The holiday season is the perfect time of year to take a moment to appreciate all that you have. It is unfortunate that not everyone is as lucky as I am. During the year, and especially at the holidays, I try to give back. With children dreaming of Santa coming, I typically donate to organizations that support children who need help to make their holidays special. This year, my entire family has decided to adopt children, families, elderly and even shelter animals instead of exchanging gifts in hopes of making an even bigger impact in our communities and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
This year, I encourage everyone to give back to the people in your community that need it most. Even the smallest donation can impact someone’s life. There are great organizations locally and nationwide that would love your support. If you’re a shopper like me, find an organization that allows you to donate purchased items. If time is not on your side, organizations would be grateful for your donation of any size so they will be able to purchase things that are needed most.
As part of our year-long celebration 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.
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.
Know thy member. Understanding the evolving needs of members and identifying gaps to align your strategic plan is imperative. Where to allocate budgets, what programs to focus on and how to prioritize scarce staff resources. So what’s the best course of action? Should you conduct a member needs assessment or invest in a focus group? Or both? Consider the following:
The biggest pros:
Online surveys are very efficient
The data does not lie
It’s a scanning exercise that leads to planning
Don’t assume you know what members are thinking – focus on the facts. Surveys capture contemporary feedback from wide audience segments with concrete results that can be analyzed and presented to your Board.
For next year or the next three years, these can provide an excellent, objective backdrop to strategically plan:
Insights into member value (what’s valuable)
Behavior (what do they use)
Communication preferences (which channels and how often)
This is a critical management step to determine how to drive engagement and value through your association’s programs and services.
“McKenna Group’s work on our member survey was vital to the creation of our new marketing plan. We now have a much better understanding of the value that we provide our membership and the best way to structure our value proposition.”
Bill Head Director of Communications MetroTex Association of REALTORS®
Why conduct a focus group?
Dig deeper into the minds of your members
Allow key stakeholders to share first-hand perspectives and feedback on a variety of high-level topics: your association’s programs, services and delivery channels
Being able to ask follow-up questions and read body language can be vital to getting the truth on how members feel about current and future programming. It’s critical to have the CSE (chief staff executive) and CEO (chief elected officer) help to steward the process to invite attendees but no ask questions directly.
Hiring a third-party facilitator often provides the necessary “let your hair down” atmosphere to hear members’ blunt input and probe deeper. A recapping deliverable is often helpful to provide CSE and Board insights and member preferences. This can become the bedrock for strategic planning efforts and keeps the Board thinking strategically and engaged.
McKenna Design Group
With over 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, McKenna Design Group supports scanning, planning and implementing a wide range of association solutions including:
Successful focus groups
Increased member engagement
The best solution is catered to the specific needs of your association and goals of your Board. Contact MDG.
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:
Facebook didn’t exist. Neither did LinkedIn or Twitter
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:
2002: The original
Elizabeth McKenna joins as Principal/Managing Partner
mdg moves into 725 Chicago Avenue – a design studio is formed
2017 Celebrating 15 year years
What the Future Holds
Stick around to see how mdg brand continues to evolve and grow for the next fifteen.
The awkward Best Picture announcement at the Oscars Sunday could have been avoided. Regardless of how Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway got ahold of the wrong envelope. The horrible user experience that followed was unnecessary. Presenters should be able to tell the category through even a glance. Thanks to weak typography and illogical hierarchy the wrong winner was declared amid confusion.
The All-Powerful Hierarchy
Best practices of content hierarchy ensure accuracy and a much better user experience for the presenters and the winners. Legibility, scan-ability and readability are all hot buttons when we design. Here’s how we’d redesign the card:
The award name is at the bottom, tiny and oblique. Easily missed, as evidenced by Beatty’s confusion on stage. We moved the name of the award to the top of the card in large, all caps type. Beatty would have immediately known that he had the wrong envelope and the La La Land/Moonlight debacle would not have occurred.
The winning name is too small and blends in with the subhead. We differentiated the two pieces of information by using all caps and bold type on the primary winner and smaller, lowercase for the other information.
The use of the Oscars Logo at the top of the card (the largest element!) is an unnecessary waste of space. The logo can stand strong, smaller at the bottom of the card.
This mistake is reminiscent of the “hanging chad” issue from 2000. The artistry of excellent design is transparent. Like Shakespeare’s negative capability, well designed work brings the message to the forefront. Good design is good business.
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.
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 gratification 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.
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® 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.
In the red forest that blanketed the earth like a sea of roses, when time sang with the voice of the earth mother, when the tides of time, in rising, swelled, full of like, when milky breasts flowed endlessly, and it was the beginning, and life reflected the blood-red day, and I was new, and I came into love…
-Chantal Chawaf (1943-)
More than any other color, red symbolizes strength.
Red is seen best by the human eye because, of all the rays in the light spectrum, this color refracts most rapidly on the retina.
The Onge of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal cover themselves everyday from birth with a mixture containing red ocher to guard against illness and scorpion bites.
Famous Logos Using Red:
Thank you to Anne Varichon’s Book – Colors, What They Mean and How to Make Them, for supplying content and inspiration.
What was the last campaign you remember? Was it “I’m lovin’ it” or maybe a campaign centered on a sporting event? The most powerful campaigns pull at our heartstrings and spur us to action. At McKenna Design Group we tell a broad range of stories. Check out one of our favorites.
“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
The Hausa in Nigeria, a black heart characterizes an angry man, a cheat, and an enemy, while a “black belly” represents a sad man.
The people of Uruk in present day Iraq use the term “black” to signify both very ripe fruit and arable land.
The earliest examples of papyruses composed with lampblack-based inks date back to 2600 B.C.
Famous Logos Using Black:
Thank you to Anne Varichon’s Book – Colors, What They Mean and How to Make Them, for supplying content and inspiration.
Technology can be black or white. Either it works or it doesn’t. We prefer when it does. And so do our clients. And their customers. Integrated marketing delivers a consistent branded experience at each step of the user experience. We all want brand loyalists. And advocates. What’s keeping you from attracting yours? See how McKenna Design Group builds brand.
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.