PepperMill May 2016

Tim Likes Mail

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about the power of newsletters. Whether they are for external purposes or employees, newsletters can be a great tool to keep your audience informed and excited about what you’re doing.

In particular, I like employee newsletters. They put an end to “we’re always the last to know” comments. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to pump up the troops, make them laugh and make them proud?

They’re one of the best ways to engage employees and their support team at home. If you don’t have one, please consider starting one. While it’s certainly cheaper to send out an email newsletter, a hard copy mailed to the home is preferred. If your team is informed about what’s happening, it builds confidence and relieves fears. As leaders, we’re inclined to “think” we have all the bases covered, but we have to “share” that info with the whole organization on a regular basis.

I recently put together 30 different topics that might be included in an employee newsletter:

Lead Article (CEO or President)

HR – Benefits, Wellness, Financial Tips, etc.

Job Openings

Product News

Industry News

Awards & Achievements (employee/company)

Employee Anniversaries, Birthdays & Milestones

What I Learned (brief review of seminar, conference, trade show)

Welcome New Employees

Employee Spotlight

Thank a Colleague

Employee Survey

Family News

Kid Contest

Employee Contest

Family Pet Profile

Family Recipe

Life Hacks

Scholarship Opportunities

Community Service Projects

Photo Gallery (business or employee)

Client Testimonials & Kudos

Online Apps and Sites to (business and personal)

Employee Discounts

Cultural Review (movie, restaurant, museum, etc.)

Coming Soon / Save-the-Date

Vacation Tips

Vacation Pictures

Joke or Comic Strip

Fun Facts / Trivia (general or industry)

One of my new favorites (outfacing to prospects, clients and influencers) is from Tony Lenhart. While it’s not a company-sanctioned newsletter, it’s especially cool as Tony knew he could increase his own book of business if he put just a little extra time into a great tool. That’s initiative!

He’s a sales guru and a drummer, so he named it Sales Drummer. Tony likes to go deep with his passion for music (personal brand) and the fine art of sales (professional brand). Sections are titled: Sales Beat, Down Beat and Off Beat. As a relatively new father, his perspectives on that role are especially fun to hear.

If you’d like to see what he’s up to, please email him and he’ll put you on the list. I promise, you’ll dig it.

The older I get, the more I see communication as a key to success in all facets of life. But it takes effort, so go forth and share!

Tim Padgett

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”
—Joe Ancis

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”
—Chinese Proverb

Client Spotlight: Assurance

Assurance Makes Insurance Fun—One Selfie at a Time

Insurance is a serious topic, and Assurance works hard to make it a bit more … fun. Wait, what?!? Recently, the company decided to show how employees take its one-of-a-kind service model to heart. Assurance asked employees to submit selfie videos, explaining how their new tagline, Minimize risk. Maximize health.®, brings purpose to individual roles every day. The team answered. More than 90% of employees submitted videos, shot everywhere from the office to the ski slopes!

Pepper Group used this footage to create two new videos to tell the story. The first, for internal use, featured a playful, interactive tone. The finished video helped Assurance kick off its new annual theme at this year’s annual meeting in January.

Pepper Group helped Assurance leverage the impact of the videos further by creating an external promotional video to be shared on their website, in key areas of their offices, at events and with prospective clients. This video shows both the professionalism the company brings to the table and the joy they have in doing it. The selfies showcase the company’s client-focused efforts, and reinforce the value, safety and savings each employee provides. This interactive tool complements their current outreach with a unique message and approach. Watch it here to see how Pepper Group helped Assurance leverage its internal expertise to start the conversation with new clients.



3 Inbound Marketing Resources You Won’t Want to Miss

Could your business use more inbound leads?

To help you get there, here are three great resources courtesy of our marketing automation software partner, Act-On.

  1. Inbound Marketing 101 eBook: Do you want to draw the attention of customers and prospects and provide them a reason to come to you? Create a winning inbound marketing strategy that will pull people into a relationship with your brand rather than pushing your message onto them. Download the ebook.
  2. Chicago Marketing Masters Meetup Group: The road marketers face is long, and the challenges many. Find a way forward with the help of friends, here in this user group. Learn and share best practices, get new ideas and attend events with fellow marketers and compelling guest speakers—moderated by Pepper Group. Join the group on LinkedIn.
  3. Complimentary Half-Day Marketing Workshop: Join us on May 10 at the JW Marriott in Chicago for this hands-on event with strategies to attract, nurture and retain more high-value customers. Whether you currently use Act-On or you’re interested in learning more about marketing automation, I encourage you or someone from your team to attend this free event. Learn more and register here.

I hope you will take advantage of one or more of these free resources. Want to talk about how Pepper Group can help you improve your inbound marketing results? Send me an email at


Blazing Forward

We tend to think of technology as something that keeps us connected, moving, tracked or entertained. These surreal, oversized poppies use technology to inspire conversation. Using motion-sensor and air pressure technology, they shade and illuminate the street below when a tram or passerby arrives underneath.
The installation is called Warde, and appeared in Jerusalem’s Valero Square in 2014. The idea was “not to fight the chaos but instead try and lighten up the urban space,” according to the builder, HQ Architects.
It’s a reminder that technology can also bring people closer together, in the most unexpected places.

Sharla Davis

YouTubin’: Pinpoint Landing

Our May YouTubin’ clip is thrilling for two geeky reasons. First, it’s a 360° VR video that you can navigate during playback either by rotating your mobile device, or clicking and dragging with your mouse on a desktop device. Virtual Reality (VR) technology is all the rage right now and with the phenomenal capabilities of today’s smartphones, VR headsets are landing in the hands of consumers for as little as a few dollars. At Pepper Group, we’ve been experimenting with ways to create VR content and the possibilities are endless.

Secondly, the actual content of the video is a dramatic, closeup view of last month’s SpaceX Falcon 9 first-stage rocket landing upright on the deck of a ship in the ocean. Just in case you weren’t caught up in this when it happened on April 8, SpaceX, a privately-owned American aerospace company, launched its Dragon spacecraft on a mission to deliver critical cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. To get it there, Dragon sat on top of the Falcon 9 two-stage rocket that launched it into orbit from Cape Canaveral and made it possible for Dragon to attach to the ISS two days later. Once free of the earth’s atmosphere, Dragon separated from the Falcon 9 and the first stage of the rocket was incredibly guided back to earth towards a perfect, upright landing on the deck of their “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean!

Don't forget to move your phone around if you’re going to view this on mobile, or click and drag the footage on a desktop.

Curious about how the whole mission went? Here's a link to the entire webcast from April 8, 2016. You’ll really get a kick out of the enthusiasm of the whole crew involved in producing the video, as well as the tremendous roars from the crowds as each successful milestone was reached in the mission.

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

Todd Underwood