Tag Archives: graphicdesign

Our brand story – The Beauty of All Things Connected

Our brand story con

From an early age, it has been my desire to see and spread beauty. This purpose has enhanced my love for nature and design and the appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things. Connecting nature, beauty, and design is the key component of our brand story. It is because of what makes me stop and take a picture in a city park, a foggy forest or a trendy restaurant. It has inspired interest in landscape design, interior design, jewelry, and fashion design. All the design things. Consequently, show me a clever graphic design on retail packaging with an inspiring brand story, and you’ve got an instant brand ambassador.

The appreciation of nature and beauty encouraged me to pursue graphic design training and launch Connection Group, Inc. As a result, for over two decades the Connection Group team has created beautiful logos, beautiful graphic designs, and beautiful publications that people pay attention to.

Connection Group Brand Story

Beauty is our purpose, design is our talent, and increased connection is our mission.

“In nature, we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This partnership of beauty and nature and the belief that everything is connected was the inspiration behind our name. As a graphic designer, the patterns in nature and beauty in natural form have always captivated me. My morning dog walks in nature remind me to be grateful and slow down and enjoy the beauty around me. These moments allow me to ease into my day with gratitude and clarity. I then bring to my work a creator’s mind and an artist’s eye.

Recently, a TED Radio Hour presenter on climate change expressed his belief that humans will outlive nature. Humans will live on but they will have to live without trees. No trees, no beauty. I began to wonder how much we take for granted the role nature places in defining what beauty is?  What of living without beauty, without the beauty of trees? What kind of world will it be without the sight of a tulip tree in bloom, an apple tree at harvest time, a Michigan sugar maple aglow in October? Trees encompass all of the elemental rules of design; symmetry, color, organic line, patterns, textures, and placement. Like a beautiful design, they evoke a response.

#aTreeaDay

all-things-connect-a-tree-a-dayIn response, I have slowed my walk in my favorite parks and dirt roads. I started seeing each tree individually and as a connection to each other and all of us. I started connecting with them and photographing them. The beauty of nature, the beauty of a forest of trees, the beauty of that one special tree that makes you gasp every time you see it. I am celebrating nature’s beauty in the Connection Group #aTreeaDay posts. I want to share the wonder and variety and strength and power and fortitude that is the beauty of each tree. Each day we share a tree on our social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We encourage you to spread beauty and share #aTreeaDay to our outposts too.

People find beauty in many things; in other people, architecture, art, cars, shoes, a new Apple anything, the list goes on. If sharing a favorite tree of the day helps people remember to breathe and appreciate beauty we have succeeded in our mission. I can’t think of a better depiction of our brand story, than honoring our personal practice to connect with everyone through recognizing and spreading beauty. This includes creating beautiful marketing materials for our customers and sharing posts of trees that remind you to slow down and take a long, beautiful breath.

“All things are connected like the blood that unites us. We do not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” – Chief Seattle

Stay connected!

People Helping People: Social Media Strategies for Small Business

Social Media Startegies for Small Bsuiness February Blog graphic

Making Connections In Social Media

You can find top 10 lists on social media strategies for small business all around the internet.  Some tips are complicated, some cost money, some require a lot of time. The social media strategies small businesses seldom consider is keeping it ‘social’. Start with securing your pages on applicable social media sites, posting regularly, and engaging authentically with others. Sharing, liking and commenting on business pages you follow will create camaraderie and your contacts will show their appreciation by reciprocating and engaging with your content.

Following are the top social media players companies choose to engage on social media. There are so many more social media platforms like SnapChat, Tumblr, Quora, etc. If you find a specific social media platform has captured your target market – make sure you are there too!

1. Facebook

Facebook now offers business pages the opportunity to follow other company pages. Follow customers, vendors or local organizations you support and share their posts. You can also follow your competition and see what posts are working best for them.
Task: Make a list of pages to follow

Remember to engage with those favorite pages. Like, share or comment on the pages you follow. Your customer will appreciate that you engaging with them on Facebook. It may even inspire them to add a review on your Facebook business page.

Utilize the large area on the top of your business Facebook page with a creative Facebook cover photo graphic that inspires people or offers a discount specific to only your Facebook followers.

Are you now asking what’s the size of a Facebook cover photo? Take a look at standard sizes on our social media graphic sizes cheat sheet.

Task: What discounts or specials could you offer on your Facebook cover photo this month? What about next month?  Make a list for the year to keep ahead!

2. Twitter

Follow industry leaders who share great content and retweet them, when they feel your love and retweet your posts your Twitter handle will be seen by all of their followers. Express your appreciation to vendors, customers, and friends with #hashtags such as #followfriday suggestions for mutual love. Tag events in posts #newyears, #cybersale, locally used hashtags like #lovelansing or  industry hashtags like #graphicdesign.

Task: Make a list of Industry Leaders to follow for great retweets!
Include them in your next Follow Friday (#FF) tweet.

You can also search by hashtag to see what is being tweeted on a specific subject, such as your industry (#webdesign) or a sports team (#detroitredwings). The results will be posts by others who have used the same hashtag in their tweets. For instance if I use #graphicdesign in a tweet and you search #graphicdesign my post will come up as a result in your search along with others who have included the same hashtag.

Task: Make a list of local popular hashtags to use to make connections.
(#LoveLansing, #GrandRapids, etc.)

3. LinkedIn

The place to be for B2B. It’s true, Linkedin is full of job recruiters. Linkedin doesn’t offer the addictive attraction that Facebook does but chances are your business connections are here. Linkedin is where you find vendors, employees, customers and business tips without the cat videos. First upgrade to a professional profile and secure your Linkedin , pinterest boaardscompany page. Find a few company pages you would like to follow (trade organizations, vendors, customers, others with large followers) and request them to follow your company page. We’d love to have you follow ours too!

Task: Make a list of LInkedin company pages to follow

Recommendations:

Give recommendations for your Linkedin contacts. They will get an alert that you recommended them, the alert will be posted in the Linkedin newsfeed and others will see that you are actively recommending others. It’s a kind way to get in the front of people’s minds and remind them that you appreciate their talents and remind them that they may want to recommend you too! Make sure you are making authentic recommendations! Don’t recommend somebody for their marketing ability when you don’t know if they acutally do a good job with marketing.

Task: Make a list of people you could provide authentic recommendations for of your LinkedIn followers.

Get into groups and comment!
Groups are huge in Linkedin. Look for ones of interest in your industry and share insights to the members, receive advice, hear about trends, comment on posts, post specials or offers, get leads, etc. Each time you post or comment Linkedin will add it to the page feed of all your Linkedin connections. Sharing others posts, commenting on them, will boost their reach too. Being a member of a group also allows you to friend request anyone in the group and correspond with them without knowing their email or having worked with them before – it’s a great way to introduce yourself to a prospect.

Task: Make a list of groups you can search for and join today

4. Pinterest / Instagram

Although very different these two social media applications are similar in the fact that they are centered around images. ‘Nobody reads on the internet anymore’, ‘a picture says a 1000 words’… you’ve heard it all before. A younger female audience has embraced these two social media apps. The Pinterest audience is crossing over multiple generations and members are increasing quickly. Instagram is primarily tweens through 30-somethings. Both apps have high engagement and now allow for private/direct messaging to followers. As you post your clever product, funny or inspiring photos remember to add #hashtags and share the love:

Task: Log on to Pinterest or Instagram and follow other peoples pages or profiles that post or pin like minded items.

Task: Identify people and pages that use your product in clever ways. Recognize them, thank them, share their posts and add it to your list of products uses. 

Task: Create Pinterest pages that highlight your product or service:

Task: Host an Instagram Giveaway – think about what photos your customers could post and create a #hashtag (for a coffee shop post picture of your #favoritecoffeecup, or a tree service company #afterstormphotos…).

Google+ and YouTube:

Secure your Google+ page and increase contacts and your Google rating. While you are at it secure your company location on Google Maps. Embed YouTube videos from your company YouTube channel or videos of interest to your customers right on your Google+ page.

Find friends, customers, vendors and add reviews. These reviews come up when others search keyword terms in their industry or search by their company name. Results will show their company, location, photos, contact info and reviews. Talk about cheap advertising and an easy way to support your colleagues!

Task: Make a list of  videos and content you can can add to your Google+ page to increase exposure

Task: Create target lists (Google circles) – Google+ separates connections into circles your define. You can target information to specific circles.

Task: Determine segments you can set up to announce specific content to each audience.

TaskL Create a Goggle+ Hangout:
You can offer live streaming weekly or monthly webinars to educate your customers. What are the top products or services customers would like? How-to-videos or step-by-step installations, customer testimonials, inspirational videos, etc.

Task: Make a list of webinar subjects you can cover that are of interest to your customers

You didn’t imagine social media strategies for small business was such a big deal?  Just remember, success comes when you practice kindness —keep it social.  Build your online relationships one share at a tim