Networking brings economic empowerment

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?


Lady Classic

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

6-8:30 p.m.

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

8-9 a.m.

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.

The Importance of Community Involvement


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.

Effective Brainstorming


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

Encourage participation

                        Don’t exclude staff

                        Listen to every idea

                        Make eye contact with the person speaking so he or she knows you are listening

Ask questions

                        Be sure to clarify everything

                        Be clear about your intentions of the meeting

What not to do

                        Don’t overthink

                        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.


The psychology behind colors


You may not realize it, but colors play an extremely important part in your life. Yes, perceptions of color can be somewhat subjective, but for the most part certain colors have a universal meaning. For example, warm colors – such as red, orange and yellow – evoke emotions ranging from warmth and comfort to feeling of anger and hostility. Cool colors – such as blue, purple and green – usually range from a calm feeling to feelings of sadness or indifference.

Without realizing it, color can have a profound effect on how we feel both mentally and physically.

Blue represents peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth and confidence

Black represents power, sexuality, elegance, wealth, mystery, fear, evil and anger

Green represents nature, environment, health, renewal, youth, generosity, envy and misfortune.

Orange represents warmth, enthusiasm, vibrancy, flamboyancy and anger.

Purple represents royalty, spirituality, nobility, ceremony, mystery and wisdom

Red represents love, anger, desire, speed, strength and violence

White represents humility, precision, innocence, youth, peace and sterility

Yellow represents joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination and hope

So why does this matter to you?

Well, say you want to paint a room in your house, your kid’s room in fact, and their favorite color is red. What would a red room do? 

While red can create a sense of warmth, it can also stimulate and energize the viewer. It can be a loud, unsettling color that might make it difficult to focus on tasks.

How about blue?

A blue room has a calming effect, proven to slow down the human nervous system preparing the body for sleep. Blue is a perfect color for bedrooms. The shade of blue, however, matters. A dark blue, for example, could make the viewer feel cold.

What about in advertising?

According to research, black and white can be two of the best colors to use. When used together, they signify power and create a sense that a company is highly professional. That idea translates well in dramatic video.

Use of all whites in advertising commonly denotes a sense of luxury – think beauty, spa and high-end health care ads.

Strong use of colors like reds represent fast pace or emotional urgency, like an ad for a fast car.

The next time you watch television or browse through a website or magazine, think about the colors of the branding you see. Think about how it affects you.

Just because you simply like a color doesn’t mean your business branding should use it. Research the psychology behind the colors of your branding and decide how it may affect the kind of customers you want to attract. Better yet, let the experts at M3 Group help you work on branding using color that sends the right message to your demographics. Contact us at info@m3group.biz

Five qualities of a good manager of creatives

When you manage a team of highly skilled creatives, what you’ve been taught in the past about management may be moot. Creatives are a special breed. They are sensitive, independent, curious, aesthetically inclined and perceived as risk-takers.

Look at some of the most popular and talented creatives in the world – from artists and actors to tech wizards and entrepreneurs. From Van Gogh’s ear incident to Lady Gaga’s meat dress, creatives often leave a distinct impression.

Creatives are typically clever, uninhibited and sometimes thought of as stubborn, unconventional or even withdrawn; but what is really happening is they are just supremely focused. Creatives can be surprisingly quiet, and just as surprisingly assertive. Managing unique personality types can be enjoyable, or it can be your downfall – and theirs, if you don’t understand them.

Here are five qualities of good managers that are effectively used to manage a team of visionaries, no matter what their job titles.

  • Know their personality type: Knowing who you are working with can help you to understand their personality and how to approach unique situations. A popular test is the “Bird Personality” or Dove, Owl, Peacock, Eagle (DOPE) test to determine traits of each staff member.
  • Lead by example: Show up at team events, treat staff how you want them to treat you and one another and follow through on timelines. Show respect and respect will be returned.
  • Trust: You’ve chosen your staff. Now let them fly. Trust is a key component in motivation and generating confidence in your employees. There are limits, but you’ve chosen them for a reason; let them prove you right.
  • Problem solving: Due to the unique nature of creatives, a unique approach to dealing with tough situations may be needed. One thing to remember is because of the competitive nature of creatives, you never want to criticize in front of peers. Public chastising can deflate confidence and foil creativity. That goes for all employees, not just creatives.
  • Set a standard and keep it: Just because your staff of creatives comes with a set of different personalities doesn’t mean the same rules don’t apply to all. Even if they are extraordinarily talented, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with employees that can’t play by the rules. Setting a precedent for what you’re willing to deal with and keeping it will help your staff understand the company’s expectations and follow through.

OK, we lied, we’ve got one more.

  • Enjoy your creatives. You are lucky to have them!


You only get one chance to make a good first impression


We went to the Quicken Loans offices in Detroit recently to interview Laura Granneman, who will be the keynote speaker for Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine’s upcoming Inspiration and Influence Awards.

We were impressed by the atmosphere of the building. Bright, clean, professional … yet fun. Don’t get us wrong, the office was a very tightly run ship, we could tell the staff was serious about their work. But the overall vibe and flare just added to a positive overall experience.

Memes from the popular television show “The Office” adorned the walls, Big Head Cutouts instead of name plates on each cubicle – and great staff titles. Those were obviously there for the enjoyment off staff, but they sent a message. It spoke to us: “We want our employees to enjoy their jobs, and we want you to see how cool we are to work with.”

For example, what you would normally call the receptionist had a different title – “Director of First Impressions.”

It struck us. First impressions are indeed everything. When a meeting goes well, and everyone impresses from that first welcome to the last goodbye, you’ve done a fantastic job of showing customers they count and what your businesses is all about.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

But what if the first impression you give a potential customer or client is a big, fat fail?

What can you do?

Don’t walk away. Second chances are sometimes even more effective. You just have to recognize, rewind and reconcile.

So, you blew the phone call, the pitch or even the whole presentation. You’ve recognized it. Step one is admitting, as they say, you have a problem.

Now, rewind. What could you have done differently? What should you have said to close the sale, to build trust and gain a customer?

Finally, reconcile. An apology, a phone call, a heartfelt “I think we could have done better” goes a long way. How do you do that?

Make it right. Ask for a second chance and do the work you didn’t do right the first time.

Send a package, flowers or a creative gift. Gain their attention, look them dead in the eye and knock their socks off.

Follow up. Build trust. Make a good second impression and keep making them. There’s no room for complacency in a competitive market, but there is plenty of room to make a better impression.


Those of you who work in the creative field know how important inspiration is and how important it is to have a constant source of it. However, every so often, we get stuck. We aren’t sure what or how to use the many sources of inspiration in our crazy world.

What is inspiration? According to Wikipedia, inspiration, in an artistic sense, is “sudden creativity in artistic production.” In advertising, that inspiration plays an essential role in design. Can you imagine advertisements without it? They become lifeless, boring and mundane.

Advertising is not just giving consumers the information necessary to know what a candy bar tastes like, how much it costs and where to find it. No, it’s evolved into a combination of complex design work and well laid out content. Designers must constantly be pushing their own limits to come up with new and exciting ways to reach out to target markets. They need to be inspired.

How to become inspired? The best part of all of this is that anyone and everyone can be inspired. It doesn’t matter where you are, who you are talking to or what you are looking at. As long as you are open and willing, you can be inspired.

Where can inspiration be found?

• Nature: Look at the colors, the shapes, the sizes, the textures that seem to be randomly put together to make such beautiful pieces of art. Take note of it all and try to use nature’s colors or shapes in your next design piece.

• Magazines: Check out the different layouts that are being used today, or even were used in the past. Look at the different fonts, and the placement of those fonts in relation to images.

• Typography: Have you ever opened up a typography book just for fun? If not, I highly suggest that you do. Beautiful typography can make an entire design piece flow.

• Photography: Viewing different media, such as photography, can open up your mind to different ideas that you may have never thought of.

• The web: Need we say more? You can find anything on the web, just make sure you are still coming up with your own creative ideas and not stealing others.

• Emotions: Take whatever emotions you might have toward someone or something and use it in your next design.

Teamwork and the Lady Classic Golf Outing



We’re pretty stoked about the annual Lady Classic golf outing coming Sept. 19 to Hawk Hollow Golf Course. The golf outing is officially put on by Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine. While the event takes a lot of teamwork, it’s something that everyone here enjoys prepping for. Especially since this year the theme is 1980s!

You might think just our events team is involved, but putting together a golf outing is a pretty big undertaking, especially since it gets bigger and better each year. Teams involved include our communications staff, who write copy for digital and social posts, information for sponsors, packets and more. It then moves on to our design team members, who create graphics, printables and anything else needed for design purposes from logos to banners. Sales and marketing work with getting our sponsorships taken care of; and our event staff oversees each item is checked off on the appropriate list, putting in a lot of hours behind the scenes, addressing all the big (and small) details and making sure the day of the event runs smoothly. Our web team makes sure all information is available and that sign-ups can be done online quickly and efficiently.

We put a lot of heart into the events we put our name behind. From the Greater Lansing Business Monthly’s Entrepreneurial Awards to the upcoming inaugural Inspiration and Influence Awards, various conferences, Coffee and Connections networking events, campaigns and more – our job is to make sure each event we work on is a complete success.

If that means dressing up in our ’80s wear like some of our staff did in the image above, so be it.

By the way, if you’d like to caddy for the event, become a sponsor or sign up –visit calwm.com/lady-classic, or send an email to ami@m3group.biz.



*Special thanks to Kellie’s Wooden Skate and Kellie’s Consignments for providing much of the 80’s costuming pictured.








Define Who You Are With The Right Logo

One of the first things that comes to mind when you think of a famous brand is the logo associated with the company. Your logo is a representation of your brand; it delivers a message you want to convey, evokes an emotional response and defines a business.

A well-designed logo can set you apart from competitors and help attract more customers. As a representation of your overall brand identity, potential customers viewing your logo can picture the values and benefits your business provides.

Having an effective company logo creates a connection between your business and potential customers. By displaying your logo on different marketing platforms, it becomes familiar to customers and, ultimately, builds trust between your customers and your business.

When creating a logo, it’s crucial to understand that the image is how you will be recognized by the public. People make snap judgments – accurate or otherwise – about images within moments of seeing them. An appealing logo can help kickstart your business and become your identity to potential customers.

Increasing brand awareness or brand recognition is one of the most beneficial things your logo can do for your company. It becomes a way for people to identify you and conveys a sentiment about how reliable your business or product is to consumers.

Something to consider when designing or redesigning your company logo is a color scheme. A company can use the color scheme of a logo to develop an emotional link to a product or brand. For example, green suggests happiness or energy and lavender can have a calming effect on the brain. Understanding how every component affects consumer perception is important because attracting more customers the overall objective of any business.

Interested in updating your logo? M3 Group has an award-winning team with PACE, ADDY, Davey, Earned Media and Communicator Awards that span multiple years for logos and more. Although original implementation is essential, the most critical element of any project is the effectiveness of the message to achieve the desired goals and objectives. Impeccable execution is what drives our work. We aim to provide tangible results for every project. Learn more about how we can redesign your company logo to reach ultimate results. Visit m3group.biz to get started today.


What Social Media can do for your Business

With the rapid growth of social media, every business should be leveraging proper social media channels in some way. Give your brand a social media touch. Engage with your customers, generate more business and improve your digital marketing efforts with social media. The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to digital marketing to reach the 2 billion active users on Facebook or Instagram.

According to a study done by HubSpot, 90 percent of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts had generated more exposure for their businesses. More and more businesses are successfully experimenting with social media advertising. 

Social media advertising can help build brand awareness. Unlike traditional advertising, social media allows you to reach out to target audiences through paid social ads. Social media promotions create an inbound marketing channel for businesses. You can specifically target the audience allowing your ad to reach peak performance and drive growth to your business.

Customers usually take to social media when trying to interact with a business. Social media is a more approachable way for people because it is a communication path that is less hassle for them. It allows a more personalized experience with the customer service departments. Along with offering that customer service aspect, businesses should also monitor conversations taking place regarding the company, broadcast important company announcements, answer all questions or concerns, and build relationships with customers via social media outlets. That helps enhance your brand’s loyalty to its customers.

Before applying any of the above recommendations, first be sure to create a strategic and solid social media strategy that is ready to be implemented. Utilize your social media accounts to show customers there is someone behind the screen that wants to help them. And finally, be consistent with your social media efforts to utilize your social media marketing efforts to the fullest capacity. 

Social media advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to spread your targeted message. M3 Group uses analytics and data to find the best use of your advertising and marketing dollars. Let us help you use your social media to its fullest potential. Visit M3Group.bizfor more information today.