Happenings

Shining the Spotlight on Local Women

M3 Group is proud publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine (CAWLM). The magazine features mid-Michigan women in various profiles, including our ‘Local Woman’ column. Beyond the cover, careers for consideration, non-profit or business profiles – the local woman is someone who stands out as a woman who is inspiring in her own way.

The list of people featured in the Local Woman column runs a long and widespread gamut. 

Some of the women we featured, such as Barbara Loyer, the Turner-Dodge House program and events manager, who was in our November 2017 edition. She is among those we shine the spotlight on who tend to work primarily behind the scenes.

Or she might be someone we often see, like Lisa Ballard. She’s a greeter at L.O. Eye Care, and was the subject of a March 2018 feature. Patients know her from her work, but learned even more about her in the Local Woman column.

The subject could be someone you see often and recognize, such as Fox 47 Anchor Sarah Swistak (February 2019) or Twyla Birdsong, a local gospel and blues singer who was the subject of a February 2018 write-up.

The purpose of our Local Woman column is to bring attention to people who have an impact on our community, or maybe they have had a positive affect on one person who took the time to nominate her. The writers at CAWLM are always able to find a story behind the individual and give readers an enjoyable look into their lives, what passions drive them and why they stick in the minds of people who nominate them.

Do you have a woman you think should have her story told in the pages of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine? Has someone been spotted performing a random act of kindness? Or perhaps they spend every workday making people feel welcome at a business. We would love to hear about them and share their stories.You can nominate them by email at info@cawlm.com.

The ‘Morale’ of the story

That’s not a typo. Office Morale, or lack thereof, is something all businesses should keep their radar on.

Employees who have to drag themselves to work, consider their jobs more of a chore than an achievement and show a lack of teamwork could be a sign that morale is bottoming out. There are simple ways suggested by Inc.comto boost happiness in the office without breaking the bank.

One of the biggest things that can sink morale is when employees do not feel appreciated. Take time out not to just commend a worker on a job well done, but project that appreciation for that task to the whole office. Make sure people know their efforts are appreciated and recognized.

Often fun is lacking from an office. Here at M3 Group sudden and impromptu Nerf gun battles are not out of the norm of an otherwise ordinary day of business. Have some recreational activities in the break room, like a foosball table or a jigsaw puzzle. Plan a joke contest or go out of your way to tell a funny story that will have everyone chuckling (or, at the very least, rolling their eyes). Breaking the day up with a bit of fun can do wonders for morale.

Community service leave also can-do wonders for an office. Not only will your employees get away from their desks for a few hours, they will be helping a community nonprofit with volunteer time. Go assist Habitat for Humanity with building a home one afternoon. Or go to the local animal shelter and volunteer for the morning. Establish a policy for community time and give workers a set number of hours they can use to help their communities.

A huge morale-buster is having employees get into a rut. Following a routine is sometimes necessary, but if it is the everyday sort of thing, it can drag someone’s morale down. Inc.com recommends switching up lunch breaks, changing the way the office looks – on the exterior as well as the interior – and having impromptu company breaks.

Spread positivity by constantly being positive. Positive attitudes are contagious. Talk up the good work your employees are doing. Greet them with a smile as they arrive at work. Be careful not to overdo the positive outlook until it looks fake. If you are sincere, the positive attitude will spread throughout the workplace.

One last slice of advice: Listen. Nothing puts a damper on morale if employees don’t think they have a voice in the company. You can go from workspace to workspace asking employees what they think about the current workload or project. Team meetings every week, or a morning huddle every day, encourages employees to voice concerns or make suggestions that could benefit the entire office. Making the employees feel like an integral piece of the company does wonders for morale.

BILLBOARDS ARE STILL BREATHING

With all of the high-tech methods to get an advertiser’s product noticed, an old-school method of selling a brand is having its second wind.

Billboards, according to The Hustle, are back in vogue. They are classified as “out of home” ads and make up 66 percent of the out-of-home market, which includes ads on trucks, buses, at bus stops and placards covering a wall.

The Hustle reports there are about 370,000 billboards in active operation in the U.S., with 15,000 new ones added each year.

Billboards, along with digital advertising, is growing, while other traditional media advertising is in a tailspin. Add digital capability to a billboard and you have an easily customizable form of advertising that people pay attention to. Owners of the billboards also pay attention to drivers and can adjust the message accordingly.

An official from Lamar, one of the nation’s largest billboard owners, said if a coffee shop was advertising on a digital billboard and the weather was cold, the billboard would push hot drinks. If the weather was hot, the billboard would be changed to display cold drinks.

M3 Group works with clients to get their products noticed. That includes designing billboards. If you see a billboard featuring one of Gillespie Group’s downtown projects – the Stadium District, The Outfield, Prudden Place and the Marketplace, M3 Group worked with the developer to create these stunning and compelling billboard designs. There’s even one for the 600 Project, which will bring apartments, a new hotel and an urban market to downtown Lansing.

In short, we all notice billboards as we drive in Lansing, East Lansing and the entire Greater Lansing region. If you want your product noticed just give us a call. 

Logo trends for 2019

Your logo is everything. It tells your brand’s story in just a glance through color, design and the statement it makes.

But trends change and keeping up with the times is important. The few companies that can get away with a classic logo usually can use it for years. Others need to make small adjustments with the times.

Those with an entirely too trendy logo, however, may be looking for something new.

Here are a few of the trends you can expect to see in 2019:

Variable logos

Wix.com says many companies are taking their brands a step further by creating a variety of visually diverse logos to be used interchangeably. This idea can work – as long as the logos are cohesive and reside under the umbrella of the same visual language.

Simplification

Creativebloq.com states that simplification has been a popular trend for years now, with no sign of changing. Examples of this are the American Express logo and the Uber rebrand.

Gradients are back

According to medium.com, gradients and vivid and saturated logos are going to be big in 2019.

Overlapping elements

Designers are breaking the rules, and it’s working. “Overlapping styles tend to work best for logos that have a simple mark or lettering and that are contained to s specific part of the logo,” said designshack.net.

You can also expect to see continued use of negative space, vivid colors, illustrative substitutes for a letter, simple geometric shapes and in general, more cheerful designs.

Creating your company’s logo can be a daunting task best left to the professionals. M3 Group is here to help!

 

Thank You from (and to) the Davies Project

M3 Group recently held a book drive to benefit the Davies Project, which offers rides for families with children who have special health needs. These free rides mean fewer missed appointments and healthier kids.

In fact, according to the Davies Project, “In Greater Lansing, where 70 percent of the children who rely on the local subspecialty clinics are on Medicaid, poor transportation options contribute to a 64 percent missed appointment rate for children with serious illnesses.”

The Davies Project also extends these rides to pregnant women and for parents with a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit if no car is available.

When we told the Davies Project about our staff sponsoring a charitable venture for the holidays and asked what they needed, we were presented with the idea of books for the children. Our staff brought in new or very gently used books, and we received some support from the general public as well.

In all, M3 Group donated nearly 100 books to the Davies Project, and the gratitude from the staff there was heartwarming.

Officials from the Davies Project told us about Mary Jane, a 4-year old with leukemia who needed to start treatment right away. It was critical for Mary Jane to keep her appointments on schedule. Her grandmother wrote to the Davies Project to share her wonderful experience with the volunteer drivers who were professional and friendly.

Those stories are heard frequently when it comes to the Davies Project, as they provide a gift that has a priceless value.

“Thank you for providing more than just a ride for Mary Jane and her grandma,” said Pam Miklavcic, founder and executive director of the Davies Project “Thank you for driving change for the 250 children and families that are healthier and a little less anxious.”

But we thank YOU Davies Project, for serving the needs to so many families. Yours is the gift that should be recognized.

Why your workspace matters

Sometimes the aesthetics around the workplace are as important as the space itself.  How does your workspace speak to you? Is it warm and inviting, cold and sterile, or hip and fun? 

All of these options can work depending on your job and the end goal. But believe it or not, poor design can get in the way.

For example, walled in cubicles don’t exactly promote connectivity between staff. It can also foster lazyness.

Here in Michigan, a space without window light can leave employees lethargic. The list goes on and on.

You may not be able to move, add a new wing on to your building or take down cubicles, but there are plenty of things you can do to promote productivity, good health and a positive workplace.

Color – Consider painting your walls in a color that promotes calmness, positivity or creativity.

Make use of empty space – Have empty rooms in the building? Designate them for breaks, fun or just a different place to work so that employees can step away from their desks.

Add life – Bring in live plants, a fish tank and other decor that livens the place up.

Here at M3 Group, we’re lucky to have a large space with lots of natural light coming in. Creative colors, and lots of alternative work space to foster creativity. We call it our mini – google! Breaks here can be quiet, or our staff can work on a puzzle or take a phone call in the bean bag room. We have a small workout room, kitchen and our newly acquired foosball table proves we’re anything but dull.

This atmosphere works for our team of creatives.

What works for you?

 

 

 

 

No End in Sight – and That’s a Good Thing

As the 4thquarter comes to a close, many businesses wrap up and prepare to start a new year. They reduce prices to sell inventory and make room for new. They start new programs and efforts. Many also see a bit of respite as the busy holiday season winds down and a slower winter period begins.

But it’s a little different for an agency like ours.

What does that mean? It means the end of the year doesn’t signal a break for our publications. We’re already working laying out future issues of Greater Lansing Business Monthly and Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine.

We’re well into planning events like the upcoming Greater Lansing Business Monthly Entrepreneurial Awards. We’re excited to meet John Latella from McClure Pickles, our keynote speaker. We’re also proud to welcome Tony Willis as co-host of this year’s awards.

Then, there’s the CAWLM Lady Classic Golf Outing on our events calendar for the Fall of 2019, where work has already begun.

Our marketing staff enjoyed the holiday with their families, but they are back at work helping our clients with their #BrandForward plans for 2019. Our graphic arts, video, photography and communications departments are back; Humming like a well-oiled machine.

We really never stop. And that’s a good thing, because it means we’ve had another successful year that is blending seamlessly into the new one. For that, we are grateful. We humbly thank our clients for their patronage, our staff for their efforts, our readers for their support.

We wish all of you peace, good health and prosperity in the new year.

 

 

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!