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Brand Manifesto: Why Every Business Needs One

Don’t underestimate the power of a brand manifesto! Please find out how it can help you stay true to your brand and connect with your audience at a deeper level. 

Written by RamotionJun 25, 20249 min read

Last updated: Jun 25, 2024

Defining Brand Manifesto

What is a brand manifesto? Is it a mission statement, a brand promise, or a philosophy?

When we encounter the word 'manifesto,' we often think of lengthy declarations by great visionaries. But anyone can have a manifesto—individuals, businesses, and other organizations.

It can be a powerful tool that helps us make sense of the chaos in our purpose and achieve great things. When adapted to branding, it elevates our understanding of the brand's essence.

A manifesto can be inspirational and aspirational, transform brands, and reinforce your connection with your customers.

Read on as we decode the brand manifesto and how to create one that moves people and transcends the test of time.

It is also a powerful driving force that influences and guides your employees and stakeholders. It is often regarded as the compass or North Star, ensuring everyone aligns with the brand’s beliefs, values, and purpose. 

Finally, it is a statement of promise to your customers, setting their expectations of your brand.

Why Your Company Needs a Brand Manifesto?

The brand manifesto is crucial in building a business's presence. It motivates you to create your brand identity and reminds everyone of what the brand can do to make a difference.

The brand manifesto is instrumental in ensuring that decisions align with your business goals, values, and vision. It impacts every step, from hiring employees and developing products and services to building a community of loyal customers and seeking brand partners.

Brand Manifesto vs Mission Statement

The brand manifesto and the mission statement encapsulate what the business wants to achieve. But they have different purposes.

Nike’s mission statement aims to inspire and motivate our inner athletes. Image via Nike

For starters, a mission statement is part of a brand manifesto. It focuses on the actions the brand will undertake to reach specific milestones.

It has a broader scope that details elements like core company values, vision, and mission statement. It lets you create a clear and defined roadmap toward your top priorities.

Three Elements of a Brand Manifesto

The three vital elements of a brand manifesto are the mission statement, vision statement, and core values.

Mission Statement: The How

The mission statement is a detailed outline of the steps the company wants to take to attain its goals. It leans toward being strategic as it declares the brand’s commitments to its customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Vision Statement: The Why

The brand vision pertains to the company's goals, what it aspires to be in the future, and how it can change or influence lives. It’s a reminder of why the company exists in the first place and of the greater purpose it wants to achieve.

Core Values: The Who

A brand’s core values are a set of beliefs or principles the company stands by. They are the cornerstone of the brand culture and identity. More importantly, the core values make a brand unique and appealing to like-minded individuals. 

When setting your brand values, remain authentic to your brand. Some examples of core values are diversity and inclusion, integrity, respect, honesty, and community.

How to Write a Brand Manifesto in Seven Steps

1. Research Your Audience and Competitors

Before writing a brand manifesto, know who you are talking to. Research your audience's pain points, needs, and preferences. Leverage surveys, online forums, and social media listening tools to know what people say and think about your brand.

A brand manifesto is your chance to be bold and highlight what makes you different. So, check out your competitors to avoid repeating the same sentiments and identify what they missed.

2. Identify Your Core Values

Your core values are akin to a person’s traits and beliefs. They’re what make up a personality or character that people resonate with. In branding, your core values can influence your audience's perception of your business.

For instance, the tech brand Samsung values “people, excellence, change, honesty, and co-prosperity.” The company also integrates an inclusive culture that drives innovation. It abides by these guiding principles when creating products and serving its customers.   

Here are some questions you can ask yourself when defining your brand’s core values:

  • What matters most to your brand?
  • What values do you want your business decisions to reflect?
  • How do you want people to remember your brand?

3. Define Your Brand Purpose

By defining your brand purpose, you have a deeper understanding of why your brand exists. It transcends earning profits, reaching specific numbers, or other quantifiable short-term goals. 

When defining your brand purpose, answer the following questions:

  • What inspired you to create your brand?
  • What makes your brand unique?
  • What problems does your brand address?
  • What changes does your brand want to make?

4. Add a Call-to-Action

One way to encourage your audience to participate and take action in your brand's mission is to include a call to action (CTA). A CTA is a short phrase or statement that prompts your audience to do something. Some examples of CTAs include ‘Buy now,’ ‘Sign up today,’ ‘Learn more,’ etc.

But writing a CTA for a manifesto requires some finesse. A good example is how notebook and papermaker Moleskin concluded its brand manifesto with a sentence that says, “Put pen to paper and unleash your unique voice.”

A CTA added to your manifesto inspires action. Image via Moleskine

5. Write the First Draft

You know your audience and competitors and have identified your core values. You also have a clear brand purpose and the perfect call to action. It’s time to combine these into a compelling brand manifesto. 

When drafting your manifesto, it is important to consider your intended audience. Remember to stay consistent with your tone and brand voice to reinforce your identity and become relatable.  

Done right, storytelling can be an exceptional tool for building an emotional bond. You can achieve this by weaving storytelling within your narrative. Reflect on your brand origin, the people behind the scenes, and your greater cause. You can also use a story or two from your customers to give a sense of authenticity and belonging.

6. Revise and Refine Your Manifesto

Your next step after the first draft is to gather feedback from your team. Let your team dissect your draft and identify parts that created a moment of spark and inspiration or frustration.

And prompt them to give suggestions. This information and suggestions can be instrumental in writing a collaborative manifesto that resonates with your intended audience.

7. Finalize Your Manifesto

Before you finalize your manifesto, here are some points to remember: 

  • Write like you are talking to someone important. A manifesto written in the second or third person makes it more personal, which can strengthen the emotional connection with your audience. 
  • Create an emotional narrative. A brand manifesto is not a set of rules. It is meant to guide, inspire, give hope, and provide a sense of community. So, always be authentic, and don’t be afraid to write with emotions. 
  • Be different. A good manifesto is powerful, memorable, and unique. It is bold and sets you apart from your competitors.
  • Consistency is key. Mind your tone and brand voice. Your visuals should also reflect your brand identity. Doing so drives brand recognition. 

Crafting a brand manifesto is not a one-and-done process. It never ends. Sometimes, a brand needs to take a new direction. Or customer behaviors and needs change. That said, periodically review and adapt it.

Examples of Powerful and Memorable Brand Manifestos

Let's explore some examples of inspiring brand manifestos and why they work.

1. (RED): AIDS Awareness Manifesto

Red is an organization that dedicates its efforts to supporting people living with AIDS. It leads initiatives to educate people about AIDS and fight injustices across communities.

Brand manifesto for RED. Image via RED AIDS Awareness

Through its brand manifesto, the organization communicates clearly what it does, what it isn’t, and the actions it takes to fuel its purpose. It gives people the choice and the power to create change. Finally, it pushes its audience to take a step further with its CTA: “All you have to do is upgrade your choice.”

New Balance: Bigger than Sneakers Manifesto

A brand manifesto doesn’t always have to be lengthy and poetic. Sometimes, a short and authentic statement can pack a powerful punch, successfully delivering your message and purpose. New Balance did just that with its brand manifesto.

The brand is committed to its mission of empowering people through sports. It continues to champion a sports culture that values diversity and inclusivity, challenging societal barriers. New Balance also takes pride in using sustainable materials to make environmentally friendly products.

These elements—mission, vision, and values—are perfectly encapsulated in their brand manifesto. Indeed, New Balance is not like any other sneaker brand.

A brand manifesto for New Balance. Image via New Balance

Apple: Think Different Manifesto

Apple’s iconic Think Different manifesto. Image via Adage

Back in the 90s, Apple was not in a good place. It was ridiculed and referred to as a “toy” computer brand trying to be huge in the market. With Steve Jobs returning as its CEO, things must change quickly before the brand tanks.  

Taking inspiration from the brand’s tenacity and constantly pushing boundaries, the 'Think Different' campaign was launched. It included a manifesto that perfectly summed up what Apple is.

It wants to be the best at making tools for geniuses, unafraid to be different. As the last sentence in the manifesto says, “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they  can change the world are those who do.”

The above manifesto from Apple made waves and remains in the minds of its loyal customers decades later. It inspired and made employees and customers proud to join the Apple community.

It influenced millions of potential customers to try their products just in time for the release of the iMac. Apple's stock price increased by three percent, a testament to how a brand manifesto can transform the brand and the people it serves. 

Are you ready to write a manifesto that touches hearts and succinctly communicates your brand purpose? With a professional brand strategy agency at your side, everything is possible!