Dave Murray

The World Is Broken, Part 2

In Part 1 of this this two-part post, I went all nuts typing about why Vanessa and I believe the world is broken. But even though we believe that, it doesn’t mean we don’t think the world can be fixed – in fact, with the help of our fellow entrepreneurs, we believe quite the opposite. With that in mind, let’s get a little more optimistic!

Only Entrepreneurs Can Fix It

In the following video, I put the world on notice: Mayniax Branding exists to build the next Fortune 500!

Now, since you’re might be thinking building the next Fortune 500 won’t fix anything, I should probably elaborate. The power in this country, not to mention the world, comes from wealthy corporations and entrepreneurs. It comes from money. And I don’t believe we fight money with “Occupy” movements, yelling at politicians for giving themselves raises, or by feeling the Bern.

In true “fight fire with fire” fashion, I believe we fight money with money.

If you’ve read our About page, you know the kinds of entrepreneurs we deal with: the sympathetic, game-changer kind. We get those clients because we won’t work with people whose “why”s are either because they know how to do what they do, or because they like money. We work with entrepreneurs who want to make things better for people. When people care about our entrepreneurs’ brands, those entrepreneurs do better financially, and when our entrepreneurs do better financially, they can make a huge impact on the world.

If you can’t beat the Fortune 500, join them. And bring in lobbyists to fight for change that matters.

That’s the grand vision of Mayniax Branding – to make it so our clients can go toe-to-toe, anywhere in the world, with the monied elite, and make real, positive change.

Entrepreneurs Are Already Making it Happen

Sean “Diddy” Combs recently built a school in Harlem.

Oprah Winfrey opened the Leadership Academy for Girls, in South Africa.

According to this Forbes article, America’s top 10 philanthropists gave a staggering $7.1 billion in 2014!

Bill and Melinda Gates, on top of creating the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they and Warren Buffett created The Giving Pledge – in this interview with 60 Minutes, the Gateses promised to give away 95% of their wealth to causes, while Warren Buffett promised to give away 99%!

Let’s Make Our Dreams a Reality, Together

The world is broken, and we believe entrepreneurs are the only ones who can fix it. And we believe they will fix it, so long as others care enough about their brands to help them make that happen.

That’s our big picture. That’s the vision behind our “why.” Our dream is to do everything we can to help make this world a better place, but we need help. So, what’s your dream?

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!

Dave Murray

A Brand’s Why & Meppy Chriswanzukah!

Your Brand’s “Why” & Meppy Chriswanzukah!

I’m in a good mood! As I type this, it’s 11:00 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, and I can’t help but smile. The reason’s simple: I’m thinking of the scene in Blues Brothers when Elwood’s driving through the mall.

Also, after a year-and-a-half, Mayniax Branding is starting to take off.

Some of the reasons for Mayniax Branding starting to take off are tactical: we do a lot of networking, we try to keep our social media accounts current, we write a blog and send out a newsletter every couple weeks. We always speak the same message and even hold workshops from time to time. But all those tactics are useless without our brand. And our brand is useless without our “why.”

Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why, says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He even did a great Ted Talk on the subject, where he talked about the “why” for Apple, the Wright Brothers, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Really, you’ll wanna check it out.

Why is a Brand’s “Why” Important?

Aside from Simon Sinek’s reasons, we’ve identified three of our own:
1. A powerful “why” will help you through the tough, very tough, times. Steve Jobs talked a little about it when he spoke on the importance of passion.
2. A powerful “why” will connect people with your brand, because your “why” is a unifying belief between your brand and potential clients.
3. A powerful “why” leads to a powerful brand culture. We always tell our clients their why leads to their passion, which leads to their mission, which leads to their culture. You can’t have a great brand culture without a great “why.”

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

When a Brand’s “Why” Isn’t Good Enough

We’ve also identified two reasons that don’t cut it when it comes to your “why”:
1. Because you like money! Honestly, that’ll never grab anyone’s attention, or even keep you going. I’ve facepalmed several times after hearing that one, and am pretty sure I’ll one day just get up and leave a meeting when someone says that. I won’t even give a reason. I’ll just get up, walk away, and bang my head on a wall.
2. You know how to do what you do! Now, that one seems counter-intuitive, because you should always know how to do what you do! That, however, can’t be the only reason. There must be something deeper to it. If there’s not, no one will ever care if they do business with you, or your competitor in the creeper van down the street. Because competitors work in creeper vans. Duh.

What’s the “Why” for Mayniax Branding?

We believe entrepreneurs are some of the gutsiest people on the planet, whether they know it when they start or not. And we believe they don’t deserve to lead the up-and-down lives most of them live. We believe they deserve better. Far better. The way we help them have a shot at those far better lives is by branding the hell out of their businesses. I personally believe this whole-heartedly, as my “why” – found on our About page – is the basis for Mayniax Branding.

Edit: Our “why” has changed ever so slightly, thanks to the current state of the world, and the insane dreams of our gutsy entrepreneurs! “The world is broken, and we believe only entrepreneurs can fix it.” You’ll find out more by clicking that About page link, just above this.

So hey, get your “why” ironed out! Make sure it’s real. Make sure it’s genuine. And most of all, make sure you’re not the competitor in the creeper van down the street.

Meppy Chriswanzukah and Joyous Festivus!

Every year, Vanessa and I put together a card for our contacts, clients, and even some friends and family. And every year, we put “Meppy Chriswanzukah & Joyous Festivus!” on it. We like “Meppy Chriswanzukah” because it’s both offensive and inoffensive at the same time, and we like “Joyous Festivus” because, well, Seinfeld.

Anyway, here’s the card:

Dave Murray & Vanessa Symington of Mayniax Branding wish you all a Meppy Chriswanzukah & Joyous Festivus!

With that, this is my last blog post for 2015. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the posts as much as I’ve enjoyed being a smartass while writing them! And remember, in typical less-than-smooth-segue fashion, we never charge for the first brand consultation, so if you’re in the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, get a hold of us on our contact page, or simply email us at We want you to have the life of your dreams, and it’ll never happen without a quality brand. Or a quality “why.”

Or perhaps, a quality car with “…a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.”

I don’t even know what that means.

Meppy Chriswanzukah, Joyous Festivus, Happy New Year, and of course,

Stay gutsy, gang!