PepperMill July 2017
After years of helping other companies with their trade show initiatives, we recently had a chance to exhibit ourselves. It was enlightening, to say the least.
As most of you know, we have another company called Kinexxia. Kinexxia’s mission is to create tools and methodologies to help companies build strong cultures and strengthen employee/management communication. Our premier product is Teer1, an employee volunteering platform and methodology, and we wanted to make some noise.
I attended the SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Annual Conference last year as an attendee. I was scouting to see if it might be the place to exhibit Teer1. The trade show portion is huge, with more than 200 booths and nearly 17,000 HR professionals attending. We decided to take Teer1 to the masses!
We had a modest 10x10 booth, but it was nicely situated on a busy aisle. Our lure was literally a secret sauce—a small bottle (less than 3 oz. so it could fly home with attendees) of hot sauce. You’d have thought we were giving away liquid gold. An immediate big fear was that we would run out of our 500 bottles too quickly. With sneaky tactics, we were able to sufficiently hide the sauce from the “trolls” to still have a few bottles left as the show closed.
What did we learn? That what we have is superior to other solutions. The feedback was overwhelming. We are on to something with a different twist than competitors. Whew! The other major revelation is that we needed to get very aggressive in the middle market (200-1,000 employees), where they were hungry for a plug-and-play solution. Bigger companies tended to think they already had a good solution (when we pressed, we found otherwise, but perception is reality … ). The middle market appreciates a good solution at a modest investment level, that genuinely helps them compete in other ways than throwing money at recruits.
We didn’t have fancy digs, nor did we have contests or expensive giveaways. Our concept was the star and people were hungry for ways to attract and retain talent like never before.
Under the “you never know who you might run into at a trade show” column was a close encounter with an old friend. I hadn’t seen Carrie in nearly 40 years from my days at NIU. When she saw my card on the table, she asked George, “Padgett—did he go to Northern?” Next thing I know, we were talking about a certain road trip we took from DeKalb to Chicago. Like the Blues Brothers, we were on a mission that night, but that’s another story. Such a wonderful surprise to top off a great trade show!
Our goal was to glean 200 qualified leads. Not counting the numerous people who took a brochure (or snuck a hot sauce when we weren’t looking), we had nearly 400 leads by the close of the show! Mission accomplished, but now it’s time to close them.
If there is a call to action here, I would highly encourage you to participate in trade shows more often. There is nothing like having all those prospects in one place, taking advantage of their pride in their craft, and creating more awareness for your uniqueness. Attendees are sincerely looking for new and exciting ways to succeed. Be there for them!
“True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it’s about encouraging communication”
“Anything that is of value in life only multiplies when it is given.”
The Science of Delicious
In early 2017, we sat down with Edlong to redefine the company’s positioning in the food and beverage industry. The new tagline, The Scientific Art of Authentic Taste, communicates Edlong’s broad capabilities as the experts in dairy flavor technology. It was especially important for their customers to understand that Edlong excels at flavor science by developing unique dairy flavors, and artfully combines optimal ingredients to create innovative products for foods and beverages.
The first execution of the new tagline and brand image is seen through the eyes of food and beverage publication subscribers. The bold and striking new ad campaign features culinary-inspired, indulgent applications and communicates that the company balances science and art to create authentic taste.
Next, we brought the ad campaign to life for Edlong’s new booth at their industry’s biggest trade show, IFT17 in Las Vegas. The overall theme was The Science of Delicious, with sub-messages of indulgence, dairy-free, sweet and simplicity. The booth also featured an Authenticity Alcove, where Edlong experts hosted technical seminars on trending topics and demonstrated unique flavor tools.
To help Edlong further engage with its audience, we developed new sales collateral, demo cards and table tents to ensure customers and prospects walked away with valuable information about the company, and the unique concepts they tasted.
Throughout the show, the booth was full of visitors—in the Authenticity Alcove, tasting the front counter grazer item, taking selfies with the Edlong Snapchat filter and participating in sit-down meetings with the Edlong employees. Many visitors commented on the new booth’s striking appearance. Those who couldn’t attend engaged with the company on Facebook live, where they could watch many of Edlong’s presentations.
Should you copyright your whitepaper? Can you get a trademark on your brand? Can you patent your unique system? What are the differences?
If you’ve ever wondered about how to protect your intellectual property (IP), here’s a quick overview along with helpful links for more information.
Copyright protects original works of authorship that exist in a tangible form (i.e. not that song that came to you in a dream—unless you wrote it down). Copyright covers writing, music, art, architecture and computer software. Even your photo of your amazing Elvis sighting can be protected! See copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html to learn more.
In fact, what you’re reading now is copyrighted material. But how did I copyright it? Easy. I wrote it. Copyright is the simplest of all the legal protections because it is automatic. In fact, it protects both published and unpublished works. Official registration is voluntary but rarely necessary.
Trademarks are quite different. Trademarks protect brand names, logos, taglines, distinguishing designs and special symbols. Registering a trademark notifies the public of your claim and gives you legal rights to it within your product or service area.
Before registration or while a registration is pending, use the TM or SM designation to stake your claim, so to speak. Of course, you’ll want to perform a trademark search first to be sure you’re not the one infringing! Then, after the registration is official, you’re able to use the Registered Trademark, or ®, symbol to protect it. More information can be found at uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/doc/basic/.
Patents protect inventions and discoveries. In some cases, they can protect a process as well. They can also protect improvements to something that already exists. Overall, the patent process is more involved and expensive and typically requires the services of a patent attorney. The benefits, however, of nailing a patent on something useful and marketable can be tremendous. The best source of information about patents is uspto.gov/main/patents.htm.
If you have questions about IP law, just let us know. We have created thousands of names, symbols, logos, taglines, software applications, videos, websites, collateral and other tools, and can refer you to resources that can get you the answers you need and help you through the legal process.
As a designer, I’m always looking for inspiration. Since I have the internet in my pocket and now, on my wrist, I always have resources close by. Here are some of my favorite sites that might also spark your creativity.
This is the creative social network associated with Adobe, the company that provides the programs I use every day. All users can set up a profile and upload their projects to show off. I like knowing what other people are thinking about in my area or around the world. It’s interesting to see trends change from place to place.
Many people use this social network to share creative ideas. I use it to find trends outside the design world. I look at everything, from architecture to cupcakes. You never know where inspiration comes from, so this is a nice resource to help you think outside the box.
This is the design-specific version of Pinterest. They bill themselves as a high-level provider of great design inspiration. Some of the stuff is out there and really cool. Some of it makes sense, and some of it doesn’t. The best feature of this site is that you can search for ideas using color! For me it’s a great way to search for stuff based on my mood, or the mood I want my project to have.
Creative Market Blog [https://creativemarket.com/blog]
This one is completely different than the previous three, it’s a regular blog that focuses on design and trends in design, as well as business and how to improve your day-to-day processes. It’s a great resource for me because the posts are short and sweet (they also have pictures!).
Today, a large part of design is movement and user experience. Awwwards.com is an amazing resource to see what other people are doing not only with design but also with functionality. The best part is, industry professionals rate the different projects and pick the top ones! I could spend hours on this site seeing what’s possible with modern technology and design.
We've had more than our fair share of nice weekends here in the Chicago area this year, and I've taken advantage of several of those to go kayaking at the Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake, Illinois. This community resource is built upon a reclaimed quarry and is carefully protected to keep its waters pristine. On one recent trip, I brought along our favorite 360 camera and captured some of the breathtaking scenery. With little wind, we were easily able to see the terrain 30' under the water!
Part of the fun in watching a 360 video is going back and rewatching from different angles. In this video, you may be able to see a large bass hanging out next to my boat at the beginning, and a mother duck with her ducklings hurrying out of the water near the end. Have fun viewing!
Playback of 360 videos is most immersive if you have some form of a Google Cardboard viewer and can open the video in the YouTube app on your smartphone (email me if you don’t have a viewer and I will send you one). You can still have a lot of fun without one though by making the video full-screen in your Chrome browser and clicking and dragging with your mouse to explore.
Did we spark any ideas about how to involve 360 in your business? Reach out and we’d love to talk with you about it!
Want more? Check out our Pepper Group holiday 360 offering.