We’ve seen trailblazing brand manifestos and bold mission statements. And while both brand manifestos and mission statements talk about the big picture plan for your company, is there a difference?
The mission statement is often a description of your brand’s purpose — “what you do and why you do it,” a brand manifesto is a philosophy, a feeling. It taps into an emotion, and emotions hint at what’s beneath the surface. They convey the aspiration, challenges and intention of a brand. Ultimately though, it’s intention and clarity of purpose that counts. A well-crafted brand manifesto or mission statement can help set your course, align your people and bring the brand to life.
Reverion, a Munich-based climate startup develops plug-and-play clean power plants
What does a good manifesto need?
Manifestos read differently for different brands, they could be a collage of images, or inspiring quotes, or things you’re not (consider Lululemon and Zendesk). But more often than not, they’ll help answer four questions that define your brand quest.
Differing approaches: Zendesk clarifies what they’re not, Lululemon celebrates ideas they champion
1. The Aspiration: What’s your quest?
What kind of world is your brand working towards? Is it a world where AI benefits humanity? Where oncologists make more accurate diagnosis? Where people can find a happy place to work from? Make crypto safe for everyone? A manifesto paints the picture of the utopia you’re working towards. Good questions to get started: Why do you do what you do, and what kind of world do you want to see?
2. The Challenge: What stands in your way?
There’s a challenge you’re up against: perhaps it’s the current state of the world, the market, a prevailing mindset? Recognising and defining your challenges helps the outsider understand why this quest is important, instils urgency, and clarifies why your company needs to exist.
3. The Goal: What’s your deliverable?
This is an affirmation of your brand values and mission, but it’s also more tangible. If the quest was big picture, this goes into exactly how you’re going to fulfil your aspiration, and what product or solution you deliver.
4. The Plan: How are you going to get there?
End with your action plan — break your goal down into smaller steps, you have to tell people how you’re going to achieve it.
See it in action
Brand Mission / Manifesto: Bringing Dead Wood to Life
Consider, Woodoo, a startup working on alternative materials for various industries, creating decarbonised wood-based materials. “At Woodoo, we bring dead wood to life. We believe in a sustainable industrial future built on wood, using innovative, pioneering processes.” The brand articulates their purpose, before diving into the challenges that stand in its way, and the solution they’re gunning for. As manifestos go, this one is grounded in facts to make their argument persuasive, and create a sense of urgency.
Woodoo’s manifesto is grounded in facts to make a compelling argument and create urgency
Brand Mission / Manifesto: Climate Positive Power
Reverion, a Munich-based climate tech startup uses fuel cell technology for their plug-and-play clean power plants. “At Reverion, we are tackling the climate challenge head on by reimagining the power plant for a 100% renewable future.” Their mission develops into a manifesto, describing both the challenges they face and the immediate need to act, balancing facts with emotional urgency, and a clear vision for the future.
“The problem is urgent. The window to reverse climate change is small.
And achieving the seismic shift in our energy system we need requires more than hypothetical innovation or hopeful moonshots.
We need solutions that are ready to generate change at scale.
And we need them now.”
Reverion’s mission develops into a manifesto, and offers a vision for the future
Why purpose is more important than ever before
Generations Y and Z are rallying for change. They’re demanding brands and businesses that meet a higher standard. They’re demanding that organisations take action and celebrating the ones that stand out. Consider Patagonia’s foray to protect public lands. To change society, larger companies can and must lead by example. The consumers of today want to see that businesses care about people, beyond their shareholders. A Deloitte global survey found that Millennials and Gen Zs factor in corporate social responsibility when deciding where to spend their money, and where to pursue job opportunities.
Purpose is a priority
- Consumers are 4 to 6 times more likely to purchase, protect and champion purpose-driven companies
- 94% of global consumers say it is important that the companies they engage with have a strong purpose, and prove they will reward those who do
- Consumers do not believe companies today have a clear and strong purpose (only 37% do)
- 28% Millennials and Gen Zs have boycotted brands based on their environmental impact
- 49% Gen Z made employment decisions based on their businesses’ ethics
Clarity of Purpose, Transparent Intent and Authentic Expression
Patagonia’s iconic manifesto put it’s planet-first philosophy front and center, it helped to draw in employees, customers and partners who were aligned with the brand and shared the founder’s vision. It doesn’t matter what you call it, we won’t split hairs over where a mission statement ends and a manifesto begins. What does matter is how clear the purpose is, a business with vague founding ideals or high-flown aspirations is unlikely to hold up to closer examination. And consumers today are wary of brands pretending to be what they’re not.
The best brand missions and manifestos are more than words. They’re action. They’re values customers, employees and partners authentically believe in. They energise and inspire, they can even act as a map to guide, to validate decisions and course correct in times of doubt and confusion.
Choose to express your mission and manifesto with clarity, transparency and authenticity. Speak to your customers as a community. Allowing employees, customers, and partners to develop a sense of participating in shared values, and revisiting these values as a basis for action can help build strong brands, a dynamic business ecosystem with relationships that last.
Are you ready to take your brand to the next level with a killer manifesto or mission statement?
Whether you’re drafting a brand manifesto, company mission or vision, Spectra has got your back!
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