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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Before you respond, take a time out. You don’t want to regret your heat-of-the-moment reply.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We all do it. We have sales calls we need to make, reports to write, meetings to prepare for, etc. But instead, we organize our desks, jump on Facebook, send out emails or even decide that we need to take a break before moving forward. We keep putting off whatever small detail we need to finish, until it’s too late.
We can assure you, you are definitely not alone.
And yes, there are those people out there that say things like, “I always do my best work when I wait until the last second to start.” Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case for everyone. We would know – we’ve all been procrastinators to some degree.
So how do we fight the habit? For us, it’s all about motivation.
Break It Down
Have you ever had a project due that is so large you don’t even know where to start? You try writing to-do lists, but you just can’t seem to get organized. Next thing you know, you are surfing the web looking at your friend’s latest Instagram posts.
Break your project down into smaller and smaller pieces. For each small piece, write separate to-do lists for those. Doing this will help you see your accomplishments so that you know you are getting closer and closer to the finish line.
Turn It into a Game
Everybody has to have some sort of competitive spirit, right? Use it to your advantage. Turn your projects into games. Place a bet with someone that requires you to deliver work at a certain time. You can’t let your rival win, can you?!
Unplug the internet, turn off the TV, have a co-worker hide your iPhone if you have to. Do whatever you can to move away from all the distractions.
Try moving to an empty room. A quiet room. Someplace you can concentrate. Once you’re there, make a to-do list, prioritize and start tackling things one at a time. Before you know it, half your list will be done, and you will be well on your way to completing the tasks ahead.
And if all else fails,
Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan
Hey, we’re human. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. If that happens, just be sure to be prepared for what is next to come. Ask yourself these questions:
What will your boss (or whoever is counting on you to finish the project) do/want from you if they can’t receive everything they were hoping for?
Out of everything that you are working on, what is the most important? Can you finish that chunk of the project on time?
Do you have a plan beyond the due date for when and how your will complete the project?
Do you have people in mind you can pull in to help you complete the project?
OK, you’ve had your break – now follow our tips and get back to work!