3 Steps to Writing a Brand Manifesto (and Why You Need One)

Three Steps to Writing a Brand Manifesto blog post by Caffeinated Design Studio

A brand manifesto is a documented set of ideas and beliefs that binds together a team. It’s the "how" behind what you do and what sets you apart. It’s also a handy tool to use when onboarding new hires, because it helps them quickly understand what your company and culture is all about at the core. If you don’t have one, you need one, and here’s how to make one.

1. Identify Your Core Cultural Values

What does your organization value? Flexibility. Fastidiousness. Ferocity. Feng shui. Fun. Family. Four o’clock beers. Consider what makes your teams tick, how you communicate, why you do what you do and what sets you apart. A brand manifesto for Apple might include beliefs on innovation and trendsetting. One for Lifetime Movie Network might include references to poignant melodrama and cliche archetypes. Whatever they are, get your values and beliefs, however unorganized, on paper.

2. Organize Your Ideas in One Place

Transfer your napkin scribbles into something cohesive. The result might be a paragraph, a list, a story, a poem. Netflix’s brand manifesto might list their values like movie scripts, while a translation company might write theirs in multiple languages. Whatever it is, your manifesto should be reflective of your brand voice and personality. Inject yours into it as much as possible.

3. Bring Your Brand Manifesto to Life

A manifesto is a living, breathing piece of internal marketing, and it needs a home. That home might be stationary or mobile, printed or digital, simple or ornate. Whatever it is, it should work for your team and your brand, and it should speak from your brand’s voice. Your manifesto’s format might be a digital piece like a PDF, website or video. It could also be formatted into a printed piece — a booklet, a poster, a menu, a fortune cookie, a children’s book. It should be relevant, but it should also be fun and creative, something original. The goal of a manifesto is to remind a team why they do what they do and re-energize them during rough times. Be sure your manifesto does just that.

Looking for ways to kickstart your brand manifesto brainstorm? Here are a few questions to get you thinking about your brand differently:

  • Your brand walks into a bar. What is it wearing? What does it order? What kind of bar is it?
  • If your brand were a famous movie or television character, who would it be?
  • If your team was stranded on an island together, how would you work together to survive?
  • Which reality game show does your team have the best chance of winning together?
Do you have a Brand Manifesto? Share it in the comments! We’d love to read yours.

[popup_trigger id=”4305″]Is your brand in alignment?
Kristin Heffley

Kristin Heffley

Chief Executive Caffeinator at Caffeinated Design Studio
Kristin Heffley is founder and Chief Executive Caffeinator at Caffeinated Design Studio, a visual marketing agency based near Seattle, Washington. She loves coffee, her family, and helping clients create knock-their-socks-off brands, among other things. Her favorite caffeinated drink is a sugar-free vanilla Americano.
Kristin Heffley
Kristin Heffley
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