This category is for overall branding knowledge.

Dave Murray

Should Small Businesses Brand?

Full disclosure: I’m a brander. I brand. I’m a practitioner of the branding arts.

With that obvious fact out of the way, let’s get to it!

First, because it’s annoying to me, stop thinking of your business as a “small business.” It puts a limit on your vision, and makes your endeavor sound like big business’ sad little brother – the sad little brother that big business gives atomic wedgies to. Think HUGE!!! Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), and Bill Gates (Microsoft) probably didn’t think to themselves, “I’m gonna start a small business, and keep it that way, so I can try to move up to the ranks of middle-class! And maybe I’ll even get to retire on a modest income! YEAH!!!”

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In our last blog, – Branding vs. Marketing – I typed about how Peter Drucker, the grandfather of business consulting said that marketing and innovation are the only things that bring money to the table, and are thus the most important things you can do for your business. The assumption there, of course, is that your business is already branded. You’ve already developed your identity, your brand strategies are set in stone, and now you’ve just gotta let people know how to find you – which is where marketing comes in. Without a solid brand, though, you have nothing to market to or about. You haven’t figured out who your target market is. You haven’t figured out what your main product or service is. You haven’t figured out a consistent look. And, most importantly, you haven’t figured out how to articulate why you do what you do.

And that’s just a small part of branding and brand strategy. Again, without knowing that stuff, you have nothing to market to. Because marketing is so important, do you think that’ll hurt your business? If you answered “yes,” here’s your e-cookie!

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The killer is, a lot of small business owners do “okay” doing what they’re doing, now. They go to networking events, referral groups, and join their local Chambers. They may even learn all about targeted flyers and social media. Well, those things are great to do, and they will generate some income, even if they don’t brand. Without the brand strategy to go with all that, however, they’re leaving money on the table, and making their lives worse in the process. You simply can not market to something that doesn’t have a real identity.

On the plus side, for the rest of you business owners, those people leave the door wide open for you! A lot of branding and brand strategy has to do with competitive analysis – with the goal of being first in your clients’ or prospective clients’ minds – and if your competition hasn’t branded themselves, the world – or market – is yours for the taking. With a fully realized brand, and proper marketing, you’ll not only be first in the minds of prospective clients, you’ll be the only one in the minds of prospective clients!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know our why: I grew up with entrepreneurial parents who didn’t know how to brand their business – who made sure my sister and I went to great schools – and as a result had far more tumultuous lives, financially, than they should have. I don’t want that happening to other business owners. But it will if you don’t brand.

The goal of Mayniax Branding is to give entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to live better lives, and we brand the hell out of their businesses to make that happen. Right now, we offer branding services in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and most of Southeast Michigan – but our goal is to spread Mayniax far and wide so we can help as many of you as possible. Until we get there, however, please hire someone who only handles branding, brand strategy, rebranding, and / or brand consultation. If they offer more, they don’t actually understand branding at all. I promise you’ll be glad you listened.

And now, it’s tip time!

Today’s tip topic: your business name! The ideal name is a single, made-up word. Here are the reasons:

1. The hope is that your name will one day become synonymous with your service, ie: Coca-Cola = Pop, Google = Search, Kleenex = Tissue
2. For Trademark and website purposes, a short, made-up name is easy to acquire.
3. When people search for your business online, by name, yours are the only sites that will show up.

Here are some extra tips:

1. Keep words like business, advisor, consultant, association, company, group – any word that’s generic enough to have multiple meanings in the mind – out of your business’ name. Be honest with yourself: when someone says their business’ name is “Blah Blah Consulting Firm,” what does that really mean? If you thought it could mean more than one thing, it’s a bad name.

2. Keep it as short as possible, and definitely no more than 15 characters. The reasons? Simplicity and – Twitter. You don’t want to have to shorten your business name on social media – you want it the same across the board.

3. Take your current business name and type it into Google. If more than your business comes up after the first word, and especially if more than one business comes up with the entire name, it’s a bad name.

Some of you will be annoyed and not change the name because of whatever excuse you have. For the rest of you, however, it’s going to be a great first step toward a very successful brand. And, even more importantly, a better life!

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Thanks for reading, and if you found my zany ramblings helpful, please feel free to help your fellow business owners and entrepreneurs by sharing this on the social media accounts of your choosing.

Have fun, and stay gutsy!

Dave Murray

Mayniax Branding • Just how Important is Branding, Anyway?

We talk about branding. A lot. And we talk about its importance. A lot.

We provide gutsy branding services to entrepreneurs and business owners, and we provide those services because we know it’s the most important thing that can be done for the success of yourself and your business. And, because we provide branding and brand strategy services, you’re thinking, “Whatever, man. Go preach your used car dealer ways to someone else.” And I know you’re thinking that because that’s what I think when someone tries to sell me on their stuff, too.

So, let’s use a little barroom example of how important branding is to you and your business.

First, let’s say you’re a single man sitting alone at the bar, and out of the corner of your eye, you notice a woman you’d like to get to know better. You’re the brand.

The strategy is to buy her a delectable libation so she’ll talk to you. That’s the brand strategy.

You decide the best thing to do is buy her a drink, and have the bartender deliver it. That’s the tactic that works toward making the brand strategy happen.

Yahtzee! It worked! She’s coming over to strike up a conversation and then…you’re not there.

That’s what having a business without a brand is like. You do all the leg work to get people to your door, but they can’t find it. They don’t know anything about you, or what your services or products are all about. Most importantly, they don’t know what you’re passionate about or why you do what you do. Because of that, you lose sales. As Simon Sinek – a featured TedX speaker – has said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Are you still not convinced about the importance of branding? Well read on.

Here’s what Forbes has to say about the importance of branding – http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/05/27/why-brand-building-is-important/

Here’s what Entrepreneur has to say about the importance of branding, complete with some tips – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77408

And here’s what the New York Times has to say about the importance of branding – http://www.nytimes.com/allbusiness/AB4019474_primary.html

We want to give gutsy business owners the opportunity to live better lives, and the way we do that is through branding and brand strategy. Without a brand, you will struggle. With a brand, you’ll thrive. And, trust me, that’s way more fun than struggling!

So, whether you try to brand yourself, or use Ann Arbor’s gutsy branding team – that’d be us – or even someone else, make sure to make your brand happen.

It really is that important.

Stay gutsy, gang!

Dave Murray

Dave Murray

Welcome to Mayniax Branding!

It’s finally here. After months of research and preparation, we have our own brand. And we couldn’t be happier.

So, since you’re here, I assume you want to know a little bit about us. That, or you just completely mis-typed something on the keyboard in a foggy haze. Either way, let me tell you a bit about us. We’re a branding team based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We offer our branding services here, as well as other areas in southeast Michigan. And we dig it.

Now, let me tell you about our mission: we want to give gutsy business owners the opportunity to live better lives. And we brand the hell out of them, or their businesses, to make that happen.

You may be wondering why we use “gutsy” when we talk about business owners. The reason’s as simple as our mission: we’re not in it to work with the average business owner. The average business owner thinks a successful business is built entirely on the quality of a product or service. And that’s simply not true. If it were all about the quality of a product or service, then “The King of Beers” would instead be “The Scared Little Puppy Hiding in the Corner…of Beers,” because it’s not very good beer. Gutsy business owners want more, and know there’s more to success than just a great product or service. They may just not know what that is.

Hint: it’s branding.

We talk about the opportunity for business owners to live better lives. A lot of business owners, and subsequently their businesses, fail because they jump from idea to advertising. The problem is they haven’t built a solid foundation for their business. They haven’t built a brand. A solid brand, along with solid brand strategy, gives business owners a much higher chance of success. It makes life easier when you’re marketing, and allows potential clients to get to know your business. And, if you do it right, they get to know it while you’re catching up on your beauty sleep.

Simply put, branding is the most important thing you can do for your business. And possibly for you.

Have fun, and stay gutsy, gang!

Dave Murray, The Big Guy at Mayniax Branding