The importance of a manifesto


In Marty Neumeier’s book, The Brand Gap, he tells us of three little questions used by brand consultant, Greg Galle:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you do?

3. Why does it matter?

The third question is the one most companies (or brands) can’t answer. And as we have discussed in class, answering this question assists customers in making purchases, developing affinities, and becoming brand ambassadors.

As you approach your positioning work, don’t be afraid to have a strong point of view. Try writing a manifesto that your company lives by. Clearly, establish the values of the brand and the principles upon which it was created.

Example: GymJones Fitness. A small gym in the Salt Lake area that takes no prisoners.

“The information on this site is a not a recommendation it’s just what we do. And we take responsibility for our actions. You should too.”

“At Gym Jones we train athletes. We train professionals. We train individuals. The common thread binding our clients is Will: to suffer, to throw former selves on the fire, to overcome and to change. For some of these individuals, fitness can mean the difference between life and death.”

Take a few minutes and read through the website. A well-defined philosophy for a well-defined target audience. Brilliant copy. Brilliant not only in the choice of words, but in the clarity of purpose.

What may seem exclusionary, can actually appeal to the populace.

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, he worked with his agency to develop a TV commercial manifesto that reestablished the purpose of Apple. “The Crazy Ones”. A majority of the copy was written by him and he even considered doing the voice over. You can find his narrated version is on YouTube.

The irony? He created a brand that celebrated the rebel and ended up with a company considered as one of the most popular in history. The broadly appealing underlying message is that the power and joy of personal creativity live in all of us. And Apple technology is dedicated to releasing that potential.

Defining choices was central to President Obama’s speech last night at the Democratic National Convention.

“On every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties,” Mr. Obama said. “When all is said and done, when you pick up that ballot to vote, you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.”

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy; I never have,” Mr. Obama told a packed arena. “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

So, answer the three questions. Let people know what you stand for. Take a stand and plant a flag. As Eddie Izzard pointed out, that’s how Great Britain built an empire.

Enjoy,

JIM JOHNSON

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