A lesson in diversity: Not everyone decks the halls

Our building is filled with holiday merriment. From the giant tree on our main floor to decorations on our desks, we are in the spirit.

With our holiday office party and planned in-office events just days away, we had to step back and take a moment to really reflect. Not everybody in the building celebrates Christmas. Be it for reasons secular or nonsecular, the holidays are not everyone’s cup of eggnog.

Several non-Christian holidays happen during the winter months, but we can’t just add a menorah or put up a Kwanzaa display and call it good.

Mostly, we can’t force someone who doesn’t enjoy the holiday season for personal reasons to be full of good tidings and cheer. We should never push our beliefs on anyone without invitation.

How can we make our workplace more inclusive for all during the season? By letting them … be them.

In other words:

Invite employees to give feedback. Acknowledge the diversity of the staff.

Make the office party or pre-holiday shenanigans optional. Don’t force the holiday on anyone.

Be respectful of the way co-workers celebrate the holidays. If they are open to it, ask questions and learn about their unique cultural celebrations and encourage them to share their celebrations with you.

Be equally respectful to those who don’t celebrate at all.

Finally, be aware that the holidays are meant to be a time for family, friends and rejoicing. Your holiday celebration and décor should celebrate the true meaning season without detracting from it.

No matter how you celebrate this season’s holidays, or if you don’t celebrate at all, M3 Group wishes you peace, joy and prosperity. Today, and every day.

 

Putting thankfullness into words

The Thanksgiving holiday has been a whirlwind for M3 Group. Our energy levels were on high this week as we met deadlines a little sooner than usual due to the holiday. But when our publications went to upload and our goals were met on time, we had a moment to breathe and reflect on all the things we are thankful for.

 

  • We’re thankful for a creative team of graphic designers and writers that has worked extremely hard and consistently performed to create branding and content that stands out – so hard that we collected more than a few awards for their efforts in 2018.

 

  • We’re thankful for a marketing team that has spent countless hours working with clients to help them achieve their goals in branding forward.

 

  • We’re thankful for a management team as well as team leaders who have led by example.

 

  • We’re thankful to work in a dog-friendly and fun-friendly workplace that allows our creative energy to operate at its finest.

 

  • We’re thankful for that bowl of chocolate that magically gets refilled on the front desk daily.

 

  • We’re thankful that we get to enjoy working in this beautiful building.

 

  • We’re thankful to readers and advertisers who support our publications.

 

  • We’re thankful to our clients for their trust and patronage.

 

We think you get the point. We are blessed, we are excited about the future of M3 Group and we are grateful for another fantastic year in business.

 

 

 

M3 Group’s holiday giving kick off – how you can help

Each year, M3 Group staff collectively decides one place where we’d like to focus our attention for the holidays

In the past, we’ve taken care of Christmas wish lists for families. Last year, we concentrated our efforts on the forgotten population: seniors living in assisted and memory care units.

This year, we are proud to announce that we’re working in conjunction with the Davies Project to provide books for children.

The Davies Project provides free, round-trip rides to medical appointments for children facing serious health care challenges. But they are more than just a ride; volunteer drivers have a passion for their job. They provide friendly faces, a sounding board or just light conversation – whatever the passenger is comfortable with, as they are transported to their appointments.

Our goal? To provide books for the drivers to give to the children. One book in particular helps children/patients to manage stress. The book is a special request by the Davies Project and it’s called Angry Octopus: An Anger Management Story Introducing Active Progressive Muscular Relaxation and Deep Breathing by Lori Lite.

Our staff will be donating many books, but we’re opening the giving up to the public as well so that we can get as many books as possible!

For the next three weeks, we’ll serve as a drop-off point for book donations. Feel free to bring the book to our location at 221 W. Saginaw St. in Lansing, at the corner of Seymour and Saginaw streets. Our office is open for drop-offs weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. No time to find the book or order one? You may drop off a cash donation that will be used toward “Angry Octopus” and we’ll order for you. Questions? Just ask.

May the spirit of giving be with you this holiday season!

Working overtime could backfire on you

Work is a priority for you. You are on top of your game and if you aren’t on the ball it could all come crashing down. But, at what point do you just relax?

There has to be a breaking point, but do you really want to hit rock bottom before you learn your lesson? The answer is simple. No, you don’t.

The work that you walk away from at the end of the day, or the end of the week will still be there on the next business day.

According to hbr.org, the research is clear. Long hours backfire for people and companies.

In fact, a Harvard Business Review revealed, “If your job relies on interpersonal communication, making judgment calls, reading other people’s faces, or managing your own emotional reactions — pretty much all things that the modern office requires — there is more bad news. Researchers have found that overwork (and its accompanying stress and exhaustion) can make all of these things more difficult.”

Here’s what happens when you constantly put in overtime:

  • You are causing mental damage to yourself and your relationships.
  • You are at risk for getting sick, or worse – totally burned out.
  • You are at risk for high blood pressure or a cardiovascular health event.
  • You could also suffer from depression, impaired sleep and impaired memory.

We’re not saying you can’t be a hard worker or put in some long days. We’re saying to let go of the guilt, drive and pressure when you can.

Consider trying the following:

  • Turn off your cell phone when you can, especially when spending time with family.
  • Start the day with your most difficult task; you’ll then have less stress the rest of the day.
  • Stop thinking the world will end if you don’t finish everything on your list.
  • Learn to trust and delegate to your staff.
  • Weekends are for you and your family – prioritize.
  • If you live by your calendar, schedule breaks.
  • Take time to meditate, go for a walk or out for a non-work-related lunch when you can.

The smallest changes can make a big difference, and it will leave you with enough energy to keep climbing that corporate ladder.

 

What’s the buzz at M3 Group?

It’s a well-worn line – the family that plays together, stays together. But the saying holds true, and it works in business as well.

M3 Group has what we’ve dubbed the Buzz Team that meets monthly to plan and execute events and surprises for staff. However big or small, we find the experience helps us connect and bond as a group. In turn, that bonding helps us work together efficiently and creates a level of trust and respect.

In 2018 we’ve gone bowling, played laser tag, celebrated Cinco de Mayo together, held barbecues and countless themed potluck lunches.

The Buzz Team has also coordinated baby and bridal mini-showers for staff and celebrates achievements with fun and games.

Recently for Halloween, we went all out in the quest for best costume and decorated desk honors. While we didn’t spend hours on the process – it was great team bonding and helped spur creativity in our work as the day went on.

To finish out the year, we will enjoy a real Thanksgiving feast together, have “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” play Secret Santa and enjoy our company holiday party.

The “work hard, play hard” motto works well for M3 Group. If your crew needs a little nudge to get to know each other and bond, consider making a Buzz Team of your own.

 



Great news!

The 15-year-old MarCom Awards is respected all over the world for its quality, value and industry significance. The awards honor excellence in marketing and communication as well as recognize the hard work and ingenuity of creatives.

To receive a Marcom award is an incredible achievement. To receive two, well it’s icing on an already delicious cake!

M3 Group has been named a 2018 Marcom Awardee winning a gold award for our graphic design work in the category of Illustration/Graphic Design/Infographic for a visual breakdown in our publication, Greater Lansing Business Monthly.

On top of that, M3 Group was awarded a platinum award in the category of Industry/Trade publication for an in-house magazine we designed for a client.

We humbly accept these honors and recognize that teamwork is key at M3 Group. Our crew of creatives is a group of dynamic, diligent and hard-working people who love what they do and put passion into every project.

When you put passion into your work, it shows. And we can’t help but to be excited to share the good news when we receive such an esteemed honor.

Thank you to all of our clients who believe in us. Congratulations to the M3 Group graphics team for a job well done!

If you’d like to put our creative passion to work for you, visit our website at m3group.biz, connect with us on social media or call (517) 203-3333.

 

Put your business in the know with the right logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does your business have a logo? What does it say about your business? Your logo should tell the story of your brand. It should be clean, memorable and visionary.

Maybe you are a new business who hasn’t quite figured out your brand’s identity. Perhaps your story has changed or evolved. Or, it could be that your logo is simply out of style.

At M3 Group, we have a team of award-winning graphic designers with different but vast skills and aesthetics to help you with logo design or redesign. Depending on your needs, we may even put them all to work on your logo – ensuring a number of brilliant ideas from which to choose.

When creating your logo, our team needs basic information:

  • Your branding colors
  • Your vision
  • Three to five words that describe your brand
  • What kind of shapes/style you are drawn to
  • Whether you want an icon, lettermark or wordmark
  • How you plan to use your logo
  • Who your target audience is
  • Traditional or modern style
  • Are there logos you dislike? Why?
  • Your turnaround time

Once those questions (and a few more) are answered, our team gets to work. It’s always fascinating to see their varied takes on your vision. It’s also really exciting to know we have such talented designers on staff who are always eager to tackle a new project.

Need help with your logo? Let us know!

The importance of video for your branding

If your business counts on marketing tools – and let’s face it, any business that wants to be successful needs to market their brand – video needs to be part of your strategy.

Look on social media – what content gets the most attention? Video.

What gives the most retention (memory recall)? Video.

Whether it’s a 30-second TV commercial, Facebook live or a six-second snippet on Instagram, video is key to successful content that will help your business brand forward.

The folks at adweek.com agree that “video is on the rise – from vertical video on social media to using video for storytelling in micro-moments and geo-located video discovery and sharing.”

What is vertical video? Simple: It’s the way non-videographers hold their camera phones and take video, in other words portrait vs. landscape. As Adweek reports, 94 percent of people hold their phones upright when capturing content on their smartphones.

Bite-size videos, called micro-moments, are trending for late 2018 and are expected to be a key marketing feature for 2019.

Geo video locating has been used on the big screen at sporting events and Instagram.

We live in a culture that wants answers now. Generations Y and Z don’t ask for advice, recommendations or information – they ask Google, Siri and Alexa. That means advertisers have to win them over in a nanosecond and they want everything at their fingertips quickly.

Video gets better SEO, it is shared more often and it is indeed the future of marketing.

M3 Group is proud to say we have videographers, photographers and animators on staff that can produce content that will help you brand forward. From video shorts to digital billboards, television commercials or web tutorials, we can help.

 

Smartphone vs. Digital camera for business photography

Pictures really do tell a story and depending on that final image, your story can circulate or fall flat. 

When it comes to using photography for your business’ social media, etc., there are several things to consider. Among them, what are you planning to do with your images?

DSLR:

A good DSLR costs anywhere from $800 to $4,000. Add to that the expense of lenses, lighting and accessories and you’ve got one pricey setup. But if you take pictures regularly to promote your staff, your products, news and more, and you plan to use them on your website, press releases, flyers and billboards – consider a good, quality camera. It may sound trite, but having that larger camera and lens also make you look more professional at events.

Camera Phone:

If you are simply using a camera for social media and never expect to enlarge images or use them beyond your Facebook and Instagram accounts, an iPhone is probably just fine for use. iPhones take remarkably good pictures, but you will notice the color is less lush and the image is less sharp when posted next to a good digital camera image. iPhone images also don’t enlarge as well and will look more pixelated than they appear on your phone. That being said, there are now a variety of apps available to help you clean up, brighten and take your iPhone images to the next level and beyond.

Regardless of the vehicle you choose for your brand’s photos, it takes more than a good camera to tell your story. Someone who understands use of light, angles and depth of field can rock both an iPhone or a pricey digital camera. It just takes a little time and finesse.

M3 Group offers on-site photography and video services to our clients with Cannon DSLRs and a Sony Mirrorless Camera. We have L-series lenses on hand, as well as the lighting tools needed for consistently sharp images. We also use iPhones when on the go for quick social media posts.

In other words, we take into account the end result wanted – and use the product needed to help tell and sell a client’s story.

Are you ready for your close-up? Learn more at www.m3group.biztoday.

How to handle an online critic

Being a critic is easy these days. People live under the guise of anonymity via the world wide web. They are not so anonymous on social media like Facebook; because social media doesn’t involve face-to-face interactions and it is easy to feel empowered to lodge complaints and insults.

When you are a business owner, you rely on positive feedback and word of mouth. When we are criticized, especially on a public forum, we are bound to feel defensive. How do we handle it?

Breathe

Before you respond, take a time out. You don’t want to regret your heat-of-the-moment reply.

Listen

Was the complaint valid? No matter the vitriol in which the complaint was written, was there any truth to it?

Choose your battles

Is the complaint written in such a way that the situation just comes off as untenable? Consider letting it go and not responding. Some people just will never be happy. Responding can ignite even more ugly words.

Respond

If a complaint was valid, let the person know you’ve heard them. Reply with a “thank you for calling that to my attention, I’m going to look into this.”  Be calm and respectful. Often, this will diffuse a situation.

Apologize

If you were in the wrong, apologize. Often a critic just wants to feel vindicated. A response that admits a mistake was made can do wonders. You don’t have to do it publicly; a private response may feel more personal and attentive.

Rectify

If warranted, fix the situation by offering a return or exchange on the service. But be careful to draw the line and not get taken advantage of.

Move on

You’ve listened, responded appropriately and rectified the situation. Or, you’ve chosen that it was best to ignore it. Either way, it’s time to visualize the complaint as a rock – and skip it into a large body of water. In other words – learn from it, move on and let it go.