Dave Murray

Our Own Gutsy Advertising

Our Own Gutsy Advertising!

Vanessa and I declared this the year of advertising, and holy crap, has 2016 delivered!

Our Gutsy Networking

We’ve gotten a little more selective about the networking we do. We’re part of a B2B networking group, attend specific A2Y Chamber events, and are going to more structured entrepreneur events. I’ve even joined a committee dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build their businesses, because hey, that’s what we’re all about anyway!

Because of networking, I’ve been able to set up some talks to help us get business, help us get the Mayniax Branding name out there, and help us give entrepreneurs some free, much-needed branding advice. We’re cool like that.

Our Gutsy Blog

I’m really working hard on writing a blog post at least every two weeks, and with my schedule – along with being on a constant lookout for rabid spider monkeys – that’s pretty tough to do. In fact, I’m writing this at 12:02 am. Ah, the things I do for our gutsy entrepreneurs.

Our Gutsy Newsletter

The newsletter goes out every two weeks, generally without fail. After all, we’ve always got something to talk about – even if it’s just a branding tip or two. Plus, it allows us to link back to our website so Google sees we’re kind of a big deal!

Our Gutsy Social Media

This is one of the things I’m most excited about. A goal of ours for this year is to own page one of Google in any and all “Ann Arbor branding” searches. One of the ways to do that is to load up on social media. Something we know about social media, however, is that for it to work, you need to have a consistent presence. And we just didn’t have the time to make that happen.

And then we met Stefanie Mitchell, of S Mitchell Marketing. In Vanessa’s and my nearly six years of networking, she’s the first person we’ve come across who knows more about social media than we do. So we gladly handed the social media baton to her to make things happen for Mayniax Branding.

Except for Instagram. Because Vanessa and I like pictures.

As an added bonus, Stefanie also has us creating content for ads on social media, as well as Google AdWords. And as another added bonus, with her rocking our social media, Vanessa and I can spend time doing the things we’re actually good at.

Our Gutsy Commercial

The commercial. Ah yes, the commercial. In the grand tradition of Apple’s “Think Different” campaign – and partly because of the wise words of Simon Sinek – we realized the most important thing we could advertise is, duh, the most important part of any brand: Why it exists in the first place. In fact, our “why” and story have been at the center of all our advertising this year.

The problem is, we didn’t know anyone who could really help us communicate our “why” as passionately as we wanted it communicated. Or so we thought. Enter George Pariseau, the founder of Brainstream Creative.

George is a pretty easy-going dude who gets serious about videography. He also understands enough about marketing that, when we said, “We trust ya. Just do what you do,” we knew he wouldn’t let us down – even though I completely changed the script the night before we filmed it.

My bad.

Our Gutsy Upsell

That just sounded, well, dumb. Gimme a break – it’s 12:32 am.

If you’re in the Ann Arbor area, and thinking about getting your business branded, fill out the form on our Contact page. We’re happy to answer any questions you have, and never charge for the first hour. We’ll even spring for a caffeinated beverage or two. For you, not just us. Though we’ll probably spring for a caffeinated beverage or two for us, as well.

Because sometimes we’re up late at night writing blog posts.

Stay gutsy, gang!

Dave Murray

Rebranding: Our Extra-gutsy Overview!

Rebranding: Our Extra-gutsy Overview!

Before I even knew what rebranding was, I knew it was a pain in the ass.

Years ago, before Vanessa and I started working together, my dad and I had a chat. You see, we lived in Jackson, MI – a town that, at the time, had an underwhelming art culture, to say the least. As a graphic designer and illustrator who had a degree in painting and drawing, yours truly was a bit more annoyed with the town than the average Jacksonian.

So, there Dad and I were, seated comfortably in the living room – waxing philosophically as we were prone to do, when I brought up my frustration at the lack of Jackson’s art culture. Dad thought for a second, and said something so simple, and so prudent, I’ll never forget it: “You can either stay here and try to change it, or go somewhere else.”

I somehow knew there was no way I could change that culture as fast as I’d like. I instinctively knew rebranding Jackson’s art scene – before I even knew what rebranding was – would take forever.

Rebranding, the Wiki Definition

Oh man, I hate using Wiki definitions, but the Merriam Webster doesn’t have “rebrand” on its site. Anyway, here’s what Wiki has to say: “Rebranding is a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.”

As usual, Wiki – or whomever wrote this for Wiki – missed the boat.

Rebranding, the Mayniax Branding Definition

“Rebranding is changing the culture, the focus, and sometimes the name and / or look, of an existing brand.”

I may be biased, but I like our definition better. And if you use our definition of rebranding, you’ll be able to predict which brands do it right, and which brands kinda go the other way.

Rebranding: The Good, The Bad, and the WTF?

Good Rebranding: Apple

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, one of the first things he did was focus the product line. We wrote about that some here.

But he also fixed the culture.

A couple months ago, I came across a clip of an internal meeting at Apple. It was shortly after Steve Jobs returned, and he was preparing to unveil the “Think Different” ad campaign to his team.

In that meeting, Jobs looked at his team and told them that it’s not about speeds and fees, it’s not about bits and megahertz, and it’s not about why they were better than Windows. Instead he said, “Apple, at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

With those words, and the “Think Different” campaign, he not only changed the culture, but he started Apple on the path that would make it the number one company in the world.

That’s the way to rebrand.

Another great rebranding story is LEGO. I typed all about it, here.

Bad Rebranding: Xfinity

This is not only a terrible attempt at rebranding, but it’s an insulting one, as well.

In several of its markets, Comcast renamed itself Xfinity. We saw no attempt at a culture change. There was no shift in focus. All they did was create a new name and logo. You would think, if any company needed a culture change – using the Mayniax Branding definition – it would be Comcast.

In fact, in case you missed this, there’s actually a company out there that will call Comcast for you, since their customer service is just a touch worse than abysmal.

What’s scary is that, way back when, you could actually get away with a simple name change. But today, with social media and a whole lot of other forms of instant communication, we’re all well aware Xfinity is the same old Comcast. That’s why I find it insulting.

So, obviously Xfinity is a text book example of bad branding.

WTF Rebranding: RadioShack

RadioShack is a prime WTF example. Also, it’s late, so I needed an easy target to pick on.

In 2009, RadioShack decided to rename itself “The Shack,” which it hoped would make it sound cool. Instead, people had visions of a weirdo saying to them, “You sure got a purty mouth.” Frankly, it was a desperation move on RadioShack’s part. Considering it filed for bankruptcy last year, the desperation move didn’t work.

“So, When Should I Rebrand?”

If you’re reading this blog, my guess is you’re an entrepreneur. So, this answer’s with that in mind: the absolute best time to rebrand is when your company’s still small enough for the rebrand to be under the radar – and you realize it needs to be done. You may realize it because you notice no one’s remembering you, or because your sales have been stagnant for a while.

You may even need a rebrand because your work is making you miserable. Vanessa and I got to a point where we were miserable with our old business, because we weren’t able to truly help people. It’s even part of our story on the Mayniax Branding About page.

You shouldn’t rebrand, however, when you’re desperate for money, because like anything else in branding, it’s usually quite a while before it takes.

In Closing

Rebranding is a tricky thing to pull off well. Even large corporations fail at it because they don’t understand a huge cultural revamp and a shift in focus are essential to a quality rebrand. But it can be done.

We’re here to answer any questions you have about that, and any other branding topic, so shoot us an email at contact@mayniaxbranding.com

And that’s all I gotta say ’bout that!

Stay gutsy!

Dave Murray

Mayniax Branding Changes Name and Logo!

Mayniax Branding Changes Name and Logo!

Yesterday, the international news media quoted me as saying, “It’s time for us to finally keep up with the Joneses!” Said Dave Murray, The Big Dog at Maniacs Branding.

Wait, “Maniacs Branding,” you say? “Big Dog?”

That’s right, folks – we’ve changed the name and are working on changing the culture! You see, we realized differentiation is crap. All anyone wants is to be just like everyone else, so we thought, “Why wouldn’t we do the same?”

When Vanessa and I started talking about the changes, we decided to begin with the obvious: the common spelling of maniacs. It’s common sense, right? I mean, duh!

Speaking of Vanessa, she had a chihuahua growing up, and loved it! And, since I’ve always thought chihuahuas are crazy, we decided to use a silhouetted chihuahua head, rather than googly eyes for our icon. It’s even helping us with our culture change! One of the things we’re currently contemplating is biting clients’ ankles as they come in the door, just to reinforce the whole “chihuahua” idea.

The New Name and Logo!

Our new name and logo design

When it comes to the rest of our new logo design, my mom’s always liked the colors black and yellow. And, since we can’t do everything mom wants, we had to add white, too. I know that’s three colors instead of the two colors or less we always recommend, but why would we go for the Fortune 100 when continuing to be a small, local business is perfectly adequate?

Our New Focus

And we have one more quick change we want to tell you folks about: we’re totally changing the focus! I mean, branding will still be a part of it, but we know about other stuff, too. In addition to branding, we’ll be offering the following: marketing, social media updates, base-jumping lessons, kickboxing classes, yoga, and of course, shots for when you get bitten by rabid spider monkeys.

Like I said, we’re keeping up with the Joneses.

Look for a totally new look and feel to start rolling out tomorrow, and as always…

Stay scrappy, folks!