Dave Murray

3 Huge Reasons You Want Us As Your Branding Team!

We’re often asked why businesses should hire us, over other firms, to do their branding. It’s an important question, because the answer’s a big part of any brand. It speaks to differences, after all, and those are what your brand strategy uses to stay in clients’ and potential clients’ minds.

So, let’s get to it!

Reason 1: Our “why.”

We tell the world we do this so we can give business owners a shot at a better life. That’s very true, and here’s why.

For years, my parents ran a cleaning business in Jackson, Michigan. Most of their business was through word-of-mouth, and it was feast or famine. My sister and I were enrolled in private schools, however, and never knew just how bad it could be. They always made sure we were taken care of, many times at their own expense. It was my great dream to retire them, myself. When dad died, so did that dream.

As silly as it sounds, I regret not having the knowledge then that we have, now. I know branding would have gone a long way toward making their business successful.

In the years since, we’ve seen the same thing happen to those we’ve come to know as friends. And I take it very personally.

Reason 2: We’re a really good team.

I type that with full confidence because we hear it a lot from our clients. Of course, we think half the reason they say that is because they enjoy the show. Vanessa and I have worked together so long, we’ve naturally developed a rapport that’s hard to emulate in business. And that rapport shows as we fire quips at each other during client meetings. I mean, c’mon, our name’s not Mayniax for nothing!

What our clients don’t see, however, is how well we work together behind the scenes. There’s a lot of research, a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of trips to Starbucks to give us the change of pace that tends to help us push through that final brand strategy block.

And yes, there are a lot more quips.

Before I tell you the third reason, I want you to think about the following:

1. Apple, the number one brand in the world, according to Interbrand, didn’t get that way because they went after every target market with all kinds of products. They got that way because, when Steve Jobs came back, he eliminated a lot of extraneous lines.
2. If you read our Lego blog, you’ll see they did the same, eliminating any and all lines that didn’t focus on who they are as a brand. And that’s those little building bricks.
3. Five Guys Burgers and Fries has kept their menu extremely small. Two years ago, they were lauded as America’s Fastest Growing Restaurant Chain.
4. Chipotle only sells Tex Mex food made from whole foods, and is growing pretty quickly!

On the flip-side, Sony’s electronics division is bleeding money. Big time. Why? Because they put their name on everything! Sony can’t stand for one thing in someone’s mind when their logo’s plastered on every single kind of electronic product out there. Fun Fact: Sony actually makes money by selling insurance in Japan.

The point is, the more focused your product / service, the more likely you are to have success. It’s been proven time and time again in the history of business.

Reason 3: We’re the only team in Washtenaw County – Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Manchester, and Barton Hills – and one of only two teams in Southeast Michigan, to focus entirely on branding.

So, when the time comes for you to research branding teams, and you notice the other ones offer several services, you’ll know they don’t know what they’re doing…because they can’t even brand themselves.

And with those wise words from Admiral Ackbar, take care, and as always…

Stay gutsy!

Dave Murray

Do People Forget Your Brand Because Your Logo Sucks?

I know, I know, it’s a harsh title. I had to stop myself from making it even harsher, because I’m blunt like that. A title like “Does Your Logo Suck?” has more punch, but it misses the point that, if it does suck, people aren’t remembering it, or your business. And branding is all about staying on your clients’ and potential clients’ minds.

Here in the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, there’s one logo that stands above all else: the University of Michigan’s Block M. In fact, in several studies, it’s seen as the most recognizable logo in college sports. So, why is that? Simply put, it’s a solid, single-colored, simple shape. It looks like a kid could’ve made it. And that helps it stick in people’s heads.

Before I go any further, let’s make one thing very clear: a logo is not a brand, a logo is a reminder of what the brand is all about. People who hear we do branding always find a way to say, “So, can you make me a logo?” The short answer is, “Yes.” The long answer is “Yup, but not until we’ve figured out what you’re passionate about, why you’re passionate about it, what your product or service is, come up with a mission, evaluate your competition, determine a target market, a tagline, what your color(s) should be, etc.” At which point they walk away.

Remember, our job is to give gutsy entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to live better lives, and we do that by branding the hell out of their businesses. To simply design a logo misses that point entirely, and on its own, is a waste of money.

And makes me want to kick puppies. And I like puppies. They’re adorable.

Dave Murray, the Big Guy at Mayniax Branding, soaked and imploring you to not make him want to kick puppies.

With that out of the way, let’s talk logos!

We base our logo evaluations and designs on three things:

1. Eye Science
2. Simplicity
3. The Fortune 100 List


Eye Science

The fact is, your eye sees red as popping forward, and blue as pushing backward. Things that are jarring to your senses, or just jarring in general, get remembered easier. And once again, branding is all about staying on your clients’ and potential clients’ minds. Black and white are decent choices because they, too, are a bit jarring.



Is your logo three colors or more? Does it have gradients? Does your logo have a beautiful landscape, complete with blue skies and bunnies?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, your logo’s not doing its job effectively.

When Apple first started out, their logo was an illustration of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree. In the tree, was an apple surrounded by light. It’s a beautiful drawing, but a terrible logo. Now, Apple’s logo is a solid-colored black apple.

Mayniax Branding put together an image showing Apple's first logo, and what it looks like, now.

Remember, a logo doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be memorable.


The Fortune 100 List

I hate to say it, but we’re not interested in what the business down the street’s doing. We’re not even interested in what the business at number 219’s doing. We’re interested in what the big guns are doing, because that’s where we want our clients to be. And the big guns love red, blue, black and white!

Let’s start with Walmart, which tops the Fortune 100 list, and also has a commanding lead in the “Most likely to get shanked in the store on Black Friday” category. Their primary color is blue, with their secondary color being yellow.

ExxonMobil is number two, and leads the oil category. Their color is red. Chevron, at the number three spot, is blue and red. It’s sort of the like the cola wars, where Coca-Cola’s red and Pepsi-Cola’s blue and red, which makes one think you should pick one color or the other – probably red – for the number one spot, but not both.

The number four spot, with a reddish logo, is Berkshire Hathaway. Apple rounds out the top five, with a simple black logo.

Mayniax Branding put together the logos of the top 5 businesses in the 2014 Fortune 500

I took a screen grab of a spreadsheet we created looking at, and counting / tracking, all the colors used in the Fortune 100’s logos. Below is said spreadsheet detailing what we found. Full disclosure, by the way: white may have a higher count than it should, because we counted the colors used in negative space. Even so, white’s definitely a player. We also counted colors used in icons as primary colors, even if the word mark had more of certain color. Primarily, the word marks were black. For instance, we counted orange as the primary color in Amazon, even though the word is much larger than the “smile.”

Mayniax Branding created this spreadsheet, explaining why we feel how we do about logo design

The big numbers are the following:

1. 83% of the logos used either blue (59%) or red (24%) as their primary color.
2. 17% of the logos used green (6%), purple (3%), yellow (2%), orange (2%), black, gray, brown, and gold (all 1%) as their primary color.
3. White was the number one secondary color, with black being number two.
4. 79% of the logos used two colors or less
5. 10% of the logos used gradients. Those companies – Chevron, General Motors, Ford, Kroger, UPS, Pfizer, Cisco, Tesoro, AllState, and DirecTV – are all very well-know, with the possible exception of Tesoro, and can get away with it.

With all that information, our recommendations are almost always to use red or blue as your primary color, with black or white being your secondary color. And for the love of branding, keep it simple!

Because that’s what the big guns do.

And you deserve to party with the big guns. Because the big guns get free drinks.

Stay gutsy!