Archive for the ‘General’ Category

“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.

5 Tips to Move Past a Sales Funk

Posted March 6, 2014, by

We all have periods of time, in our sales lives, where nothing seems to work, absolutely nothing. If you feel down or a bit off your game, it’s time to make changes.

Below are some tips that I use to move past my sales “funk”…Those times when you just can’t get a reply, when you’ve done everything except sit in your client’s parking lot waiting by their car…

  1. Music. Ask your office DJ to play some jams. Music, to most, is a getaway from the often times noisy and distracting world. It can help you get focused and can be used as a motivational tool. Just turn down the Snoop Dog jams before making your next call. Your potential client may not share your same great taste in music.
  2. Follow up with past clients. How long has it been since you have reached out? Even if it’s just to say hello, there may have been a change in circumstance and they may need you again. Besides, talking to clients you already know and have a great relationship with is an awesome way to practice your sales lingo.
  3. Cheese Balls. This pretty much states its case. Who DOESN’T love some orange fingers, cheesy, fake air balls as a break every once in a while?! Simply. Delicious.
  4. Take a walk. Sometimes a change of scenery is something that we all need whether you’re in sales or the CEO of a nationwide chain. Take some time to re-direct your motivation. Most often I think of my sweet little family at home and the little boy who demands loads of animal crackers, trains, juice, kisses, books and one day…college!
  5. Burn the past. The past is dead, so get rid of it. If your last five clients said ‘no,’ so what? Just keep going…

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” Dr. Seuss

80 Things Remembered from the 80s

Posted March 4, 2014, by

As we gear up for the radest party in town, The 80s Flashback Fundraiser, I thought it would be fun to do a list of 80 things that I remember from that fun decade. Granted I was a young child of the 80s, but I still do look back on that time quite fondly. Hopefully as you read over this list it will spark a memory or two for you and entice you to join us for some fun on March 22 at the CAWLM 80s Flashback Fundraiser!

  1. Book It
  2. Pac Man
  3. Trapper Keeper’s
  4. Care Bear’s
  5. Strawberry Shortcake
  6. Cabbage Patch Kids
  7. Garbage Pail Kids
  8. The Cosby Show
  9. Full House
  10.  Po Go Ball
  11.  New Kids On The Block
  12.  Big Hair
  13.  Double Dare
  14.  Smurfs
  15.  Jelly Shoes
  16.  T-shirt Clips
  17.  Fraggle Rock
  18.  Tight Rolled Jeans
  19.  Body Suits
  20.  Slap Bracelets
  21.  Cyndi Lauper
  22.  Big Hair
  23.  Neon
  24.  Dirty Dancing
  25.  Mr. Scent Markers
  26.  Glo Worms
  27.  Plastic Charm Bracelets (which I still have some pieces to)
  28.  Popples
  29.  The side pony
  30.  Get in Shape, Girl
  31.  My Little Pony
  32.  Rainbow Brite
  33.  Scrunchies
  34.  Pound Puppies
  35.  Caboodle’s
  36.  The Swatch Watch
  37.  Kirk Cameron
  38.  Any Molly Ringwald Movie
  39.  Penpal Letters
  40.  Teen Beat
  41.  See Thru Telephones
  42.  Hulk Hogan (yes, sadly my sisters and I were obsessed with wrestling)
  43.  Banana Clips
  44.  Scratch n’ Sniff Stickers
  45.  Cootie Catchers
  46.  Debbie Gibson
  47.  Leg Warmers
  48.  The Facts of Life
  49.  Fruit Stripe Gum
  50.  Troll Dolls
  51.  Baton Class
  52.  Friendship Bracelets
  53.  Floppy Discs
  54.  YM Magazine
  55.  Fashion Plates
  56.  Punky Brewster
  57.  Have I mentioned the Hair
  58.  Koosh Balls
  59.  Sit and Spin
  60.  Puffy Stickers
  61.  Rubix Cube
  62.  Snoopy Snow Cone Maker
  63.  Sticker Books
  64.  Stirrup Pants
  65.  Alf
  66.  Rabbits Foot
  67.  “Sit ubu Sit” Commercial
  68.  Supermarket Sweep
  69.  Pay Phones
  70.  Roller Skates
  71.  Karate Kid
  72.  Mr. Bubble
  73.  Metal Merry Go Round at the Park
  74.  Card Catalogue at the Library
  75. 35mm Film
  76.  Canopy Beds
  77.  Candy Sugar in the plastic Fruit Shapes
  78.  Croquet
  79.  Silly Putty
  80.  Jelly Bracelets

5 Social Media Marketing Tips

Posted February 27, 2014, by

Everyone wants to use social media as a marketing tool. It’s popular, easy to track and you can do it from any computer. But how do you use it well? There’s a fine line between putting things up on the internet randomly and actually making an impact with what you’re saying.  Here are some of the most important tips to know about social media marketing:

  1. Be consistent.
    If you’re going to seriously try to build a social media presence, you need to be constant (constant vigilance, as Professor Mad-Eye Moody would say). You should make a post on every social media outlet you have at least once a day, for every business day of the week.
  2. Timing is everything.
    Do you have something exciting to share? Wait for the right moment. Social media has trending times of the day, just like everything else. Most social media sites have analytic tools that allow you to see what times of the day your fans are most active. Use these to your advantage, and be sure to post content during your peak time of day.
  3. It’s not all about you.
    We get it, your company is fantastic. And we believe you! But not everyone wants to hear about you all the time. Retweet, share or repost things that are related to your industry or something cool/exciting that’s happening in your community. Trust us, your readers will most definitely notice. They’ll not only look to you for what’s happening in your company, but what’s happening around them as well.
  4. Respond, respond, respond.
    Don’t forget to write people back! You need to be up to date on what sort of comments people are leaving you on your social media. That way, you know what your reader’s feelings are, and you’re interacting with them as much as possible.
  5. Know what’s going on across the board.
    If you have multiple social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), make sure you have consistency across the board. If you like one company on Facebook, follow them on Twitter as well. Make sure to keep an updated database of your social media followers/friends/connections. This lets you know exactly who you’ve connected with, and who you should consider reaching out to.

Social media varies from person to person, and from company to company. This list just highlights a few of the key aspects you should try to strive for in a social media presence. The internet is a fantastic tool, as long as you know how to use it to your advantage.