PepperMill September 2017

Tim’s Givin’ Props

Last month, I wrote about people-watching. Today, people are still on my mind.

But this time, I’m thinking about a few of the special people I’ve met who are working hard to change the world. I feel truly blessed to meet so many extraordinary individuals, learn about their passions inside and outside their careers, and collaborate with them to achieve great things.

Emily Garrity has dedicated her professional life to finding jobs for veterans. She has headed up ConnectVets since 2007. “Transitioning Today’s Military to Tomorrow’s Workforce” is their tagline and whatever it takes, Emily makes the flywheel turn. Nobody’s more connected and better understands how we can all make sure our vets are gainfully employed.

John Jaeger is a professional benefits consultant at OneDigital, and he’s also a great humanitarian. On behalf of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, John has pledged to run 50 marathons in 50 states in an effort to raise $250,000. What a commitment! He’s on #15 or #16 now and has raised well over $50,000 already.

Debbie Ferruzzi is the president of Cause-Based Consulting and Founder of Humanity Rising—a nonprofit organization that inspires and empowers students to make a positive difference in the world, and awards scholarships for outstanding service. It’s a great concept that has inspired incredible outcomes.

These are some of the fascinating people I’ve encountered. I’m sure you’ve come across others. If you’d like to share someone’s unique story, I would be happy to include them in the next PepperMill. Come on, take a minute and jot down a paragraph about someone we should all know and send it off to me.

Every day, every step, every person, every opportunity, every experience—let’s give the special people we know the recognition they deserve.

Tim Padgett

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released.
—Jean Houston

Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good; try to use ordinary situations.
—Jean Paul Richter

Client Spotlight: Challenger Lighting Website

When long-time client, Challenger Lighting, met with us to discuss a new website, it became apparent that this was more than just an update to the site we’d created for them 5 years before.

We soon discovered the need for a deep dive into their target audiences to ensure the newly developed website was both visually appealing and functional, so end-users were both inspired and impressed by Challenger’s work.

Pepper Group performed extensive research into top competitors, as well as target audiences, to develop a better understanding of how to target messaging to each—designers, purchasing agents and reps. After many interviews, we gathered key insights about Challenger Lighting and the industry that allowed us to properly tailor the new brand messaging.

Once the messaging was established, we finalized a strategic site approach that would offer a user-friendly experience. The main focus was to inspire their customers to think outside the box and to be confident that Challenger could fulfill their needs—no matter what that desire may be. That translated into the overall messaging on the website, as well as the visuals, especially the “kaleidoscope-effect” header graphics on the homepage.

The website offers many new customer-centric features, including a visual wish list, simple request-a-quote form, detailed product finder and a full site search for easy navigation. It also allows for simple updates to showcase their newest products and expand on Challenger’s ever-growing portfolio, which helps to continue inspiring designers and give purchasing reps confidence in the company’s capabilities.

Since launching the site, Challenger Lighting has already seen a steady increase in leads and better navigation throughout the site. Pepper Group and Challenger Lighting will continue to work together to develop materials that complement the new brand look and feel, and expand on the new messaging into more effective sales tools.

See how Challenger is the master of light on their new website!

This looks SO great! This is really going to change the face of Challenger!
—- Robyn Proctor, Marketing Manager, Challenger Lighting

Amanda Zindel


One Easy Way to Increase Employee Engagement

According to Gallup, engaged workgroups are 18% more productive, 37% less prone to absenteeism, 2.6 times faster-growing and 16% more profitable! They’re happier too. Who doesn’t want that?

There are many components to increasing engagement. But what if you could identify one that could create a significant impact, and it’s easy to implement? There is such a solution—it’s giving your people opportunities to get involved in your community through an employee volunteering program.

Of employees surveyed in the Cone Cause Evolution Study, 76% want their company to provide information about volunteer opportunities outside of work and 74% of people say volunteering improves their job satisfaction. Deloitte’s recent survey identified that 92% of recent graduates say that social impact is a priority when choosing an employer. Plus, 77% of millennials already volunteer on their own. Finally, employees who participate in volunteering activities with their fellow employees are two times more likely to rate their company culture as “very positive” than those who don’t (56% vs. 28%).

Community volunteering builds relationships between coworkers. It builds a sense of pride. And it’s just a good thing to do. Most companies that we’ve spoken to want to do more in this area, but are unable to implement a top-notch program on their own.

That’s where Teer1 comes in. After years of researching the best of the best, we’ve developed this turnkey system, complete with support and software, to make employee volunteering easier, more fun and more effective. It creates a self-perpetuating program where employees can find and sign up for events, collaborate and celebrate successes, and share their own personal volunteering activities. It’s designed to deliver maximum impact with minimal time and resources required.

If you’re looking to improve engagement while creating powerful benefits for your employees, your community and your business, give us a call to learn more about Teer1.

George Couris

Top 5 Historic NFL Logos From the Creative Suite

Everyone has an opinion about a logo. With the start of a new NFL season I started thinking about the NFL and the cool logos that have been replaced with generic or expected logos. The reasoning behind some of the changes is understandable, but others leave you scratching your head. Some of the classic logos are a little rough around the edges, but that’s what gives them character.



This is one of the logos that has changed the least since its inception in 1960. Originally, it was just the raider head and swords behind a football. Simple and cool, their helmets were all black which was very intimidating, just like the logo. The words “The Oakland Raiders” and the shield appeared in 1963 and the logo has virtually remained unchanged since. To me, the addition of the name and shield take away from the simplicity of the original, though the modern logo is very well liked by fans. Raiders logo history



The New York Jets have always had a simple logo. There are two different classic logos that I think outshine the modern dull logo. Their original logo from 1963 actually contains a jet airplane! The second logo used from 1978 to 1996 also references a jet. The Jets have a cool name, but the new logo loses the reference to aviation and is just too "plane." Jets logo history



The classic Patriots logo is still seen everywhere because it’s just cool. Who wouldn’t love a red white and blue soldier ready to hike the ball and hit someone. Their new logo isn’t bad, but it lacks the character and history of the original. Like many of these classic logos, it’s still used by many fans. Patriots logo history



I don’t dislike the new Broncos logo, but it’s just so typical and expected. In the team’s defense, their original logo from the 60s was a little too cartoony, but that changed in 1970. The large letter “D” with a snorting Bronco in the center is classic. Broncos logo history



The Buccaneers have another modern logo that I don’t dislike, but again, it lacks the character their original logo had in 1976—the Buccaneer with a large feather and a knife in his mouth winking at you. How could you go wrong with that? It’s very romanticized in contrast to their modern logo which is just a pirate flag. Buccaneers logo history

Do you have a favorite classic NFL team logo? Is it the color, imagery or overall design that works for you? Let me know at and I’ll write a follow-up post that showcases the retro logos that score the most touchdowns with PepperMill readers.  

Joe Whittington


360° video: Zoo Visit

Who doesn’t love an impromptu visit to the zoo? Last Saturday, I packed up my 11-year-old nephew and brought him down to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I’m basically an over-sized kid myself, so we spent the day making (friendly) faces at mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, and other humans.

The zoo can be a limiting environment for filming animals in 360° (because climbing into the exhibits is typically frowned upon), so these clips are focussed on the front half of the 360 sphere. Every once in a while though, you may want to spin the video around and see the reactions of the human animals enjoying themselves.

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.

Todd Underwood