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A step-by-step guide to crafting a powerful brand manifesto

April 10th 2024

By Emily

Standing out is about more than just a catchy tagline or a flashy logo. It’s about having a soul. Enter the brand manifesto: your declaration of purpose, a beacon that guides your brand through the choppy waters of the market.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty of how you can create a manifesto that resonates, inspires, and stands the test of time.

Step 1: Dig into your brand’s DNA

At the heart of every great brand is a core essence that sets it apart. This is where we roll up our sleeves and really get to the heart of your brand. What drives it? What does it stand for? Think of this as the brand’s soul-searching phase.

How to Do It: Start with a bit of introspection. Gather your team for a brainstorming session where no idea is too wild. Ask questions like, “What values are non-negotiable for us?” or “If our brand was a person, what would their personality be?” This is also a great time to look back at your brand’s journey—what have been the highlights and challenges, and what have you learned from them?

Top Tip: Use storytelling as a tool. Encourage your team to share personal stories about their experiences with the brand. This could be moments when they felt proud to be part of the team or times when the brand’s values were put to the test. Collecting these stories will give you raw, emotional insights into your brand’s essence.

Step 2: Hone into your brand’s purpose

The importance of having a clear, compelling purpose can’t be overstated. It’s the north star that guides your brand’s decisions and actions. It tells your customers not just what you do, but why it matters.

How to Do It: Refine the insights from your brainstorming session into a succinct purpose statement. This statement should capture the impact you want to have on the world and why your brand exists beyond making a profit. Think about the difference your brand wants to make in the lives of your customers or the wider community.

Top Tip: Make it aspirational yet achievable. Your purpose should be bold enough to inspire but grounded in reality so that every aspect of your brand can contribute to achieving it. And remember, simplicity is key—a powerful purpose statement is easy to understand and even easier to remember.

Step 3: Understand your audience

Before you send your manifesto out into the void, you need to know who’s out there, tuning into your frequency. Understanding your audience is like charting a map of the galaxies you wish to explore—it’s vital for ensuring your message doesn’t drift into the abyss unheard.

How to do it: Engage in deep-space probes and reconnaissance missions—metaphorically speaking. Use market research, surveys, and social listening tools to gather intelligence on your audience’s needs, desires, and pain points.

Top tip: Remember, communication is a two-way radio signal. Invite your audience to share their stories and feedback, making them co-navigators on your brand’s journey.

Step 4: Find your brand’s voice

Your brand’s voice is how you communicate your core essence and purpose to the world. It’s not just about the words you choose; it’s about how you say them. A distinctive, consistent voice helps build familiarity and trust with your audience.

How to Do It: Define the attributes of your brand’s voice. Is it friendly and informal, or authoritative and professional? Think about how your brand would communicate if it were a person—how does it speak, what language does it use, and what emotions does it evoke? This will help ensure your messaging is consistent across all platforms.

Top Tip: Create a brand voice chart that outlines do’s and don’ts for your brand’s communication. This can include examples of phrases to use, words to avoid, and the overall tone to aim for. Share this with anyone who communicates on behalf of your brand, ensuring everyone sings from the same hymn sheet.

Step 5: Inspire action

This is where your manifesto starts to flex its muscles. It’s not enough for it to simply exist; it needs to breathe life into your brand, pushing not just your team but your audience to leap into action.

How to Do It: Your manifesto should serve as a call to arms. Use language that’s not just descriptive but also prescriptive. Imagine your manifesto as a coach at halftime during the final match, what would it say to inspire the team to victory?

Top Tip: Mix in phrases that beckon your audience to act. Words like “Join us,” “Together, we can,” or “Let’s change the world by…” can be incredibly potent. They transform your manifesto from a monologue into a dialogue, inviting everyone to be part of your journey.

Step 6: Keep it short and sweet

Now, it’s all about distillation. A manifesto shouldn’t require a tea break halfway through reading it. Its power lies in its punchiness—each word must earn its place on the page.

How to Do It: Start expansive and then whittle down. Think of your first draft as a block of marble. Your job is to chisel away until only a striking statue remains. This is about capturing the essence, the very spirit of your brand, in as few words as necessary.

Top Tip: Engage in the art of reduction. For every draft you write, challenge yourself to cut it down further, honing in on the most vital messages. This process not only sharpens your manifesto but ensures that it’s something your audience can rally behind without needing a map and compass.

Step 7: Amplify your message with visuals

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of your manifesto, visuals amplify its message, embedding it in the minds of your audience.

How to Do It: Collaborate with your design team to translate your manifesto into a visual feast. This could be through typography that captures the essence of your voice or imagery and colours that reflect your brand’s spirit.

Top Tip: Consider every element of design as a tool for storytelling. From the choice of colours to the layout on your website or social media, each should be a thread that weaves together the broader narrative of your manifesto. It’s about creating an experience that speaks to both the mind and the heart.

Step 8: Live your manifesto day in and day out

The true test of a manifesto is not in its writing but in its living. It should inform everything you do, from your marketing strategies to your internal culture. It’s a living, breathing embodiment of your brand that should echo through your actions. Make sure your business practices, customer interactions, and even your social media engagement reflect the values and aspirations laid out in your manifesto. It’s not just about what you say; it’s about what you do.

How to Do It: Your manifesto should be the benchmark against which all decisions are measured. From the way you interact with customers to the products you launch, ask, “Does this align with our manifesto?”

Top Tip: Make your manifesto a living document within your organisation. Regular check-ins where you measure your actions against its principles can help ensure your brand lives up to its promises. Consider creating a manifesto checklist for new projects or initiatives, ensuring that every part of your brand is a reflection of its core beliefs.

To sum it all up…

Creating your brand manifesto is a journey into the soul of your brand. It’s a declaration of your values, your purpose, and your vision for the future. Done right, it not only distinguishes you in the marketplace but also builds a deeper connection with your audience. So, take the plunge, craft your manifesto with care, and let it be the beacon that guides your brand to its brightest future.

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