The Brand Manifesto

What is it and why your business needs one.

Get More Sales With a Brand Manifesto

What is a brand manifesto?

A brand manifesto is a public declaration of intent. It spells out the beliefs, values, and actions that will deliver that particular intent. It’s like a mission statement, but on steroids. Just kidding, sort of.

The manifesto is definitely not a mission statement; a mission statement is a generalized yet comprehensive statement that is written primarily for corporate meetings and investors. Written for customers and employees, the manifesto can be a source of inspiration and motivation.

A manifesto is an emotional story that tells the world who you are. With a brand manifesto, you are planting your stake into the ground and proclaiming “this is who we are, this is who we serve, and this is what we believe”. This is where you weed out those who are not a good fit for your brand and welcome those who are with open arms. Think Apple – we know who they are, what they believe, and who they want to attract. We know the “vibe” they give off by the visuals they use in their marketing, branding, and advertising. All of that is declared in their manifesto and they continue to deliver on their proclaimed intent.

There is a caveat. This only will be a success if it is authentic. We’re in the new age of branding and marketing- where customers want to connect with brands emotionally. They want to share our triumphs and support us during the low-times. If your manifesto sounds nothing like who your brand actually is, the disconnect will be obvious and will push people away.

This is how you can show how you’re unique, different than the competition, and the brand your target needs to go with.

Why your business needs a brand manifesto

As we touched on before, a brand manifesto gives your business heart. It allows your customers to see you as more than just a business or corporation. A good manifesto becomes part of your brand strategy.

Modern marketing requires authenticity and trust. People want to build relationships with the brands they choose to invest in. It’s not hard to see first-hand how younger generations are untrusting of traditional marketing and prefer to connect through social media and reaching out directly (Even I have tweeted companies with both good and bad experiences).

A well-done brand manifesto not only draws in your ideal clients but can also draw in the right talent to your organization. When you can pull in high quality employees and contractors, you are able to provide a better service and product to your customers. You could waste time at job fairs, scour Facebook groups and freelancing sites for the perfect candidates, or you could create a brand that draws in candidates, giving you a pool of high quality resources at your disposal.

This can also be an entertaining way of showcasing how your brand is unique and why your target market should care about your brand. Simply, it should identify and define what a perfect world would be (according to your brand) and/or how declare how you’ll improve the lives of people who would be attracted to your brand and product/service.

 

So, in short, a brand manifesto:

  • Helps you clarify what your business is about. This can be refined to a series of words or terms that best describe your company (passion, potential, adventure, focus, etc.)
  • Refines your mission, vision, and values; distilling them into a cohesive and concise message that speaks to your target market.
  • Challenges you to examine (and reexamine) your “why” for running a business, and encourages you to present those reasons in a way that your audience can understand.
  • Becomes a source of inspiration, motivation, and eventually, guidance. It can become the compass by which your brand can navigate opportunities, decisions, challenges, and risks in your company, while never losing focus and straying too far from your brand and marketing strategy. If your brand manifesto no longer feels authentic or represents what your brand is doing, it may be time to reexamine and tweak or rewrite.
  • Calls out to your ideal market and creates a sense of belonging for them. You give them a “space” to be with others who value the same things and want the same outcomes. The manifesto helps create that sense of belonging and being part of something bigger. People today are looking for connection and this is your chance to create that connection.

How to write your brand manifesto.

First and foremost, read other manifestos. You’ll start to see a pattern of how they are set up and what kind of language you may want to use. This is your opportunity for your brand to showcase its personality, to say what you want, and if necessary, and call out to those who believe what you believe. This is the time to be purposeful with the words you choose to use.  

So, to get started, there are some general “guidelines” for writing a manifesto. There are 3 main parts to a manifesto: where, who, and what.

  1. Where are you going and why?
    1. What is your brands big idea? What gets you out of bed everyday? What’s our plan for a better world?  What’s currently wrong with our industry, niche, etc.? What do we want to change or disrupt? What’s your shared purpose with your target market?
  2. Who is with you?
    1. Who would be on your side? Who thinks similarly to you? Would would have your back?
    2. Example: Ted believes the future belongs to the curious.
  3. What actions will demonstrate your intent?
    1. Why would anyone believe you?
      1. Everlane protests against Black Friday excess by shutting down their website, Patagonia’s Worn Wear programme repairs 40,000 garments each year to help preserve the wild and the beautiful.

Other tips:

  • Use collective voice: (we’re for,  we believe, we create)
  • Use active voice: (Embrace, choose, climb, change, etc.)
  • Don’t feel like you have to follow any formula verbatim

Go forth and create a manifesto that encompasses who your brand is, what you stand for, and what you plan on doing to accomplish the mission and goals of the business. Call to those who will believe in your cause and deliver on what you say you will.

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