Dave Murray

Envisioning a Happier World

Envisioning a Happier World

“Here’s to the crazy ones…”

With those words, Apple’s “Think Different” campaign was launched. The year was 1997. I was a 20-year-old cocky kid who didn’t take his classes seriously, skipping everything but my acting classes if I was on a roll at the pool tables. At the time I was in junior college, bored out of my mind and a touch rebellious. At my core, I was a good kid. But when you’re like me, there are few things in life scarier than boredom. And I had no choice but to do whatever I could to alleviate that fear.

I don’t remember the first time I saw the “Think Different” ad, but I do remember how I felt when I saw it. It spoke to the rebellious kid in me in a way it didn’t speak to others. “Maybe I could be one of those people,” I thought. I let that idea die as I pursued my education in the arts, and my work in the “real world.” It was even buried away after my dad died, while Vanessa and I were running Good Stuff Studios.

It wasn’t until 2014 – and Mayniax Branding – that the thought returned. “Holy crap! Vanessa and I have the opportunity to be two of the crazy ones!”

The Vision

The official vision for Mayniax Branding is to help more entrepreneurs than the governments of the world pretend to. I think we need to change that. It’s a little too cynical.

We talk about the world being broken, and believing entrepreneurs are the only ones who can fix it. And we do believe that. But how they can fix the world is pretty cool: they can make it happier.

The Ripple Effect

The best entrepreneurs really get into what they do. When they’re genuinely passionate and can build a community of like-minded people around their “whys” – purpose, cause, or belief – they have the power to create incredible cultures – cultures where everyone involved is a little happier because they’re working toward something they believe in. That effect carries over to those people’s friends and families, making everyone they come into contact with happier.

I Like to Think I’m Already One of the Crazy Ones

People talk about work / life balance, but I see that as an entrepreneurial fallacy. As Doc Holliday said in 1993’s Tombstone, “There’s no normal life, Wyatt; it’s just life. Get on with it.” And his quotes are all true, because Val Kilmer was a badass Doc Holliday.

Mayniax Branding Doc Holliday Quote from Tombstone

My Definition of Success

My success is a mix of both personal and professional. It would be waking up on a cool, crisp fall day, turning my head to meet the soft gaze of a remarkable woman, and saying as sweetly as I possibly can, “Hey, wanna go to Italy, today?”

We’d hop on our plane and be in Italy later that day. Then we’d check out Greece because I’d want to see both places where western civilization started. We’d see where our ideas of philosophy, art, and language began. There’d be so much history, I wouldn’t be able to help but geek out. We’d even visit Paris to see the sights, especially the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. And we’d stay in all these places as long as we’d like.

And this will all be possible since Mayniax Branding will be able to function without me. Because let’s face it: one day, it’ll have to.

So my idea of success is complete freedom that I get to share with a remarkable woman and some incredible kids, along with the rest of our friends and family. And when my time’s up, however I go, dying with the knowledge that Mayniax Branding will continue making the world a happier place – by helping gutsy entrepreneurs – long after I’m gone.

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world…”

Stay gutsy, gang!

The world is broken, and we believe only entrepreneurs can fix it. But they’ll never get that chance if no one cares about their brands. So, with a little bit o’ nuttiness, a little bit o’ research, and a lotta bit o’ guts, it’s our job to make people care.

Wanna set up a happy fun time chat with Ann Arbor’s favorite branding team? Then click here, fill out the form, and we’ll get back to ya!

Dave Murray

5 Tips for Naming Your Gutsy Brand!

5 Tips for Naming Your Gutsy Brand!

I’ve been wanting to write a blog on naming your own gutsy brand for months. In fact, I did write one! And as I was putting the finishing touches on it, I decided – in a fit of brilliance – to delete it from the official Mayniax Branding iPad, thinking I could recover it from the iCloud. And I couldn’t.

And my business partner, Vanessa, rolled her eyes.

When Vanessa's eyes roll, Ann Arbor shakes...

And now that you’re all laughing at me, it’s time to present:

5 Tips for Naming Your Gutsy Brand!

Tip 1: Don’t Worry About Putting What You Do in Your Brand Name

“But Dave, you guys have ‘Branding’ in your name?” I know, but the name everyone remembers is “Mayniax.” And we’re building it so that, in the future, we can remove “Branding” from the name – like Apple did when they removed “Computer” from theirs. Don’t worry, there’s always a plan.

For examples of not putting what you do in your brand name, think of all the brand names you can. Hell, I’ll even list a few: Target, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Budweiser, Exxon, Apple, Macy’s, Sears, Walmart, Hewlett Packard, Google, Microsoft, Toyota, Disney, Amazon, McDonald’s, etc. In fact, you can click on over to Interbrand’s list of the best global brands, here. We all know what most of them are because they’re brands we’ve all heard of, but not a single one has its product or service in its name – unless you count the “Cola” part of Coca-Cola.

And besides, saying what you do is what your tagline’s for.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Generic Words

Al Ries, who co-authored several influential marketing books – including Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, and The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – talks about never using generic names for your brand(s). In fact, he flat out tells us to keep “nature” out of brand names.

When we say “generic,” we mean to stay away from words that can have a lot of different meanings. Words like: systems, solutions, services, business, group, tech, good, stuff, studios, etc. All of those words can mean different things to different people.

Long-time readers of this blog know the name of Vanessa’s and my first brand: Good Stuff Studios. Seriously, I don’t think it gets much more generic than that. And that’s why we decided to change it.

Because, like Al Ries says, “If ya got a bad name, change it.”

Tip 3: Do Use a Made-up Word

We have three reasons for this one!
1. It’s easy to trademark a word that’s never been used before
2. You can define that word, so it’s possible to make it stand for the category, like Kleenex is to tissue
3. Google loves a branded search!

So how do ya make up a name?


Telescoping is one way to give a shot. That’s when you mash some generic words together to see what sticks. Here are some quick examples: Microchip + Software = Microsoft, Federal + Express = FedEx, or Cocaine + Kola = Coca-Cola. Yeah, Coca-Cola used to be made with cocaine.

Because nutrition.


Coming up with anagrams is another way to name your gutsy brand. Unfortunately, using online anagram finders give you words already in use. So try coming up with your own using nouns, verbs, and adjectives you think of when you think of yourself and / or your target market.

Spell a real word differently

You may have heard of a little internet search company called Google. Well, that’s actually a re-spelling of the word “googol,” which is a mathematical term. And you don’t want me discussing mathematical terms. Another example we hope springs to your mind is Mayniax, which is obviously a re-spelling of “maniacs.”

The trick to this one is making sure people can’t possibly mispronounce the new spelling. When we were coming up with Mayniax, we played with several ways to spell it. One of which was “Maniax,” which would’ve been pronounced all kinds of ways.

Mayniax Branding toying with "Maniax" Branding

Tip 4: Keep it Short

Naming your gutsy brand, like everything else branding-wise, falls under the heading of simplicity.

If we look back at Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2016 rankings, We’ll see the longest name, character-wise, is Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with 26. But, since everyone says “HP,” – even though it’s technically not that “HP” – we’ll give this to Johnson & Johnson, with 17 characters – and we don’t recommend using ampersands because they can’t go in your URL. The longest one syllabically is Tiffany & Company, but since everyone calls them Tiffany’s, we’re giving this one to Johnson & Johnson, as well.

Something to keep in mind is the aforementioned brands were created a long time ago, when there was less competition, and when the average human’s attention span was longer than that of a goldfish. So keep it as short as possible, with as few syllables as possible. That will help keep it memorable.

Tip 5: Don’t Use Acronyms

As mentioned before, our first brand was Good Stuff Studios – and if you haven’t done so, yet, read our full story here.

What I didn’t mention before, is that some friends of mine and myself started Good Stuff Studios before Vanessa and I even met! And it was up to yours truly to design the logo.

And the logo I designed was a huge GSS, with a tiny Good Stuff Studios underneath it.

Mayniax Branding - The really old and acronym-y Good Stuff Studios logo

The problem with GSS is it’s also the acronym for the “Good Samaritan Society.” While I’m not exactly the devil, I doubt anyone would confuse me with being a member of said society. The point is, all the acronyms are taken. And the ones that aren’t, violate Tip 4.

Besides, it’s much easier to remember a real word than a combination of letters.

Here’s a re-cap of our five tips for naming your gutsy brand!

Tip 1: Don’t put what you do in your brand name
Tip 2: Don’t use generic words
Tip 3: Do use a made-up word
Tip 4: Do keep it short
Tip 5: Don’t use acronyms

And as a reminder, don’t play with technologies you don’t understand. Because if your business partners are like mine, you can actually hear their eyes rolling at you.

Stay gutsy, gang!

The world is broken, and we believe only entrepreneurs can fix it. But they’ll never get that chance if no one cares about their brands. So, with a little bit o’ nuttiness, a little bit o’ research, and a lotta bit o’ guts, it’s our job to make people care.

Wanna set up a happy fun time chat with Ann Arbor’s favorite branding team? Then click here, fill out the form, and we’ll get back to ya!