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!
At M3 Group, we encourage our staff to be involved with the community. Giving financially is a wonderful thing; but giving time and raising awareness is also a great gift.
M3 Group Marketing Account Specialist Zach Krieger has always been known to us as a bit of a fashionista. Except for the time he wore the “Ralphie” bunny pajamas to our company Christmas Party. But we’ll let that fashion faux pas go – because it was pink. And as you may have heard – real men wear pink.
In fact, Krieger is bringing out the pink every day through the month of October to support the American Cancer Society for the Real Men Wear Pink campaign. His reasons for supporting the cause include one of the most important people in his life. “I Was approached by a co-worker to participate and I am excited to be involved as my family (just like so many others) has been directly impacted by cancer,” Krieger said. “My wife, Kelsey, is actually a childhood cancer survivor – she was diagnosed with Synovial Cell Sarcoma at 18 months old and battled the disease until she was 5 years old.”
While pink men’s fashion hasn’t been easy to find for Krieger, he plans on supplementing his look with pink accessories. “I don’t always wear pink, but when I do … I rock it, “Krieger said. “I’m happy to help raise awareness. Breast cancer effects everyone – women and men.”
We’re glad to have Zach on the team and he is leading by example in support of the ACS with the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. If you’d like to donate, please visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/zachkrieger
Just like the first impression you give when someone enters your workplace, your social media and web photo speaks volumes about you.
What does your current LinkedIn or web image say?
If you want it to say “professional,” “put together,” “trustworthy,” “creative” and more – dress the part in your image and have it professionally taken. No more blurry selfies of you while holding a cocktail. While those are fun in theory, they don’t really cut the mustard for professional websites.
If your Facebook account is purely for family and close friends, choose the photo you want. If your security settings allow for networking, potential employers or clients, then consider changing that photo to reflect the professional you.
Part of our overall services at M3 Group often include headshots for a new website. We’ll talk to you about your brand, the image you want to portray and what you want your picture to say. The backdrop we use, clothing suggestions and even posing relates to your overall vision and branding.
For example, we updated our staff headshots recently and wanted to showcase our cool space, our creative vibe and our approachable staff. We photographed staff throughout the building in approachable poses in personality-driven clothing, without overdoing it.
Here are some tips for looking your best for your new headshots:
Wear crisp clothing like blazers and dress shirts – avoid material that droops, wrinkles and sags.
Warm tones and classic darker colors like navy and gray are always flattering. Rich, deep colors pop more. Pale colors tend to wash a subject out.
Avoid distracting patterns or colors. Loud prints are also something to avoid, unless they are part of your branding.
Avoid reflective, shiny fabrics.
Depending on lighting, all white looks can appear blown out. It can also add weight. Consider adding a jacket.
Jewelry should remain small, classic and nondistracting, unless your brand is jewelry.
Know what color background you are shooting on in advance so that you don’t wear the same color – and turn into a floating head.
Need new branding, marketing, logo, website and headshots? Call M3 Group and ask about our services today.
Professional networking in the community you live in is not only a great way to get your name out there, but it is an effective form of community relations and expands your overall network. As a small-business owner, it’s important to remember your community are your customers.
This is one reason why it is so crucial that as a local business owner, you stay involved and engaged in your community. When you attend or host a networking event, you are building a sense of trust within your community. Putting a face to the name allows for your community to get to know you – and this in itself can be a precious marketing asset.
Staying in touch with your community is a great way to gain local referrals because your customers will trust you; plus, it can also be economically empowering. In 2011, American Express sponsored a Small Business Consumer Pulse Survey that found more 93 percent of Americans believe it’s important to support the local small businesses that they value in their community, and nearly 73 percent consciously shop at small businesses in their community because they do not want them to go away.
Building a network can help you find opportunities and, ultimately, benefit your career. What you pay forward will be paid back because you never know where your network can take you. It can help teach about different business, get things done and increase your perception of success.
As publishers of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine, Greater Lansing Business Monthlyand ing Magazine, M3 Group is proud to host some of Lansing’s most established networking events like Connections and Coffee, the annual Lady Classic golf outing and more. We hope to see you at some of our events!
What’s coming up for us this year?
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018
8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Hawk Hollow Golf Course
15101 Chandler Road, Bath, MI 48808
Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine is proud to host the 2018 Lady Classic golf outing, benefiting the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. Register at cawlm.com/lady-classic/.
Inspiration and Influence Awards
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018
Crowne Plaza Lansing West
925 South Creyts Road, Lansing, MI 48917
Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazineand the Aitch Foundation have come together to shine a light on heroes in the mid-Michigan area who inspire, impact, imagine and influence change in our communities. These distinguished event will recognize leaders in the areas of community impact, women’s advancement and medical research as well as award the mid-Michigan Woman of the Year.
Connections and Coffee
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018
Washington Avenue Advisors
1146 Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI 48910
*On-site parking and street parking available
Be an active member of Lansing’s dynamic business community. Connections & Coffee, presented by Greater Lansing Business Monthly, is a free networking breakfast for all local business individuals. Meet people from diverse industries to add to your network, reconnect with friends and find local resources.
Businesses that show an active interest toward being involved in the community often distinguish themselves from competitors – and many benefits can come as a result, such as a happier workforce or a more loyal customer base. Whether by granting employees time to volunteer each week, sponsoring an event within the community or being involved in community programs, companies that encourage community participation usually reap the benefits of the good deed. Getting involved within the community illustrates the importance of relationships between the community and the organizations that operate within that area.
Some businesses may not have all the resources necessary to donate millions of dollars to a global cause or event; however, there are still plenty of ways to adopt a mission within the local community. Participating within the community is a direct form of networking. Social responsibility leads to strong communities – which, in return, give organizations a strong customer base. According to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.
By participating in community-based events, business owners can do more for the employees than what shows on the surface. Being active in the community allows for team building, employee retention, community relationship building and promotes similar values of the business. Always allow current and prospective customers in the community to know about the involvement taking place. Publicizing an event that an organization is working with lets the community be aware of, and potentially join in, the efforts.
When trying to decide which community event to get involved in, take into consideration the business and employee strengths, and select volunteer activities that draw those strengths forward. Such social responsibility creates a positive social impact and community engagement.
M3 Group meets regularly for brainstorming sessions. Even a creative group of experienced visionaries has to stay on top of the game and cultivate fresh, new ideas to stay relevant. But there are ways to effectively brainstorm for a successful outcome – and there are ways to kill the vibes of a session faster than a speeding bullet.
What to do to help the process:
Take lots of notes
Use a white board and keep notes everyone can see
Record the conversation if the ideas are flowing fast as to not miss anything
Don’t exclude staff
Listen to every idea
Make eye contact with the person speaking so he or she knows you are listening
Be sure to clarify everything
Be clear about your intentions of the meeting
What not to do
Don’t force employees to participate
Don’t criticize or downplay – no idea is a bad idea
Once you have a list of ideas, it’s time to start categorizing. Place all of the like items in one row or column and group as many words together that you can.
Once you have your final categorized list, start eliminating ideas that don’t work for your objective.
Analyze your end list. What stands out? Is there an obvious answer that creates excitement?
Take that final idea and plant the seed. Watch it grow into a plan that bears the fruit of success.