15 Acts of Kindness – Donating Time, Mind and Heart

As part of our year-long MDG_15 Year Logo_Stacked_Colorcelebration we’re taking stock in what we believe. Last Thursday we kicked off “15 Acts of Kindness.” These acts are our team’s small way to contribute to our community because we believe that giving our time and talent can make a difference. We believe that no one should go hungry. Our annual #SignToGive campaign is one way we support this belief. #SignToGive will launch on Giving Tuesday – November 28, 2017 . Last week , we paused client work and came together for a community service day.

GtrChicagoFoodDepositoryWe volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Over 700 partners in Cook County benefit from the generous donations of food and volunteers. Together we hope to work towards the goal of ending hunger.

That’s 160,000 meals a day.

McKenna Design Group believes that we receive more than we give. We acknowledge the need to express gratitude every day. While packing enough chickens to feed 4,100 families, I watched as volunteers from across Greater Chicagoland came together. Everyone worked together, and, like a colony of ants, intuitively knew when to shift stations, help another team out, or pick up the slack. I was encouraged by the partnership, support and trust we all contributed to support meals for so many families in our community.

Hunger impacts 1 in 6 children. I’m grateful for the ability to make a difference, no matter how small.

Amazing Clients. Amazing Work.

I’m grateful for the opportunity our company has to work for so many amazing clients. We’re honored to be trusted with their brands and marketing communications.

Our 15 Acts of Kindness will help us round out our anniversary year. Sometimes even the smallest act of kindness can change someone’s day. I’m going to try.

Building Brands Since 2002 – 15 Year Fiesta

Little Agency. Big Story.

McKenna Design Group celebrates 15 years in 2017. We’re taking this year to take stock in the Olympic-learning since 2002. Because lessons are to be learned each step of the way. First, it’s a great way to thank our clients, and second, a great way to recognize the MDG team members who have created brands. Designed user experiences. Created memorable branded action. Connecting brands with members, customers and the market. Wow. A lot has changed since 2002.

15 Years of Change

To say the world has changed a lot in fifteen years is an understatement. It seems like the world has completely changed. For example:

We’ve learned a lot over 15 years. We continue to learn and improve. Every day. Building integrated marketing, customer journeys and branded user experiences that help our clients grow and succeed. Designing brands that drive engagement and build business.

Brands are like sharks. Keep swimming or sink. McKenna Design Group keeps swimming forward to continuously improve.

Check out how we’ve changed and grown since 2002:

The original
W-MDG logo-03

Elizabeth McKenna joins as Principal/Managing Partner


mdg moves into 725 Chicago Avenue – a design studio is formed


Celebrating 15 year years

MDG_15 Year Logo_Long_Color

What the Future Holds

Stick around to see how mdg brand continues to evolve and grow for the next fifteen.

Interested in a social media consultation? Email us: social@wmdesigngroup.com


*History and Growth of the Internet to Today

**InterBrand’s Best Global Brands

Cyber Monday – Providing Holiday Joy Click by Click

Black Friday has nothing on Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday. Don't miss the biggest online event all year.
Cyber Monday. Don’t miss the biggest online event all year.

After its inaugural launch in 2005, Cyber Monday has quickly grabbed a hold of Americans. The 2016 estimate is that 36% of Americans will shop on Cyber Monday according to the National Federation of Retailers. This represents a 2% increase over 2015.  In 2010 comScore measured a whopping $1 Billion in sales. That number is estimated to grow exponentially in 2016 to $3.3 Billion dollars, according to Forbes.

Online shopping provides holiday joy click by click. A great user experience can happen anywhere. With any device. There’s no long line. No constant bumping in the aisles. No crying toddlers (unless of course you have a crying toddler at your side).

Shoppers can have a tailored experience – over coffee in the morning, or with a beer in the evening. Whatever’s your pleasure is yours for the taking. A good digital strategy includes a brand-led experience balanced by understanding your targeted user and delivering how and when your customer is ready, willing and able.

The digital shopping world continues to increase its footprint and impact. Best practices shouldn’t be thrown out the window as you sell online. Now more than ever a good user experience is critical. 60-80% of  online shopping carts are abandoned. Marketers and e-commerce teams need to make the path to purchase as easy as possible and be able to evaluate the benefit of cross-sell / up-sell versus a distraction that take online shoppers of course completely. Who are you selling to and deliver an experience that has user-centered design at its core.

The Joy of Online Shopping

But returning to Joy. A great user experience is easy to spot. Provide a clear offer. Make the buy button easier to find and click. Keep related offers, the cross-sell / up-sell, available so that when I want the matching hat, gloves, scarf, it’s there. Spread joy by sharing your great experience if you are the recipient. Spread even more joy if you are the creator of the experience. Click. Click. Joy.

McKenna Design Group creates amazing experiences. In print, online and everywhere in between. We’d love to help you deliver Return on Experience. Find out more.

It’s Almost Thanksgiving. Get Ready for Black Friday.

One of our most-favorite ads this holiday season is for DSW and proudly proclaims they will NOT be open on Thanksgiving Day. We applaud them and wish other retailers would follow suit. In the quickly evolving, instant black-friday-mdggratification that technology has afforded us, we’ve lost track of the simplicity of doing nothing. Thanksgiving should be a day when you get to choose what you want to do: eat turkey, watch football, hang with family and friends. But the train moves forward…next stop Black Friday.

Black Friday is that awe-inspiring day so many look forward to: getting up early (or not even going to sleep) in a quest to get the most sought after, desired toys-tools-electronics-equipment at the most rock-bottom price.

How did Black Friday come to be?

The ‘official’ history and meaning of Black Friday supports the accounting practice of being in the red (deficient) and in the black (turning a profit). The idea goes that the day after Thanksgiving, hordes of people rush to stores with gobs of cash and retailers finally get out of the red and into the black. There are also some other more sinister stories regarding Black Friday dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. However, the profit-driven story that celebrates the retailer’s success is the one that stays.

Whether you’re ramping up for a bargain shopping jamboree, or you’re carefully curating a day of football and time with friends and family, one thing is for certain: Black Friday isn’t for Turkeys.

Forget Wheaties, Enjoy Deep-Fried Goodness

Doughnuts – the perfect finger food

November 5th is National Doughnut Day. This is one of our favorite holidays – when our nation comes together to enjoy fried goodness.

How was the doughnut created? Who first invented it? Was it intentional or by chance? Amazing how fried dough can stretch a smile a mile wide.

It’s said that the doughnut came to us via Holland and was originally called olykoeks–“oily cakes.”  Should the name “olykoeks” persisted, this fried pastry might not have survived and National Doughnut Day wouldn’t be the same as it is today.

Attendees at the National Association of Realtor®donut_day2 annual meeting were greeted with unexpected in the lobby of the Orlando Hyatt. What better way to start the morning than with a doughnut and a cup of coffee from the team at Hyatt Orlando.

The best brands do what’s expected extremely well: a smooth check-in process, a clean room that meets the needs of the business traveler, helpful and friendly staff. An extraordinary brand does the unexpected. What better way to surprise and delight conference attendees and hotel guests than with doughnuts with a side of coffee.

In recent years doughnuts have come to enjoy couture status – everything from maple glazed doughnuts topped with pepper-spiced bacon to literary-inspired (or cereal embraced?) Captain My Captain doughnuts from Voo Doo Doughnuts (Portland, Oregon’s favorite doughnutiere). Buying doughnuts from Voo Doo is a great customer experience. Especially when doughnuts are lined in a coffin. One thing is sure: no matter how you roll there’s a doughnut for you.

National Doughnut Day is worth a visit to the Windy City’a best donuts Firecake Donuts. Firecakes is where your grandmother’s kitchen meets designer flavors. Enjoy old fashioned favorites including a scrumptious buttermilk donut or reach for the islands and gobble up a coconut cream.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but a doughnut today is good medicine too.

#InaHyattWorld #NationalDoughtnutDay

Chicago Cubs’ Power Branding – the W Flag

“W” might stand for the women’s room, a hotel or something more powerful. In the month of October, W can be seen throughout the city of Chicago. The “W” flag flies high, in the window of office buildings, atop cupcakes and sundaes, as baseball hats and even on pizza. Chicago Cubs’ fans are an w_flag_flying_highexcellent example of the power of branding. Even though the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, the fervor and passion their fans demonstrate shows how a brand can capture the hearts and minds of customers.

The Chicago Tribune published an article about how American Airlines, the official airline of the Cubs, is advocating, supporting and living the Chicago Cubs’ brand by flying the W flag – literally – in their airplanes. A pilot has flown the “W” from the cockpit. A drink has been created to fuel fan enthusiasm. The Cubs have an airline and a city cheering them on.

Powerful brands create emotional connections with audiences. Brand Loyalty is the foundation of building brand Advocates. Chicago Cubs’ fans literally “live the brand” whether it’s a tattoo, a car license plate or the food they eat. Fans believe.


Not Only for Ball Players
Seeing W flags in lobby windows of office buildings lining Wacker Drive, reminds me of the 1994 movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” where New York City bands together in solidarity showing “We Believe.”

The Chicago Cubs are primed for success in 2016. Forget about the curse of the goat, black hat or other. If the energy of the Chicago fans was enough to make it not only to the World Series but then to win then the Cubs would emerge successful. Chicago Cubs’ fan believe with the energy and fervor reserved for the truly faithful. The ultimate loyalists…and advocates.

After two wins in LA, the Cubs are up a game. Games 6 and 7 are scheduled for Wrigley Field. The timing might just be right for a “W” pizza, blue and red layer cake and a sundae with blue sprinkles and a cherry on top.

What happens when the Cubs win? The “W” flag will fly…even higher.

Giordano's W Pizza
Chicago’s Giordano’s pizzeria embraces the W flag and reinterprets for pizza.

McKenna Design Group is a full-service marketing communications and technology firm in Chicago. Hire us and we'll develop integrated, results-driven solutions. Our promise? Return on Experience.® We build a brand so customers advocate for you.

GSA NAICS Codes 541430, 541511, 541613, 541810, 541910