At the heart of most brand books (guidelines, style guides, etc.) is a manifesto that uses evocative language to plant the brand’s figurative flag in the ground. These finely-tuned statements detail what the brand stands for and what it doesn’t, what it hopes to accomplish, and even what a perfect world may look like.
A brand manifesto describes why your organization exists, its purpose, and why people should care about your brand. It’s typically an emotional story that captivates your audience, emotionally connects with them, and persuades them to support your brand. Not only can it build a loyal customer base, but it can also attract top talent to your organization. – Hubspot
Brand manifestos are so common because they are so effective. Many of the artifacts created during brand building, while vitally important, aren’t necessarily intended to leave marketing silos. A well-written manifesto captures the spirit of your brand model and positioning, conveying what your brand stands for with an artifact that resonates with both external customers and internal stakeholders.
While manifestos are less commonly used to kick off campaigns, we’ve found that working them into our campaign process has been highly effective for our clients.
Alignment. Alignment. Alignment
Across teams (agency & client), manifestos get everyone on the same page and going in the same direction.
They Generate Excitement
Clients can take a manifesto from an agency and run it up their organization to get buy-in from the c-suite.
They Inform Creative
Many of our campaign manifestos have uncovered a key phrase that evolved into a headline, a line in a script, etc.
Typically, we’ll get started on a manifesto immediately after our creative teams have been briefed on an upcoming campaign. This way, the drafted (and client-approved) manifesto is able to serve as a gut check that we can measure our concepts, ideas, and executions against.
As for its length, the manifesto should be able to fit on a single page or slide, leaving room for some design flourishes if needed. Keep it concise, stupid. But not boring! And don’t fall victim to using vague language or cliches — a manifesto is only as effective as it is unique to the campaign. With each pass, eliminate generic brand language in favor of messaging that speaks to the brief’s hopefully brilliant insight.
Here’s an example of a manifesto we wrote for a Logitech personal collaboration campaign that generated some serious results:
If you’re struggling to get campaigns off the ground with your agency or client teams, consider drafting a manifesto. We’ve found them to be an incredibly powerful tool for getting successful campaigns started on the right foot.