What is a brand manifesto?
As a manifesto is “a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer” (Miriam-Webster), a brand manifesto is just that, publicly declaring the intentions, motivations and views of the brand. While not every company needs a manifesto, it can be a great way to get to the essence of a brand. The language that forms the manifesto helps excite and guide employees as they share the brand with the world, and also inspires and connects with consumers who interact with the brand.
A manifesto can be a single page statement, or a lengthy, designed “bible,” but it needs to have some basic elements:
Impact – This is the call to action, for you, your employees, and your consumers. What do you want to enable/inspire/change/create?
Passion – This is main differentiator for the manifesto (compared with the straight brand guide). Stir the emotions, and open up. Be vulnerable, be authentic. If there’s something about your company’s mission or goals that makes your heart pound, put it down here.
Essence – What do you believe? Why are you getting out of bed everyday to do this? What really drives you?
Connection – A good brand manifesto will inspire and create excitement and connection, resulting in easy brand evangelism. Employees will enthusiastically sell and consumers will enthusiastically buy in.
Make it look good
Turn it into a designed poster for the office, a glossy brochure, or a beautiful hardback book. Just give it some design love—it represents the heart of your business, so should be considered and given special attention.
Put it into action
The brand manifesto is more than a fluffy brand exercise—it can translate into hard marketing strategy around your service or product. The emotion and messaging can be tweaked for target audiences and applied to marketing materials that will create strong brand connections. We’ve seen this a lot with brands like Nike, Levi’s, and Apple.
A brand manifesto may be unnecessary or excessive for some companies. But for those attempting to connect with consumers on a human level, those experiencing the challenges of focus despite growth, or those simply needing to document the essential “why” of their business, a brand manifesto can be a beautiful part of their brand identity toolkit.