The Brand Humanifesto

In April, I wrote about letting your human show. It’s a novel idea for some brands. It makes others shake in their boots. For those that have embraced their humanness, however, there is no better place to share (or find) the core of a brand’s spirit than in their brand manifesto.

(Or perhaps it’s better we call it the brand humanifesto.)

We all use the word, but what is a manifesto, really?

The literal definition: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives or views of its issuer. A public declaration explaining past actions and announcing the motive for forthcoming ones.

So what makes a good brand manifesto? Where are brand manifestos born? And why even bother with a manifesto when you already have a vision statement and a mission statement working overtime for your brand?

First, I think it’s important to remember a manifesto is not a mission statement or a vision statement.

“I think the big idea [with a brand manifesto] is that it’s a public declaration, not something that’s limited to employees. Everyone sees it. Customers, investors, partners…everyone. It doesn’t feature vague, self-serving statements about being the “leading provider” or “market-share leader.” Your intentions are written in clear and friendly language, and the manifesto contains proof that you’re putting your intentions into action.” [read full article here]

What does that really mean? Its your brand. It’s you. With no walls. No jargon. No mumbo jumbo. It’s your sense of humor. Your sense of style. Your spirit. Your imagination and inspiration. It’s you unfiltered talking to your friends. It’s a kindred spirit rallying cry. Your team cheer. Your chant. It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning and the passion that energizes you long before the first cup of coffee.

Simply put: your brand manifesto is the real story of you.

Which begs the question…how does a brand sift through their entirety to distill down to the best bits of human inspiration, intention and injustice within? By the power invested in question mark, of course.

If you were on a protest march in the street to fight against something, what would you write on your banner? And if you were to flip this into a positive and fight for something, what would you write?

What is the bigger role your brand can play in everyday life? What sort of “legacy” would you like to leave behind after 5 years on the brand?

Ultimately, a manifesto needs to put a stake in the ground – what do you stand for? What do the people who subscribe to your vision believe in? What world do you and they want to see?” [read full article here]

And now for the fun – meet a few folks who are doing the brand humanifesto well.

Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optum Health Procycling (What if we all rode bikes? We’d all look good in lycra. And our carbon footprints would be reduced to the size of thumbprints.)

Bacardi (We are all meant to be together.)

Method (good always prevails over stinky.)

Amana (We believe guest towels shouldn’t be so fancy the guests are scared to use them. We believe in proudly displaying personal tchotchckes, even if we don’t know how to spell it.)

luluemon (Dance, sing, floss and travel.)

Chipotle (Food with INTEGRITY)

Pacifica Perfume (Fearlessness is our most valuable natural resource. Great waves make for great days.)

Roux Maison (We believe a cashmere sweater should last lifetimes. We believe the dryer eats one sock. We believe in making future heirlooms out of what we love today.)

SheWanders (We believe in pictures of cocktails and pictures of people with cocktails. We believe that backdrops are for pin up models and smilebooth.)

So. What’s your humanifesto?