PepperMill December 2015

Tim’s Stayin’ Sharp


Last month I shared some recommendations on how to cope with the Grazing Season. How’d that work for your Thanksgiving? Many office parties and family gatherings to go!

This month, let’s focus on the brain. Our gray matter needs to be kept healthy and we can tickle it into maximum performance. Here’s a great article I found in Parade magazine titled 23 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power by Lisa Mulcahy.

Here are some of my favorite tips:

Write in Red Ink
The University of Regensburg in Germany found that the color red “binds” into our memory better than other colors. Our own Jessie Atchison, Director of Client Services, is a big red pen user and she remembers almost everything! For me, the red pen is the sword of the design instructor, copy editor and creative director—usually culminating with an “ouch” moment.

Do a Daily Meditation
Research from Wake Forest University shows that in just eight weeks, a daily mindfulness break can improve connectivity throughout the brain network in 55- to 90-year olds. Everyone can slow it down for 15 minutes a day. Turns out it will decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol within the brain, making the other 945 minutes of your day more enjoyable.

C’mon, you know you want to! Adults everywhere are rediscovering their artistic side with adult coloring books. This new trend can ease stress as well as put you in a meditative frame of mind. Of course, you’ll still have to compete with your kids for space on the fridge door.

These ideas to exercise the noggin can easily be tried. Plus, now that you know about them, wouldn’t every adult on your gift list light up with glee when they see that coloring book and 64-pack? Shopping, done. Now THAT put my mind to rest!

The Hap-Hap-Happiest Holidays to you and yours!

Tim Padgett

“If little else, the brain is an educational toy.”
—Tom Robbins

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”
—Woodrow Wilson

“The human brain is unique in that it is the only container of which it can be said that the more you put into it, the more it will hold.”
—Glenn Doman


Sogeti Global SMART WorkSpace

The workplace is transforming as people work from multiple devices, anywhere and everywhere. Sogeti, a global IT consulting firm, needed a worldwide sales campaign to support its digital transformation solution, SMART WorkSpace™. We developed an overview video, PowerPoint presentation, sales collateral, digital ads and emails that communicate Sogeti’s comprehensive digital workplace transformation capabilities.

Using simple, memorable animation, the video makes it easy to understand the dramatic shift in the way people work. It creates urgency about keeping up with today’s workforce, and positions Sogeti as a leader that takes business to the next level.

The PowerPoint includes the video, and continues the graphic look and messaging. It includes a compelling infographic with key data points about Sogeti’s strength. A sell sheet conveniently recaps Sogeti’s SMART WorkSpace capabilities for prospects.

Digital ads further raise awareness, and an email campaign lets the sales team bring the conversation to a personal level to generate new leads.

With this extensive campaign, Sogeti can now clearly and effectively communicate the SMART WorkSpace story to grow its business.

“Michelle and I just reviewed the video. We love it … and the PowerPoint presentation looks beautiful. I can’t wait to start using it and sharing it with our sales execs.”
—Darren Baker, Sogeti Global SMART WorkSpace Lead

3 Things You Might Be Missing in Your 2016 Marketing Plan

As you head into next year, see if you have good answers to these three important questions on areas that many marketers overlook.

Are you re-purposing enough content?

According to MarketingProfs, the #1 marketing challenge is producing engaging content. So instead of creating original content every time, repurpose more often. For example, let’s say you have a customer success story (a type of content). You might make it into a one-page PDF, but that same content can also take other forms including a video, infographic, short testimonials, a slide deck, etc. Plus, it can be distributed on multiple platforms. We have a solution, and if you’re interested we’ll show you our Content Matrix™. It’s a great tool to help you identify 16 types of content, and then decide how to repurpose each into 16 formats and then distribute each over 16 channels—more than 4,000 combinations. It’s a tremendous way to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of your content efforts.

Are you marketing to employees and recruits?

CEOs agree that the #1 priority is attracting and retaining top talent. Why? It’s the most important source of competitive advantage today! Marketing to employees and prospective employees requires the same skill set as marketing to customers and prospective customers, and both are strategically important to the business and its success. Smart companies know this and HR and Marketing combine their skills. This can include things like identifying and communicating core values, positioning the company as a great place to work, enhancing internal communications, driving community outreach and creating powerful marketing tools to showcase the great career opportunities at your company. It also includes making sure that your offices and physical environments reinforce, support and enhance your internal brand and positioning. Look around. Do they?

Are your value propositions on target?

Sometimes what might make perfect sense to you as an expert doesn’t translate to others. In Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath call this The Curse of Knowledge. Think about your prospects. Do they truly understand the value you can deliver when they see your marketing? Moreover, is your marketing differentiating you or is it all pretty generic? Perhaps you can replace your logo with your competitor’s logo and it would still make sense. If so, you might need to consider refining your messages and finding your voice. Lastly, think about what your employees would say about your offering. Do they know your company’s real value and how to articulate it, or will they each say something different?

If you’ve got these three areas 100% nailed, way to go! If not, give us a call and we’ll help you get there.

Happy Holidays, and here’s to a successful 2016!

George Couris

Double Take: ‘Tis the Season to Shop Online

If you’re like many people, you’ve gone mobile this holiday season. You didn’t shop ‘till you dropped. You clicked for a few minutes, then went back to whatever else you were doing.

In-store traffic was down. Mobile sales were up. Technology is changing the way we give gifts, and even has the power to obliterate traditional shopping days.

Join Joe and Sharla as they share their perspectives on the impact of technology on their holiday season so far.

YouTubin’: Projecting Music

This month I’m thrilled to share a video that we watched during our last TED Tuesday gathering at Pepper Group. As both an A/V guy and an eclectic music aficionado, this new video featuring Kaki King simply blew me away. King has been playing guitar since the age of four and has been named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of “The New Guitar Gods.”

Her unique playing style is captivating enough, but on her latest album and tour, she’s teamed up with a visual experience company Glowing Pictures to present a multi-media production using the guitar as a projection screen! When combined with the large overhead screen at the TED venue, this technique really enhances the stories spun by her songs. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Hungry for more of Kaki King? Check out her YouTube channel, and then go see her live at Chicago's City Winery on Tuesday, January 19!

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

Todd Underwood