Dave Murray

There’s no Commoditizing in Branding!

There’s no Commoditizing in Branding!

“Are you commoditizing? There’s no commoditizing. There’s no commoditizing in branding!”

Those were Jimmy’s famous words to Evelyn in the hit 1992 branding film, “A League of Their Own.” Seriously, check it out.

Okay, that wasn’t really the line. I just needed a cheap joke.

Now, time to be serious! Ish.

dave murray mayniax branding theres no commoditizing, there's no commoditizing in branding!

What Is a Commodity?

For the purpose of this post, we’ll use the following Merriam-Webster definition of “commodity”: a mass-produced unspecialized product.

From there, and just for fun, I decided to look up how many brands of beer there are. According to didyouknow.org’s article Beer brands, types, styles and brewing, there are over 20,000 different brands of beer in the world. And that was written in 2010. It has to be north of that, by now.

And then, just for fun, I decided to look up how many brands of soda there are. According to Wikipedia’s List of brand name soft drinks products, there are, well, a lot. Feel free to count.

And then, just for fun, I decided to look up how many brands of shoes there are. Okay, I didn’t dig too deeply when I saw Shop 440+ Brands, from onlineshoes.com. By the way, a brand they don’t list is Nike, so we all know that 441+ brands of shoes exist.

All the brands in those categories are mass-produced unspecialized products. They’re all commodities. And yet, while we’ve never heard of most of them, a few are in our minds. I’m looking at you, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Budweiser!

Mayniax Branding - Commodities Shmomodities!

So how did they become brands, rather than commodities?

Time and Focus

Take Nike. They started in 1964 with shoes, when they were called Blue Ribbon Sports – they weren’t Nike until 1971. And then they kept making shoes. And then they made more shoes. And even more shoes. And today, they’re number-one seller is still shoes, accounting for 62% of their revenue in 2014. As a sidenote, we’re not fans of line-extending any brand, but you can’t argue with the culture Nike’s built around theirs, which is a separate post altogether.

Shoes are a commodity. Nike’s a brand.

Mayniax Branding - Nike Stock Price

Ann Arbor’s Not Safe from Commoditization!

In our rockin’ town of Ann Arbor, MI, we come in contact with a lot of different businesses. They’re impatient and don’t want to focus. It’s all about the next shiny object. Web designers who’ve decided their whole industry’s a commodity. Print shops that want to be full service for all sectors. Cleaning companies that don’t act strategically. It’s enough to drive us even more nuts than we already are – and possibly take up a whole lot more caffeine!

If any of them would target a single type of person / industry, they’d be well on their way toward domination in their category, and possibly being the only local brand in their industry But they just keep treating their businesses like commodities. Because that’s what they actually believe they are.

Just for fun, I decided to look up how many people there are on Earth. According to worldometers.info, there are nearly 7.5 billion of us. Do you think of yourself as a commodity?

Well, you probably shouldn’t think of your business as one, either. And with a little time and focus, you never will again.

Stay gutsy, gang!

Dave Murray

Dave’s Talking Branding on March 8th!

Dave’s Talking Branding on March 8th!

My name’s Dave Murray, and I’m an incorrigible smartass. But I take branding very seriously.

Dave Murray Mayniax Branding Incorrigible Smartass

As The Big Guy at Mayniax Branding, I believe the world’s broken, and entrepreneurs are the only ones who can fix it. But, if no one cares about their brands, those entrepreneurs will never have that chance. That’s why I do what I do. And that’s why Mayniax Branding does what it does.

Also as The Big Guy at Mayniax Branding, I’m constantly having to teach gutsy entrepreneurs the immense importance of telling the world why they got into the entrepreneurship game in the first place. They fight it. They resist it. They tell me I’m full of things unsuitable for typing on the interwebz.

And then their businesses don’t grow.

Mayniax Branding believes your "why" leads to your passion, which leads to your mission, which leads to your culture.

For pre-gaming purposes, read Your Brand’s “Why” & Meppy Chriswanzukah! You’ll see why we think the, well, “why” is so important. Plus, you’ll get a happy little image of Vanessa and I being, well, Vanessa and I during the 2015 Chriswanzukah season.

Personal Branding

I’m also gonna talk a little bit about personal branding, how I got to be King Dave of Ann Arbor, and how to figure out your own personal brand. Hint: It’s a whole lot easier than you think. It’ll be slightly more in-depth than my last blog post: Let’s Talk Personal Branding, but reading that’s a good warm-up.

Dave Murray Mayniax Branding King Dave of Ann Arbor 2

What You’ll Learn

1. The three reasons your why is so important, and the two whys that don’t cut it.
2. The best way to structure your elevator pitch, using your personal brand.
3. Whatever my weird brain thinks of on March 8th

Details Galore!

What: Ann Arbor Connectors’ Club Lunch and Learn – Personal Branding and Communicating Your “Why”
When: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 • 11:15 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Buffalo Wild Wings • 3150 Boardwalk Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
What you need: Lunch money! And pants. Or not. I don’t judge.

So plug March 8th into your phones, and get there early, as seating is extremely limited. And hey, while you’re there, enjoy some wings and beer. Unless you’re a vegetarian. Then you’ll probably just want the beer.

Stay gutsy, gang!

Dave Murray

Let’s Talk Personal Branding

Let’s Talk Personal Branding

It was suggested I write a post on personal branding by our social media expert, Stefanie Mitchell (@StefCherelle_), of S. Mitchell Marketing. And because I know enough to surround myself with people smarter than me, I said, “Yes ma’am.” So hey, here it is!

King Dave of Ann Arbor

dave murray mayniax branding king dave of ann arbor

For years, I’ve called myself King Dave of Ann Arbor. And, while it’s true I love Treetown, the origin of that self-proclaimed title isn’t exactly a heartfelt one. You see, to put it delicately, I like pushing buttons.

One day, I was sitting at Conor O’Neill’s with a woman I was interested in. She asked me a question about the area and, knowing the answer, I responded immediately. She looked at me almost bewildered and asked, “How do you know so much about Ann Arbor?” Knowing it would push her buttons, and not in a good way, I replied, “Because I’m the king of Ann Arbor.”

Clearly my flirting game needs help.

What started as a button-pushing joke has turned into a six-year personal branding experiment. And it’s been pretty successful. It’s been so successful in fact, that I gave a talk last year where someone asked if I wanted to be the mayor of Ann Arbor. About half the room answered for me, “Why would he want to be the mayor when he’s already the king?” It was enough to make an egomaniac proud.

Maybe Wiki and Forbes Know What’s Up

According to Wikipedia, “Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.”

Is it me, or does “self-packaging” sound like a gimmick? Are you a gimmick? Because in the end, your personal brand is, well, you.

Forbes did better with 7 Things You Can Do To Build An Awesome Personal Brand. The ideas are good, with my only real complaint being the heading of the seventh thing: Reinvent. The description under reinvent is great, but the title makes you think of just forgetting everything about yourself and starting over. And that’s kind of the opposite of a personal brand.

Still, I think The Forbes article’s too complicated.

I think a personal brand is all about being yourself. It’s all about authenticity.

Your Personal Brand Must be Authentically You

mayniax branding brand authenticity

“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.” -Simon Mainwaring

Make no mistake – to be a great entrepreneur, and to build a great business, you must be authentic. You must be true to yourself. In fact, we demand authenticity out of our clients, because we know the businesses we build around them won’t be nearly as successful without it.

Let’s talk about me some more, since I’m such a fascinating individual. Stop rolling your eyes! *ahem*

I’m a smartass. I don’t hide it. It’s a fundamental part of who I am. I also give a damn. Specifically, I give a damn about helping you, the entrepreneurs of the world. I live and work primarily in Ann Arbor, and I know branding. I also make no bones about the fact my idiocy grows exponentially the further away from the topic of branding I get.

Now let’s talk about Mayniax Branding.

It’s a smartass. It doesn’t hide it. It’s a fundamental part of who Mayniax Branding is. It also gives a damn. Specifically, Mayniax Branding gives a damn about helping you, the entrepreneurs of the world. It’s based in Ann Arbor, and knows branding. And it knows brand strategy well enough to know its only focus should be on branding.

You see what I did there?

Figuring Out Your Personal Brand

A personal brand isn’t difficult. It really is, simply, who you actually are. The trick is, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, figuring out who you actually are, then finding something you love to do that aligns with that.

I told you I’m a smartass with a fundamental need to help entrepreneurs, and branding is the way I do that. That’s my personal brand in its simplest form. So, use that as an template, and come up with a basic description of who you are fundamentally, along with a list of things you’re passionate about. And when you get that done, you’ll have your personal brand.

Once you have your personal brand, all you have to do is keep it consistent, and simple, across the board. Easy, right? Seriously, almost everyone out there makes things far more complicated than they are. And that makes them bad, bad people.

So sayeth King Dave of Ann Arbor!

Dave Murray Mayniax Branding King Dave of Ann Arbor 2

Stay gutsy, gang!