PepperMill October 2015

Tim’s Nuggets


Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the 1st Annual Chicago Culture Leadership Summit. It was a great day of learning about how to take our companies to the next level of engagement and the resulting success. Thanks to all of our friends who showed up and laughed at my bad jokes and to Peppers Amanda, Ann and Kris for helping out with the arrangements and manning our sponsor table.

I was getting goose bumps while listening to some of the inspirational stories of leading change in progressive organizations, big and small.

I’d like to share some nuggets that I picked up from the variety of speakers who graced the stage.

“We are imperfect people … in dysfunctional organizations … using flawed processes … working hard to achieve superior results.”
—Jim Connolly, OrgEx

“When it comes to ‘change,’ appreciate the impact of everything you do.”
—Brian Kedzior, BMO Harris Bank

“Culture transformation relies on leadership transformation.”
—Jennifer Blades, AvMed

One of the common themes was that you have to “nourish the grapevine.” You can’t act like it doesn’t exist, or that you can’t do anything about it. You can and must.

Perfectly clear was the need for attention to, and improvement of, cultural dynamics in the workplace, regardless of the business type. With the escalating talent wars before us, what is your company doing to strengthen the employee experience and attract top talent?

My presentation was how communication is key to a lot of culture issues. If you’d like a peek at it, just let me know. Shall I bring some hot sauce?

Tim Padgett


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new.”

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
—Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Client Spotlight: TDI PACKSYS

As a provider of premier packaging, packaging automation and inspection systems, TDI PACKSYS focuses on providing their clients the highest quality products at the lowest cost. TDI PACKSYS understands that food processors not only need to worry about managing costs, but they also need to be able to rely on products that will maximize performance and ensure the safety of their consumers. TDI PACKSYS takes a consultative approach to each client and works to engineer the best solution for their needs.

After experiencing years of success in their industry as a division of TDI Global, TDI PACKSYS knew it was time to branch out and form their own company. So, when TDI PACKSYS decided they would be attending PACK EXPO this year, they knew they had to make a splash! They looked to Pepper Group to create an approach that would introduce their company at the show and generate interest. 

In the time leading up to the show, Pepper Group worked with TDI PACKSYS to develop a campaign that would draw attendees to their booth. We devised a contest and designed a mailer that highlighted multiple TDI PACKSYS capabilities, while getting attendees interested to learn more about TDI PACKSYS. Through this mailer, recipients were given a pouch of dog food and encouraged to bring it to the booth to be scanned by one of TDI’s premier x-ray machines. If the machine found a glass bead in their pouch they were awarded an Apple Watch. Pre-show emails also encouraged attendees to make an appointment to visit the booth. Through this approach, recipients not only saw the machines at the show, but they were encouraged to interact with them.

In addition, Pepper Group developed a message and graphics for the booth that would attract attention and make them stand out amongst their competitors. This included a large hanging sign featuring TDI’s logo and service offerings and an engaging presentation that played on a monitor as attendees passed by the booth. Beyond an attractive display, we made sure the TDI PACKSYS team was equipped with the materials they needed to sell the products—including updated brochures and product cards to reflect their new brand.

Through our collaborative efforts, TDI PACKSYS was able to launch their new company at PACK EXPO as a premier packaging and inspection solutions provider. They made important connections with prospects and will be capitalizing on those connections in the coming weeks.

Next up: Pepper Group is helping create a new online presence for the company at

If your company is looking to launch a campaign for an upcoming trade show or event, give us a call.

“The show was amazing. Many people were stunned by our booth. It definitely created a lot of legitimacy for TDI PACKSYS in the packaging world, with some very large customers, which was my main objective.”

Is Time Accelerating?

Is it October already?

Why is it that time seems to accelerate every year? I have a new idea, and if I’m right, there’s something you can do about it. And it even ties into marketing.

The leading explanation is that every year is less of a percentage of your total life. For example, when you’re 5 years old, a year is a fifth of your entire life. At 15, it’s one fifteenth. By the time you’re 50, it’s a mere one fiftieth of your life. No wonder it goes by increasingly quickly!

But I think there’s something else at work too. I recently went on a trip where for 10 days I saw and did things every day that I’d never seen or done before. Those 10 days seemed disproportionately bigger than any regular 10-day stretch. Think about your last vacation. Sure, it went by “too fast,” but if you compare it to any common stretch of time, those days do seem more significant, don’t they?

I submit that it’s because of the novelty. To a 5-year-old, everything is still pretty new and there is so much he hasn’t seen or done. So in addition to a year being a huge proportion of his entire life, nearly every day brings something new. As we get older, we gain experience, we form habits and we become wiser. As a result, there is less and less that’s new to us. We’ve seen it before and we’ve thought it before. And then we find ourselves in October wondering “where did the year go?”

This is about as much of a first-world problem as it gets, but as long as you have the opportunity, why not add a little more novelty? Go for a walk somewhere you’re never been. Try new routes to places you often go. Think of new ways to approach situations. Volunteer and gain new experiences. Reframe topics and look at them from a different perspective. Try things you’ve never tried before. Read things you normally wouldn’t read. Break out of routines. In short, try to make every day a little more significant.

We always want to tie this article to marketing, so what’s the connection? Like you, your target customers also are continually gaining experience, habits and wisdom. They’ve seen a lot of marketing initiatives aimed at gaining their business. Every day they see more of the same. And if your marketing is similar to what they’ve seen before, it will fly right by with everything else. But if it’s a new perspective, a new approach, a new experience or something else that’s out of the ordinary, it will be more significant. It will be more meaningful. And it will be more memorable. Try something novel in your marketing. It will not only likely be more effective, but it will also be more fun! 

George Couris

Double Take: Trust me! No, Trust me! Our Take on Political Ads

Do you go all-out negative, or keep your theme upbeat? Maybe you go inspirational? Do you show your family, or make it all about policy? Are you left of center, right of center, or just somewhere in the very large center? The right marketing tone can make or break a political campaign.

This month Joe is joined by guest blogger Allan Woodrow. Allan is a copywriter, Creative Director and honorary part-time Pepper (and, interestingly, a children’s book novelist).

Join Joe and Allan as they debate political ads of the season, and all-time.

YouTubin’: Nighthawks

It’s been an (undisclosed) number of years since I last took an art appreciation class, and stumbling upon this video yesterday made me really long for more. Clicking below will treat you to an in-depth exploration into one of my favorite paintings, Edward Hopper’s NighthawksThe exploration is artfully done by Evan Puschak, a young man who has been making YouTube videos under the moniker of “The Nerdwriter” since 2011. Evan produces similar videos each week, in a web series that aims to cultivate worldview. 

I’ve always been one of those people who knows what they like, but can’t always explain why they like it. Hopper’s dramatic lighting techniques are his trademark and while my own insights into the painting might have ended there, this guided tour will fill you in on so much more!

I now have lots of details to examine on my next trip to visit Nighthawks at the Art Institute of Chicago! 

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

Todd Underwood