Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Get Involved in the Arts in 2015!

Posted December 11, 2014, by

It’s funny sometimes how things in life come full-circle. In the fall of 2013, I had one of those moments in that I was approached to manage the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit. Although this is a typical project that I would take on here at M3 Group, this time it had a bit of a nostalgic feel. Not only am I a huge advocate for the arts in our community, and especially in our schools, I had won a prize in the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit my senior year of high school. Now I have the pleasure of organizing this opportunity for other budding artists.

If you’ve never been to or heard of the event, here’s the deal: Every school from around the Greater Lansing region has the opportunity to submit student art work to be displayed at MSUFCU’s Headquarters throughout the month of February. The pieces are also displayed at msufcuart.com, so people can vote both in person and online.

There are several awards for student’s to win, all of which are decided by hand written votes (submitted at the exhibit) votes submitted via social media. The People’s Choice award is given to the top three pieces with the most votes from these venues. There is also a Social Media winner, designated by receiving the most ‘likes’ on Facebook, as well as a School Spirit award for the school with the most participating supporters. Then there is the Juried Choice award, given to three students who have been selected by our esteemed panel of judges.

Some of the past judges have included Debbie Mikula, Executive Director of Arts Council of Greater Lansing; Alice Brinkman, Director of Reach Studio Art Center; Leyna Lightman, Manager of Education at the Broad Art Museum; Jon Frey, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at MSU; and Zahrah Resh, local artist.

Last year we received almost 10,000 votes from people visiting the headquarters and website. This year we hope to get even more. This year we are particularly focusing on making it possible for companies or individuals to purchase their favorite artwork.

We are lucky to live in a community that supports these types of programs for students. This exhibit gives them a chance to competitively share their pieces and strive to improve their skills. As viewers, we reap the benefit by getting to enjoy these amazing pieces. I hope you visit MSUFCU’s Headquarters to view the pieces, vote and encourage others to do the same. You can also stay updated on the viewing times and see the artwork by liking the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit Facebook page.

 

Here are a few of last year’s winners:

 

First Place Juried Choice

 

 

 

Second Place Juried Choice

 

 

 

Third Place Juried Winner & First Place People's Choice Winner

 

 

 

 

Second Place People's Choice

 

Third Place People's Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Black Friday Killing Christmas?

Posted December 4, 2014, by

Maybe I’m becoming cynical in my old age. Maybe I’m reflecting on my childhood and remembering a more civilized Christmas holiday. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m finding that Christmas is about much more than getting a 60” LED TV for less than a grand. To me, Black Friday has officially become a poison that the masses don’t mind drinking.

From an economic standpoint, I’d be crazy not to acknowledge the sales that come along with the madness of November’s last Friday. Even with a sales “decline” in 2014, Black Friday still generated over $50 billion across the U.S this year (Source: National Retail Federation). Worse yet, there are multi-billion dollar ad-buys amongst the nation’s largest retailers in October and November, enticing shoppers to come in for the post-Thanksgiving rush.

As an “Ad-Man”, I find myself having an opinion on most every commercial I view or hear. Christmas used to be one of my favorite times of the year for ads, when the quality went up and the message focused on the holiday itself. But In recent years, I can’t tell you I recall any memorable Christmas focused ads; instead, I remember shouting matches among big-box retailers urging me to ‘Come on in’ shortly after my Thanksgiving feast. Wholesome Christmas greetings from your favorite companies have now been replaced by the deal of the day. How nice.

I’m hoping we get back to an era where companies are more interested in the consumer and the season, rather than the sales spike. There are already multiple retailers that have taken a stance against the absurdity of opening on Thanksgiving evening; this is a step in the right direction, but ultimately it will take a cultural change before retailers (and advertisers for that matter) catch on. Let’s get back to a time where Santa is the spokesman, implores you to be good little boys and girls and then takes a nice long drink of his Coca-Cola.

Skip the lines, the traffic and the madness and get back to a place where you buy a product because it might have connected to you personally. All in all, there are much better things for you to be doing with your time during the holiday season; there is no need to have a throw-down with a senior citizen over a $29 tablet. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

 

A few suggestions to have a happy holiday:

Don’t do this.

Try this instead!

57 Things That Are More Fun Than Black Friday Shopping

 

 

 

 

All About That 80s Bass

Posted November 24, 2014, by

Being a kid of the 80s brings with it a love of all things 80s.  With the Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine 80s Flashback Fundraiser coming up in May, it is never too early to start thinking about warm weather and big hair! Here are some of my all-time favorite movie and music moments from this crazy decade.

Let’s start with the movies. Here are three of my favorites:

Top Gun – I am Dangerous scene

 

The Breakfast Club (There are so many good scenes in this movie, so I just went with the trailer.)

 

Back to the Future – Johnny B. Goode scene

 

Now to the music.

I don’t think I could pick a favorites list, so I’ll just remind you all of some of the best MTV videos, from Pop to Big Hair to New Wave.

Remember these?

 

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

 

Be sure to join us in May at the Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine 80s Flashback Fundraiser.  Bring your big hair and leg warmers and get ready to rock out with our 80s cover band, Starfarm!

“I wouldn’t trade her for gold”: A Review of “Once”

Posted October 16, 2014, by

This past week I happened upon two tickets to see the Tony-Award winning show Once at the Wharton Center. The last time I went to a theater to see a live show was with my dad to see “Peter Pan” and I was about eight years old. Needless to say, it had been awhile.

I didn’t know much about Once before I arrived. What I knew was that it was a romance story, supposedly with a few nontraditional twists and what was reportedly an incredible soundtrack. What I didn’t know was how much of an emotional, heartbreaking performance it would turn out to be.

Upon arriving at the theater, I was surprised to see audience members up on stage with the cast and crew (even if I don’t attend the theater often I at least know that’s not exactly a norm.) About 15 minutes before the show started, the cast came together and started singing Irish folk songs, warming up and clearly enjoying themselves. They let the audience members stay on stage as part of the experience and even took requests, making jokes and engaging onlookers the entire time.

I sat in my seat, waiting for the curtain call to signify the start of the show. But none came. Instead, audience members slowly made their way back to their seats as the lights dimmed and suddenly, the show began.

During the show, I laughed, cringed and had tears in my eyes as the story of a simple guy and girl was told with beautiful music. With witty dialogue, physical humor and just the right amount of profanity, Once grabbed me by the hand and took me on a wonderful journey I won’t soon forget.

The story involves an Irish street performer (or “busker”) who’s ready to give up on his music. Just when he’s ready to quit for good, he meets a girl who becomes instantly drawn to his songs, insisting that he stick with his dream. She convinces him that his true destiny lies within his music and (with a little determination and a lot of stubbornness), persuades him to continue with his dream.

Over the next seven days, the two become fast friends and begin to realize that their feelings for each other go beyond the music they’re creating. But things aren’t so simple; with a past flame holding him back and a current one keeping her occupied, their love story is one that is genuine yet complicated.

Throughout the show, the entire cast is present on stage, supporting the story with the wonderful sounds of violin, guitar, accordion and more. The music is hauntingly beautiful, gentle enough to remind you that it is indeed a love story, yet sad enough to warn you that the ending will most likely not be a happy one. Even though you can sense things aren’t going to end the way you want them to, you can’t help but cheer for the unlikely couple until the very end.

This morning as I was driving to work at M3 I was listening to an interview on 97.5 FM with Donna Garner, who plays Baruška, the mother of “Girl” (the female lead). She was discussing the show and said something that I found to be incredibly accurate:

“This is a show that will make you laugh your head off and then, in the same moment, make you cry your eyes out.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Once will be at the Wharton Center through this Sunday, October 19. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.whartoncenter.com.

M3 Group – Our Video Blogs

Posted July 1, 2014, by

These are videos produced by M3 Group! Contact Us today to find out how we can move your Brand Forward!

YMCA Video Blogs

See more YMCA Video’s produced by M3 Group by clicking here

 

CBRE EAST END (Midland)

 

MSUFCU Tech Spot

 

Lansing Chamber PAC Video


 

Soldans Pet Commercial


 

Legend Impact Partnership Video


 

Finally: Our very own produced video highlighting M3 Group’s Services

Productivity: Reality or Myth?

Posted May 7, 2014, by

Monday mornings are not something anybody looks forward to. It’s the start of a new week, and generally means that there’s five whole days before another glorious weekend. So how can anyone plan on getting anything done with that kind of attitude? Here’s a list of helpful hints to get you going for the week:

 

 

 

 

1. Eat a good breakfast. Our society tells us it’s all about “go, go, go”, but don’t forget to stock up before you race out the door. Eating breakfast gets your brain going in the morning, and is more likely to make you happier. Nobody wants a “hangry” person hanging around.

2. Make a to-do list. Go into work with an idea of what you want to get accomplished that day. Generally speaking, writing things down is more effective than just saying you plan on doing something. The written list is a constant reminder throughout the day, and will help keep you on track. You also get the satisfaction of crossing things off the list, which is always fun.

3. Get yourself comfortable. If you’re set on getting something done, set yourself up for success. Find your headphones, kick your heels off, or get a comfier chair; whatever you have to do to make yourself comfortable to sit and get things done for a few hours, do it.

4. Take a break. If you’ve been working hard all day, it’s more than acceptable to take a break every so often. Sitting in a desk for eight hours straight is not only impossible but also complete torture. Walk around the block, chat with a coworker for a few minutes, or catch-up on the latest tweets. Giving your brain a fun break for a few minutes does more good than harm.
5. Reward yourself. Being productive doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your day as well. Did you finish an article? Edit a proposal? Finalize a logo? Good for you! Remind yourself that you’re working as hard as you can, and reward yourself. That can be going to happy hour after work, or stopping by your favorite ice cream place after work. Whatever your reward is, make it a good one. And remember, you earned it.

Going to work might not be your favorite thing to do, but it can be more enjoyable if you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day. This list isn’t foolproof, but it should help you cross some things off your to do list. And don’t forget – if you don’t finish it today, there’s always tomorrow.

 

 

Resumes: Go Big or Go Home

Posted April 9, 2014, by

When you’re job hunting, everyone goes on and on about how important your resume is. After all, it’s supposed to be a snapshot of you on a piece of paper. But how do you make it memorable? Here are a few tips to help set you apart from the rest.

  1. There is no perfect template. When you’re building your resume, remember; there is no winning formula that will secure you a job. Tailor your resume to whatever job you’re applying to. You don’t have to include an objective, then list your skill sets, then list your education experience, blah blah blah. Don’t be afraid to minimize and include just what’s important, not what’s boring and to be expected.
  2. Don’t be afraid of a little color. Resumes don’t necessarily have to be black and white. Go ahead and use an easy-to-read color, like a dark purple or green. If you’re feeling daring, you can even print it on colored paper, Elle Woods style (remember her pink and scented resume? Now that’s memorable.)
  3. Proof read. This is the real world – spelling counts. This is sort of a given, but it is one of the most important things to remember. Proof read your resume, then do it again, and then have someone else read through it as well. Nothing is worse than reading someone’s resume and noticing that they didn’t check grammar and spelling.
  4. Pictures are still more interesting than words, even to adults. There’s always the option to put a picture or graphic on your resume to liven things up a bit. This is a great technique that can definitely help you stand out from the crowd. But be warned; make sure your picture is appropriate and relevant. Take care in choosing an image that has meaning and will send the right message to your potential future employer.

Your resume is usually the first impression most employers will get from you, so make it a good one. These tips aren’t guarantees, but they will definitely set you in the right direction on the job search.

Tips for Building a Solid Client Relationship

Posted April 3, 2014, by

One of the most important things to do in a relationship is make the other person feel special. The relationship between you and your clients share this, and many other aspects, in common.

Think about the best relationship you’ve ever been in. Or better yet, think about all the best things from a few relationships. What made you feel loved? How did you make your partner feel special? Many times, we can apply these actions somehow to our work with clients.

First, just like the dating process, get to know your client. Knowing their preferences, weaknesses, strengths and business will help you win their hearts. Have an extremely busy and scattered client? Try to be extra-organized for them. Bring extra copies of materials to meetings in case they forget them and get to the point if they’ve got a hectic day. Make your meeting the easiest part of their day. Think about this like having dinner ready for your sweetie when he or she gets home from a long day.

Once you know some weaknesses of your “other half,” try to fill that void. Be the puzzle piece that fits perfectly into their world. Perhaps you have a client that is bad with emails. Instead of sending three follow up urgent emails, give them a call. If you’re really looking to score some brownie points, dropping gifts with hard copies by their office can be great reminders to follow up on matters.

As your relationship progresses, keep the long-term goals in mind. Hopefully you have established what you plan to get out of the relationship and some tangible ways to measure the progress toward that goal. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. They aren’t just paying you to help your bottom line; they’re expecting to achieve their dreams with you. Never let your client feel like you’ve lost sight of your role in their life. After all, you’re their knight in shining armor.

 

How to Create Your Own Personal Brand

Posted April 1, 2014, by

A great way to make a lasting impression on a future employer is to have a strong personal brand. It may not seem important when it comes to building your resume, but don’t you want to leave a little tid-bit behind that makes you stick out of the crowd? You can add color and dimension to your resume, or possibly an interesting font that represents your characteristics. These are concepts that stand out when it comes to the hiring process. Don’t know where to begin? Here are some tips to get you started.

1.)   Think about what colors represent you. What’s your favorite color? Looking for more of a professional feel? (if you’re not in the creative field) – then stick with black and grey tones or use minimal color.

2.)   Find your favorite font. There are millions of fonts out there! Find a font that you think represents you. Just use this particular font for your name and possibly the header of your resume. Be sure that the font is free. You can find free fonts on the web including these websites: http://www.dafont.com/ http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ https://www.google.com/fonts

3.)   Pick out a background, header or border for your brand. You could do something as simple as a border, or you can create something interesting like a chevron header. Be sure to play with all of these options so you can find what suits you best.

4.)   Make your own logo. This definitely is optional, but this is something that will for sure make you stand out. Your own logo could be your signature, your initials or your silhouette. You can make it anything you want, as long as it’s something that simply represents you. Be sure that your logo is made small enough to put on your brand materials.

5.)   Repeat your brand as much as you can. Impressions are another way to make you stand out. The more someone sees your brand the more they’ll think of you. This means you can replicate your brand by producing thank you cards and business cards. Create your own website using your theme, as well as putting it on Facebook and Twitter as your cover image and background image. This will show that you have consistency and professionalism.

6.)   Add your social media logos to your branding materials. If your social media profiles suite your career, there’s nothing wrong with extra networking. Place a small LinkedIn or Twitter logo on your resume and your business card for a little extra touch to your brand.

Depending on what you are applying for and where, be sure to alter and change your branding materials according to the company. If you feel that social media logos and different colors are not appropriate according to the company you’ve researched, simply remove those details.

 

Happy branding!

  

 

Reaching Consumers Through the Clutter

Posted March 25, 2014, by

As consumers, we are constantly processing ads. TV, radio, billboards, grocery stores, store window signs and even sidewalks all have things for us to look at. We’re surrounded by advertising all of the time, no matter where we go. So, from a marketing standpoint, how do you get through? How do you reach that consumer that’s already seen 75 ads today and it’s only 3 p.m.?

The trick is to find what works for your specific product and match it with your consumers. If you’re trying to reach a certain demographic, there has to be a reason for that, right? Take Old Spice for example. They’re targeting young adult males with their new campaign featuring moms crying over their boys growing up. They’ve created the perfect moment for their consumers: Old Spice creates a “manly man,” which gets them girls and makes them appear grown up in their mother’s eyes. And you want to know what? Not only are they reaching their target audience with this idea, they’re also reaching their families. How much do you want to bet the next time Johnny’s mom goes to the store and she asks him if he needs anything, the conversation goes something like this: “Do you need any bathroom stuff? Oh, how about some cologne or body wash? I always see those Old Spice commercials, they’re so wacky. Do you use Old Spice?” It’s the idea that she would even suggest Old Spice as a brand that gives you a reference for just how successful that ad campaign has been. It’s clear that Old Spice has found their connection to their consumers.

Here’s the video for the Old Spice “Moms Song” ad:

This ad pretty much sums up what today’s advertising is all about. It can’t just be about informing consumers about how great your product is anymore. You have to grab their attention in a way that’s memorable and makes a real connection. And because we’ve become so desensitized to ads, our expectations are higher. As a company, you better come with your A Game because as consumers, we expect nothing less.