PepperMill May 2018

Tim’s Talkin’ Culture

I met Tom through the Entrepreneurs’ Organization a few years back. He founded a very successful staffing firm called LaSalle Network, which was consistently winning awards and national recognition as a great place to work. Over the years, being students of culture ourselves, at Pepper Group we took notes and followed their lead.

A few days ago, I received a link from a friend to an article, “What the Class of 2018 Wants,” based on a survey of 3,000 2018 college grads. Guess who conducted the survey—LaSalle Network! These guys are so smart.

Graduates were asked what was important to them as they entered the workforce. The results aren’t all that surprising—and certainly worth noting if you’re searching for the best and brightest to join your team.

“Growth” is at the top of the list. It’s imperative that employers structure a clear growth path that’s easy to understand and able to be achieved. Who doesn’t want that? It’s how you design and engineer a system that can set you apart from other employers that grads may be considering.

One of the things we’ve been sharing with clients is to take the martial arts approach. It takes about three years to achieve a black belt, but you have eleven belts in between white and black. Most career growth tracks have two to three years per level as you move up the ladder. Is there a way you can break the timeframe down into sub-levels of achievement, so the sense of accomplishment is more frequent?

It’s only a metaphor example, so you don’t have to actually name each level yellow belt, orange belt, etc. But can you tie it in with your branding? Can you do it across all disciplines in your business? Can you create a merit system that is easily celebrated through internal communications?

What do the newest grads want in a company? Culture. Among respondents, 64% stated that it’s the most important factor when deciding what company to work for. They want to join a vibrant community, grounded in core values they can relate to, all the way through structured social activities where they can share experiences with their coworkers outside of their regular workday.

Culture is a large category and you have to be realistic about where you are today and what you should improve both short- and long-term. It’s also a relatively new category to consider when budgeting. Most companies haven’t traditionally had significant and specific investment benchmarks for this category. But make no mistake, it’s as important as any other factor in how you compete in today’s tight labor market.

Companies will agonize over ways to successfully cut 1% from their expenses, but they don’t realize that proactively upping their game to attract quality applicants and creating engaged employees can add 16% to their bottom line (Gallup). Is your company out in front of this competitive advantage?

So, thanks to Tom Gimbel at LaSalle Network for leading the way to better understand the employees of the future. As marketing people, Pepper Group applauds their smarts for creating a proprietary benchmark study to leverage with all their audiences. Bravo, Tom!

If your company wants to learn how to best apply tactics to become a Culturific Company, please give me a shout. Our integrated Talent Branding solutions are giving clients a true advantage over their competitors and are easier to apply than you might think.

Hey, was that summer I saw peeking around the corner last weekend?

Tim Padgett

Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing.
—Phil Jackson

In summer, the song sings itself.
—William Carlos Williams


Client Spotlight: Envista Forensics and AREPA Trade Show Presence

Our client, Envista Forensics, has a savvy marketing team who knows the importance of making the most of every brand touchpoint.

Back in late fall, this global leader in forensic engineering and investigation had already turned their attention toward planning for their largest trade show: the PLRB Claims Conference & Insurance Services Expo, which takes place in April each year. This year’s conference was especially important for Envista; the company, which has grown rapidly over the past few years, had recently acquired AREPA, a leading provider of industrial and high-technology equipment restoration. This strategic acquisition offered a unique and powerful co-branding opportunity to introduce the companies’ combined strengths to their key audiences of insurance claims professionals, facility restoration companies and insurance attorneys, thousands of whom would be flocking to Orlando for the conference. Envista knew their typical 10x10 booth would not be enough to make the necessary impact, and approached Pepper Group for help.

In close collaboration with our client and their trade show exhibit partner, Nimlok Chicago, we began by solidifying the objectives for the show. We needed to make sure everyone at the conference understood the connection between Envista and AREPA, and understood the powerful combined resource the two brands offered to their audiences. It was important that the brands appear connected, but also distinct, so that attendees would understand the comprehensive services available to them, but also be able to hone in on their particular area of need. And of course, it was important to accomplish that within budget.

The final booth, Envista’s largest trade show presence to date, included a smart combination of rental and owned pieces for cost-effectiveness without compromising impact. Each brand was able to have its own distinct space and messaging within the booth, united by a central tower that cleverly integrated the two identities through design and copy. Envista appealed to further foot traffic by offering a device charging station at the front of the booth, with complimentary fresh juice for attendees, so they could recharge themselves and their phones—and have a conversation with an Envista or AREPA team member while they waited.

Trade shows, when done well, can help companies powerfully engage with their audiences; Envista and AREPA’s PLRB booth is a great example of what can happen when strategy, creativity and resources align. Does your company have a big trade show approaching? Make the most of it by allowing us to help!

Jessie Atchison

Valuable GDPR Resources

We recently hosted an Act-On user group event here at Pepper Group where resident expert David Fowler shared insights on preparing and navigating for success with GDPR, and what to do before the May 25 deadline.

What is GDPR? It’s the new General Data Protection Regulation going into effect in the European Union. If you have at least one EU contact within your databases, regardless of where you are located, you need to pay attention to your revised compliance obligations.

This may seem like a hassle, but it's actually good for your business because it can help you earn your buyers’ trust. If you know when and how your buyers want to be engaged, you can create exchanges that are more personal and memorable and demonstrate a respect for their preferences.

If you’re interested in learning more, David Fowler and Act-On have put together a great set of GDPR resources, including these:

  • Preparation Checklist
  • Webinar on Maximizing Success in the Era of GDPR
  • Infographic on What GDPR Means to Marketers
  • Podcast discussion

And of course, if you’d like some general assistance with your own compliance obligations, let us know. We can help.

George Couris

Notes from the Copy Desk

Allan, Pepper Group’s new Copy Director, is excited to debut his new PepperMill column.

Selling to Prospects and Fifth Graders

Recently I spoke to a group of 5th graders about persuasive writing, which is basically what a lot of marketing copy is—writing in order to persuade people to do stuff. For our clients at Pepper Group, that sort of ‘stuff’ is having a prospect visit a website or agree to a meeting or just realize how awesome a product is. That doesn’t happen magically, although it would be a lot easier if it did. (For fifth graders, I told them that persuasive writing could, maybe, convince their parents to up their allowance or get their teacher to give less homework.)

For those of you who slept through writing in school, which is probably most people except me, persuasive writing has three main components—logos, pathos and ethos. These are Greek words for logic, emotion and credibility (I avoided the Greek words when talking to the students out of fear they would be too bored to pay attention for the rest of the class). I particularly stressed how emotion and logic are both important when making an argument. People claim to make decisions based on logical arguments such as facts and figures, but in the end their decisions come from their gut as much as their head. For B2B marketing, your company is put on a shortlist of suppliers because your experience aligns with its needs, but also because the VP of Procurement likes you. A business makes the final cut because its final numbers look good, but the prospect pulls the trigger because it feels like a good fit.

Next time you reach out to prospects with a marketing piece, a presentation or just a meet-and-greet, share your numbers and charts … but don't forget to throw in a smile, a personal anecdote and, if you’re talking to a class of fifth graders, promise cupcakes at the end of the class. That worked for me, anyway.

Allan Woodrow



YouTubin’: Optimism

Optimism isn’t just something you’re born with.

There’s a certain magic found in “Man on the Street” interviews that point the spotlight on everyday people from various walks of life. This episode from the folks at SoulPancake attracted me because I truly believe in the power of optimism.

My friends are painfully aware that one of my favorite movies is the 1960 Disney classic, Pollyanna. The message that pervades in both the movie and this YouTube clip is simply that your attitude has a profound effect on how your life turns out, and that you can influence the lives of others in a very positive way. What better basis is there to live a life?

Sit back and enjoy this little excursion into what random strangers have to say about the power of optimism!

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

Todd Underwood