JM Longyear

Opportunity:  JM Longyear is a 145-year-old entrepreneurial Michigan-based asset manager with a small portfolio of companies. Their portfolio is historically in the forestry and environmental industries, but the leadership and shareholders understood that diversifying their markets would provide new opportunities for the company while strengthening Michigan’s economy and creating jobs in the Upper Peninsula.


Through much collaboration with the leadership team, we created a message platform that focused on their investment in people, the environment, and their home state of Michigan.



Our team worked closely with company leaders to create a corporate brand that leverages their rich legacy of forestry and entrepreneurism with a minimalistic, classic and clean look.

Results:  We strengthened and diversified JM Longyear’s brand. Longyear was already a well-respected company throughout the Upper Peninsula and with state government. But now their brand perception is shifting from “forestry” to “asset manager.”


Opportunity:  MiWorks Upward Talent Council is the leading talent agency in the Upper Peninsula region. The organization is 100% publicly funded and provides free services to employers and job seekers.


Over the past few years, regional employers started to struggle with talent retention and needed a solution. MiWorks stepped up and created a program that was modeled from other successful ones around the state. But, for the first time, the MiWorks team found themselves challenged with having to “sell” a service. For an organization and culture that’s in the business of providing free services, they recognized they would need a new approach.


MiWorks hired Marketing Department, Inc. to help them develop a brand and sales strategy for this new program with two very distinct audiences: employers and at-risk employees.



As experts in B2B marketing and everything U.P., we developed a plan and brand strategy that would create immediate visibility.

First, we branded the program “LiftUP,” and created a strong message platform that we tested with manufacturing CEOs. Then we armed MiWorks with well-designed sales materials and built them an attractive website which allowed them to confidently sell the program to CEOs and managers.

Next, our team created messaging that appeals to at-risk employees and encourages them to enroll in the program. Our final step was to incorporate the messaging and brand platform in support materials for employers to share.


LiftUP is now a successful and growing program. MiWorks Upward Talent Council continues to expand the program across the Upper Peninsula. And while MiWorks is thrilled that companies are eagerly adopting the program, the real win is that U.P. manufacturers are increasing their retention rates and employees are more successful with work and life.



Calumet Electronics

Opportunity:  When we met Calumet Electronics nearly eight years ago, they were an unrecognized brand in the printed circuit board industry. At that time, they had 135 employees and a strong desire to grow. They hired our team to develop growth strategies to increase revenues and attract great people.


First we conducted research to better understand the industry, Calumet Electronics’ company culture, and their competitive advantages. Then we rebranded the company and helped them build a national sales strategy and a government relations strategy.



Our research gave us the direction we needed to confirm the viability of a new market and position them to attract business from the defense and aerospace sectors. Along the way, we also learned that the industry was cluttered and dry — no one competitor or leader stood out. So we developed a message platform and new brand that promoted their competitive differences: commitment to American manufacturing and community, a focus on engineering quality, and continuous capital investment.


Calumet Electronics saw a 100% increase in sales and added 200 jobs. Today the company is a clear industry leader and is rapidly becoming a preferred supply chain vendor in aerospace and technology. They have doubled their revenue and now employ more than 300 people. Calumet Electronics has also been recognized by the Trump administration as a leader in their industry.


Upper Peninsula Health Plan

Opportunity: Upper Peninsula Health Plan provides critical health planning services to thousands of U.P. residents, while offering technical support to the healthcare systems in our communities. Their new marketing team realized that, although UPHP serves more than 100,000 people annually, their members, partners and communities don’t always understand who they are. In addition, they sought to increase sales of a specific product - Medicare Advantage.


While conducting secondary research to better understand their industry and find effective trends, we also contacted more than 500 U.P. residents to learn their perceptions, ideas and processes regarding healthcare. We learned a lot and put that data to work as we jumped into the creative process.


New Logo and Identity

Entering logo development, we reflected on research to develop a core objective: UPHP needs to “look and feel national” because U.P. residents place a lot of confidence in those competing brands. Yet we had to remain trusted and local, being careful to not blend into the other hundred U.P. companies with geographic brand marks. We started with a few logos that met our initial objectives, but still didn’t feel right. After several concepts, the client offered the idea of putting the U.P. shape inside a flag - this turned out to be a great solution!


Medicare Advantage Campaign

After we tackled the new logo and identity, we created an ad campaign to promote UPHP’s new product targeted to seniors on Medicare to help them access additional healthcare coverage. Out marketing mix included billboard, print, digital, events and direct mail.




The launch of new branding and a strategic advertising campaign led to a 165% increase in enrollments. We helped UPHP grow business!


Michigan Technological University

Inside the MUB on the Michigan Tech campus is a food court frequented by students and faculty. Although it’s popular, students had begun to complain that the prices of the menu items exceed their value.



Because the university could not change the pricing, we developed a way to change the customer experience by changing the dining environment and menu.



We rebranded and redesigned the look of the food court to improve the customer experience. The bright, sleek design gave the whole space a more upscale, updated feel.


Although food prices remained the same, this simple investment in design changed the perceived value of the restaurant and its offerings and eliminated pricing complaints.



Marquette Food Co-op

Opportunity: In 2014, Marquette Food Co-op expanded, moving from a small corner store location in an old building to a modern building 10 times the size, in the heart of downtown Marquette. The Board and Management wanted to transform the entire shopping experience.


In contemplating a meaningful campaign theme, Marketing Department Inc. engaged in employee listening sessions and used a recent membership survey to discover what excited people most about the new store offerings and location.



The Campaign Message

As we collected and summarized the research, the campaign message platform became very obvious. Simply put — management, employees, members and the community love their new co-op so much, and the idea of “MORE CO-OP” is at the heart of their excitement.

Integrated Advertising Approach

We engaged the membership and featured them in the campaign with a mixed-media approach of TV, radio, print, social media, PR and in-store promotion.



The Marquette Co-op exceeded their grand opening and year-one sales and increased membership exceeding all projections