PepperMill September 2016

Tim’s Got Questions

It was the late Irv Kupcinet who coined the term, “The lively art of conversation.” Irv was a radio and TV personality and interviewed not only Chicago’s legends, but people in the national spotlight and interesting individuals from all over the world.

His format of choice was the roundtable. Irv had a knack for inciting stimulating thoughts and opinions by inviting diverse guests. His “curiosity of everything” led to combining actors, politicians, political activists and scientists—at the same table.

As we become more and more stimulated by social and on-demand media, I fear we’re losing the lively art of conversation. While the family dinner table is good for daily updates and such (if the TV isn’t on), are we doing our part in stimulating the dialog with some good questions?

Several friends have used the family dinner table to engage the kids with simple, but direct questions. If you ask a normal 12-year old how their day was, you’re likely to get an “OK.” But if you ask them, “What was the best and worst things that happened today?” it becomes easier to share. In fact, it becomes a great ritual to do every night. It’s a cool way to keep a pulse on what’s important to them, as well. As a bonus, the parents get a chance to share with the kids what’s happening in their world and how they deal with success and adversity.

With an adult dinner party, you can guide the conversation with a few thought-provoking questions. If you find yourself stuck (avoid politics and religion), and need some ideas on good questions to ask, I would suggest you subscribe to and borrow a few.

For those who haven’t been exposed to Quora yet, it’s a repository of questions and answers (think Wikipedia, but with ponderings, experience shares and opinions) that you can customize based on your areas of interest. Once you register, you’ll get a daily selection of interesting questions that were asked and answered.

I just went to Quora and found this question: If you were on your deathbed and given the chance to listen to one last song, what would it be? And this one: What one thing do you wish you had known about life when you were in your 20s? There is quite a following on this site and oftentimes experts respond to the more technical inquiries, or nationally known thought leaders will respond.

Schedule a dinner party with some interesting folks, open a few bottles of wine and revive the lively art of conversation. Feed that curiosity.

Tim Padgett

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
—Dorothy Parker

“Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know.”
—Cullen Hightower

“No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.”
—Fran Lebowitz


Through The Eyes of a Rookie: Pride in Craft and Service

Your approach in understanding the value you bring to the table each and every day plays a vivid role in determining not only the course of the day in front of you, but inevitably, your future.

I’ve come to learn in my seemingly wise twenty-two years, that your life and work are deeply affected by your approach into each and every day. Being in the professional world for nearly three months (please, hold your applause), I’ve also come to learn that some days are better than others, but it’s how you approach these days that begin to build the outcome.

In my last article, I wrote about the parallel between passion and purpose—now I want to dig even deeper and build the thought that through having a humble confidence in yourself, you begin to have pride in what you produce on a daily basis.

At Pepper Group, our third core value is Pride in Craft and Service, and there is a lot of power behind those words. Again, I have only been around this world for a short time, but having pride in what you do, stems from the foundation of a modest assurance built within yourself. Being in the space of communications, as a team, we must believe in what we are creating. Especially in the subjective field we work in, where two of the three options we design will die because of someone’s preference. Yes, this is the nature of the beast we work within, but believing in what we have created is half the battle.

I love football and love the quote, “leave it all on the field.” That’s what all of us want to do every day. To believe in what we do and be inspired to the point where we know we gave it all we had. I’m not sure, but maybe it starts within?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions and comments! Please e-mail me!   

Corey Garrity

Client Spotlight: Swift Prepaid Solutions

Global. Speed. Efficiency. Choice.

These are all words that differentiate Swift Prepaid Solutions from their competitors. After collaborating with Pepper Group to refine their market approach, it was time for a website that would showcase Swift as the leader in global, real-time prepaid payment solutions.
The goal was to create a look that would capture the brand while communicating a modern and global feel. At the same time, we wanted to simplify the user experience, making it easier for visitors to understand Swift’s advanced product solutions, technology tools and industry expertise.
We designed a unique approach for presenting Swift’s key differentiators in an eye-catching and engaging way, right on their homepage. We also added the ability to incorporate a number of high-impact animated videos—also created by Pepper Group—to demonstrate who Swift is and what they do.
You can check out the site here!
If you need to better communicate your value through your website, give us a call. At Pepper Group, we can help you define what makes you stand out and deliver a new way to communicate this to your target audiences.

Novelty Multiplier Example #1: Video Brochure

A Novelty Multiplier is something that’s so novel and cool, it often gets a “Hey Joe!” reaction, as in “Hey Joe, come here and look at this!”

This example takes the form of a powerful video mailer we created for Cintas. The recipient opens the package, and finds what looks like an ordinary brochure. But when they open it, a sleek, high-resolution video about The Power of the Uniform automatically plays.

It’s a format that creates added interest and intrigue, and often gets shared. Does it work? You bet. Cintas used this one to generate valuable meetings with some major VIPs.

This is just one of dozens of creative programs we can implement to help you win. Our goal is that you’ll soon say, “Hey Joe, check out these results!”

Want to learn more about video brochures and other ways to spice up your marketing? Let’s talk.

George Couris

Blazing Forward

Vertical videos used to be laughable and shunned. I remember laughing at my parents when they held their phone vertically to take family videos, and now I see they were ahead of the curve. Over the last few years, smartphones have become the way for people to consume information, from news to movies. Facebook and YouTube recently updated their programs to take full advantage of the vertical screen format. A few years ago, device makers highlighted their phones utilizing their widescreen compatibility. At the time, you only had to rotate the phone and get a larger, better experience. Today, the simple motion of rotating the phone has become uncool, and vertical videos are the answer.

It’s an interesting trend to research because the simple rotation of a phone is just not happening. As an avid movie watcher, I don’t mind rotating my phone for content I’m interested in. But when it comes to ads or videos on Facebook or YouTube, I can see the draw of vertical videos. Facebook has found that vertical videos boost engagement rates, more people are watching these videos with sound instead of scrolling past them. Most of the evidence points to Snapchat and their innovative way of sending images and short videos to friends and family. Vertical video ads have 9x more completed views versus traditional horizontal video ads. The bottom line is that vertical videos require less initial engagement for consumers, and the format allows the content to bring people in and have a more engaging experience while they wait in line for their coffee.

How far will this new format stretch? Will Hollywood start making vertical movies? Will we all have vertical monitors at the office? I wouldn’t bet on vertical videos taking over everything, but they’ll have their place.

Joseph Whittington