Frankly, brand manifestos aren’t for everyone. Not every business needs to change the world to be successful. Not every CEO is a passion-fueled vision-machine.
Let’s look at the ingredients that make up and feed into a great brand manifesto:
- Impact: The first question to ask is does your company have a positive impact on the world? With a manifesto, you’re trying to incite action. You do that by giving people a rallying cry, by showing them that their involvement with your brand will affect positive change.
- Passion: If you’re going to stir hearts, the story you’re writing has to come from a place of passion. And it needs to be genuine. And you need to be able to deliver against that promise of passion. So ideally, there’s at least one person in your company driving all that. Otherwise, your manifesto will ring flat, either today or in the future, when you fail to deliver against it. Use language in your manifesto that challenges expectations. Unlike the mission statement, a manifesto is speaking to a broader audience, so be sure to use a conversational tone, which will also help to relate your passion more vividly. Tell a compelling story. Incite an emotional response. You’re winning hearts here.
- What’s Inside? Although it shares many of the same goals and direction of a mission or vision statement, a manifesto goes beyond, encapsulating a brand’s beliefs and philosophies into an burning comet that connects emotionally with your audience – both employees and customers. And it takes this sense of connection and encourages action.
- Why a Brand Manifesto? Which brings us back to the question, “Why a brand manifesto?” Because if you’ve done your job, and people feel connected and aligned to your brand’s vision, they’re going to be brand evangelists. They’re going to share their love of your brand with others. And that’s possibly the best brand growth there is.
Examples of Brand Manifestos
Now let’s take a look at some brand manifestos already out there.
This is such a fun manifesto. While the call to action is a little generic, it does a great job of tapping into Levi’s origins and putting a modern spin on it. Levi’s believes in an enterprising, frontier spirit. If anything, the manifesto incites you to put your mark on the world, in a devil-may-care maverick spirit.
Here, they’ve cast windows as “pathways around walls.” It’s a little bit of a stretch, but it does get them to their prime message of connections between the digital and the personal and all points in between. And the accompanying visual is very powerful and indicative of how manifestos can, and should, employ more than just words to convey their meaning. There’s probably not a strong call to action here, but there is one suggested in the subtext: Using Windows breaks down barriers between you and the world, including others, information and your own productivity. So use Windows, so you can remove those annoying barriers.
This manifesto does some things well. It’s exciting. It’s visually compelling. It attempts to connect with the ideals of its audience and incite to action. It is a bit convoluted, however. It’s almost a laundry list of attributes. If the focus is “Dare to Change” for instance, let’s see this resonate throughout the piece. What’s the point of having lines like, “Do not glorify?” or “Do not patronize?” if they don’t move the manifesto toward its conclusion. Also, I found lines like “We are the voice of youth” and “We inspire youth to change the world” a little pedantic and trite. So, more focus and better writing would have made this manifesto a home run.
I’ve seen this brand manifesto for a yoga gear company all over the Internet. People love it. I love it too, but not as a brand manifesto. Look at this page for 30 seconds and sum up the lululemon vision. You can’t do it. You can’t even digest a tenth of the information here in that time. It gets you excited about living right, but not in any focused, connecting way.
If you have any contradictions, comments or questions for me, leave them in the comment s section, and I’ll reply. If you want a brand manifesto for your company, I do that too.