to pick up our third Chicago’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies To Work For award.

While I am an instigator of fun now and then, the truth is that everyone on our team made that award happen. It’s interesting, stimulating and plain goofy to be a Pepper—and we never take that for granted. It’s a sport relegated to the curious, adventurous and brave.

It was a chance meeting ( … or was it?) just over three years ago that I met Nicole Martin, founder of HR Boost, a provider of human resource services outsourcing and consulting. The company’s growing like a weed, but delivers like a rose.

Anyway, it was Nicole who first nominated us for the “101” and we never thought we could compete with the bigger applicants who had more resources to bestow on their employees. But she was confident that the things we were doing were unique enough to trump dollars. Did I say she is a fine judge of opportunity?

Today I’m proud to say that HR Boost and Pepper Group are tight collaborators, bringing services that promote great culture and smooth communications in the workplace to many diverse clients. More than ever before, the “employer brand” is a differentiator and will be a competitive advantage as each of our companies compete for talent in the future.

Nicole was nice enough to invite us to participate, as a sponsor and speaker, at her upcoming Culture Leadership Summit. It’s going to be a great event and tickets will move quickly. I’m not a shill. I’m a believer.

There are some very handsome, beautiful, witty and knowledgeable speakers—and me. I’m really not that good, but have teammates who create some great slides that will amaze and impress you. OK, now I’m a shill.

Please join us on October 1st and we’ll all learn how to truly enjoy the 8-10 hours we spend every weekday with some very special people. Invite a favorite client or bring your team. There will be treats.

Tim Padgett

“Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary.”
—Evan Esar

“Public speaking is very easy.”
—Dan Quayle



2 Platinum, 2 Gold and 1 Honorable Mention

Hermes Creative Awards announced winners for the 2015 international awards competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media and Pepper Group came out a winner again!

Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals. There were more than 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and several other countries in the 2015 competition. Entries came from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers. 

Pepper Group was recognized in the following categories:


AAGI for Integrated Marketing Campaign

Follett School Solutions for Integrated Marketing Campaign


Pepper Group for Website Overall/Corporation

Vegetable Juices, Inc. for Advertising/Ad Campaign

Honorable Mention

Edlong Dairy Technologies for Advertising/Ad Campaign

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

The Humanity of B2B Marketing—3 Great Reads

There’s a wall in our office that says “We Move People.” It’s what we love to do. We move prospects to action, we move our clients to their personal and professional goals, and we move our fellow employees to continual improvement and growth. We also take the word “move” in an emotional context. It’s a short phrase that reminds us that even though what we do is called “Business to Business Marketing,” we’re talking to individual, emotional human beings.

A recent study by CEB/Motista concluded that emotion is even more important in B2B than in B2C. Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman says that 95 percent of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind. And have you heard about the newest personal robot, coincidentally and marvelously named Pepper? It (the robot has no gender) is not for doing chores around the house. Instead, it’s focused on creating an emotional connection with humans.

If you’re interested in the humanity of B2B marketing, here are three great reads:

Quick Insights: The Marketer’s Guide to Your Customers’ Irrational Minds
In this collection, we’ve pulled together seven short and powerful nuggets. Each considers a way we think as human beings, and how we, as marketers, can use these insights to improve our effectiveness.

Research Report: From Promotion to Emotion
The CEB/Motista study mentioned above is available in a PDF summary. It shows how emotion is important for B2B customers in differentiating suppliers.

Book: Made to Stick and Switch Chip Heath/Dan Heath
Take the best ideas and research from the Tipping Point, Blink, Influence, and The Happiness Hypothesis—all great books—and combine them with fascinating behavioral psychology wisdom, concrete examples and clever insights, and you have these two highly entertaining and practical books.

In B2B, the stakes are higher. Buy the wrong shampoo and you’ll have one bad hair day. But buy the wrong enterprise software and it could impact your whole career. Credibility and trust are critical, and cultivating that emotional connection through good marketing can make the difference between getting the opportunity to have a sales conversation, and never knowing the opportunity even existed.

George Couris

Double Take: 6 Seconds to Better B2B

Smack in the middle of summer, it’s only natural that our minds wandered to vines, and fresh-picked goodness.

No, not the kind that sprouts zucchini and pole beans. We’re talking about those addictive six-second videos that when done well, have a deep, magnetic hold on your attention.

There are many different ways you can use Vines in your B2B media mix. Join Joe and Sharla as they discuss some of their favorites.

YouTubin’: Paper Town Learning

My youngest daughter’s favorite author, John Green, has just been featured in a captivating TED talk. We watched it here at Pepper Group last week for TED Tuesday, and I think it’s worthy of sharing with you too. Green is best known for his novels Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, but as you’ll see, he’s had an unusual path through the educational system. 

John is a vocal advocate for online learning videos and communities, and he does a great job in this talk of explaining why they provide a great supplement/alternative to traditional classroom learning.

Online learning environments are continuing to grow more sophisticated and more effective. Personally, I'm a huge fan of and the vast variety of topics they have available for me to learn about, both professionally and personally. I especially like that they offer a scrolling transcript of their lessons as you're playing the videos; it helps very much with my visual learning style. The fact that I can watch this content on my phone from anywhere, has made continuing education a big part of my personal growth.

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

Todd Underwood