Types of Brand Manifestos


Overview

The most valuable lesson you can learn about manifestos is to make it about one thing. If you’re celebrating your brand purpose, don’t give advice. If you’re giving advice, don’t talk about your process.
My method is by identifying what I call “genres.” The genre is the distinct function or role your manifesto needs to accomplish to be successful. Although your manifesto may talk about a lot of things, this is the gravity that everything revolves around.

The secret

Every genre has a secret that is essential for its success. This is a crucial element that must be included in any manifesto of that genre or the whole thing falls apart.
 

What are the genres?

Here are the eight most common. Click or scroll down to explore each of these in detail.
  • Purpose: Why does your brand exist?
  • Story: What journey got you here?
  • Process: What is your secret sauce?
  • Advice: Who can you push to do better?
 

This is our purpose

Use case

This is usually the first and most important manifesto brands write. If your brand hasn’t written any of the other ones on this list, this is a great place to start.
This is also the manifesto you want to write if you’re going through a rebrand, redefining your purpose, establishing your legacy, or drawing a line in the sand. Think of Purpose manifestos as the North Star.
The best versions of these are specific and focused enough to guide internal decisions. They set the foundation for new hire orientation, rally current employees, and re-invigorate folks who have been there a long time. The best ones are hung on a wall.

The secret: specificity

These manifestos thrive on details. Specifics are the proof that you actually do believe in your purpose as much as you say. You know the pain points. The opportunities. The magic everyone else misses.
This is also a valuable pressure test. If you can’t fill your manifesto with these details, it’s a red flag. You might have the wrong insight or the wrong genre for your idea.

Examples

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Nike, “A Message from Nike Running”
We are what we believe. We founded and built an entire company on that idea. And we believe In helping RUNNERS - fast runners, slow runners, heavy runners, skinny runners, long-distance runners and sprinters. We believe In helping middle-distance runners too. And runners from Kenya, Japan, Oklahoma and every other corner of this planet. We believe In the magic of Hayward Field. We believe in long Sunday runs. We believe 20 quarters under 70 Is still a good workout. We believe in tempo runs and fartlek. We believe JOGGERS are RUNNERS. We believe in cross-country. We believe in J.V. dual meets on Tuesday afternoons. We believe in professional Track & Field. We believe running is therapy. We believe the smell of the starter's gun is an aphrodisiac. We believe lactic acid is good for you. We believe that your PERSONAL BEST isn't always a PR. We believe in knowing the route and running aimlessly. We believe this should be fun. We believe running in the dark, in the cold, in the heat, in the humidly, in the rain and in the snow is part of the deal. We believe in skipping a day. We believe in making mistakes and learning from them. We believe innovation is the oxygen of our brand. We believe in testing, re-testing, wear testing, testing on our spouses and testing on super fast guinea pigs. We believe in the genius of Bowman and the spirit of PRE. We believe THERE IS NO FINISH LINE. We believe in you. Just do it. Run.
 
Pedigree, “Dogs Rule”
We're for dogs. Some people are for the whales. Some are for the trees. We're for dogs. The big ones and the little ones. The guardians and the comedians. The pure breeds and the mutts. We're for walks, runs and romps. Digging, scratching, sniffing and fetching. We're for dog parks, dog doors and dog days. If there were an international holiday for dogs, on which all dogs were universally recognized for their contribution to the quality of life on earth, we'd be for that to. Because we're for dogs. And we've spent the last 60 years working to make them as happy as they've made us. Dogs rule.
 
Miller, “This is The High Life”
Only a large-scale decline in American manhood can account for the near disappearance of Miller High Life Beer. High Life is part of a brighter, bolder world that, through laziness, fear, and salad worship, we've forgotten. Let us help men be men again, that this brand can once again be great. To live the High Life is to be a man. To return to simple, manly virtues; to a time when men didn't take themselves too seriously; when a man worked hard to create a better world for himself, his family, and his neighbor, and knew the proper reward for his efforts: Miller High Life Time. To live the High Life is to exercise the manly principles that built a nation, kept Boris in his place, and set several land-speed records. Pursue the High Life and you put a man on the moon. Turn your back on it, and a cheap thermal-tile glue grounds your whole space program. Pursue the High Life and your oversized Cadillac consumes the road like a many-finned shark. Turn your back on the High Life? Have a nice K-car. When a once proud man loses his taste for the High Life, even his taste for football-the sport of Dick Butkus, Knute Rockne, and Jim Thorpe-wanes. How else do we explain the new, sad popularity of a so-called sport like soccer? America, is that you? We have gotten soft. Lost. Confused, we are slowly realizing that our chosen religions—Convenience, Aerobic Fitness, Yogurt—leave us feeling hollow in the way a good steak never would. The world cries out for men to walk the Higher Path. Coffee boutiques consume retail space that might better be used by hardware merchants. John Tesh is able to have a career. Richard Simmons is allowed to live. Fitness industry stocks pay better dividends than aerospace exploration. Isn't it time for a man to reclaim control of his own destiny; to pursue the High Life in the manner our founding fathers had intended; to embrace the High Life to which each of us, by nature's grace, is born? We will throw away our self-lighting charcoal. We will question the leather interiors and automatic transmissions of the sports utility vehicles we dare call "trucks? We will stare down every shameful modern manifestation of male impersonation and say: you cannot kill our beer. You cannot take away the High Life to which we are entitled. Try as you might, you cannot keep a High Life man down. Let us then assert manliness in all its simple glory. Let us revisit a time when elbow grease and bacon grease, like High Life, are never in short supply. Bound by honor to our brave social contract, we accept it as our duty to give the world some much-needed lessons in how to lead this High Life.
 
Apple, “We Believe”
This is what we believe. Technology alone is not enough. Faster. Thinner. Lighter. Those are all good things. But when technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful. Even magical. That’s when you leap forward. That’s when you end up with something like this.
 
 

This is our solution

Use case

A sub-genre of Purpose manifestos that shares your solution to the problem. Make sure you have both pieces: (a) a problem that threatens something important, and (b) your unique solution.
When establishing the problem, make it vivid and heavy. We shouldn’t be able to shrug this off. We need to be uncomfortable and start to crave the solution. That’s what holds our attention.
Similarly, your solution needs to completely solve the problem. It can just start to chip away at it. If you go through the torture of bring us into this problem, you owe it to use to bring us out.

The secret: simplicity

Complexity is death here. You have to remember nobody is asking to care about this problem. You’re asking them. Make it easy. Even the most objectively complex problems should be conveyed as clearly as possible.
The best versions reduce down the message to a single action. You want people to buy a certain product, change one thing about their thinking, remember one idea that changes everything, and so on.

Examples

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(RED), “The (RED) Manifesto”
All things being equal, they are not. As first world consumers, we have tremendous power. What we collectively choose to buy, or not to buy, can change the course of life and history on this planet. (RED) is that simple an idea, and that powerful. Now, you have a choice. There are (RED) credit cards. (RED) phones, (RED) shoes, (RED) fashion brands. And no, this does not mean they are all red in color, although some are. If you buy a (RED) product or sign up for a (RED) service, at no cost to you, a (RED) company will give some of its profits to buy and distribute anti-retroviral medicine to our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS in Africa. We believe that when consumers are offered this choice, and the products meet their needs, they will choose (RED), and when they choose (RED) over non-(RED), then more brands will choose to become (RED) because it will make good business sense to do so. And more lives will be saved. (RED) is not a charity. It is simply a business model. You buy (RED) stuff, we get the money, buy the pills and distribute them. They take the pills, stay alive, and continue to take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities. If they don't get the pills, they die. We don't want them to die. We want to give them the pills. And we can. And you can. And it's easy. All you have to do is upgrade your choice.
 
Rain Forest Alliance, “Follow the Frog”
You are a good person. You spend time with your family. You work out at the gym. You conserve water while showering. You like nice clothes. You give to charity. You recycle. You drive a Prius but you use your bike when you can. You enjoy the occasional distraction at work and you always send a card on Mother's day. Always. But there's a part of you that tells yourself that you are not so good; that you could be doing more; that the world is falling apart at the seams and all you’ve been doing is yoga. One day you see that the rainforest is being destroyed at a staggering rate of 32 million acres a year. That's the equivalent of one football field every 78 seconds. You feel bad, angry, guilty. You've been apathetic for too long. You want to do something about it. You must do something about it. Well this is what you're not going to do. You're not going to quit your job, leave your family, get on the next flight to Nicaragua, take a bus to the edge of the jungle, then hoof it across rivers, lakes and streams on a quest to the very heart of the rainforest. You're not going to ingratiate yourself with the local tribesmen, go to great lengths to earn their respect and trust. It is around now that you realize you are living out the cliche gringo fantasy of becoming an honorary native and leading the resistance forces. But screw it. If they can do it, so can you. You're not going to coordinate an Occupy the Rainforest movement, realize it's hopeless, summon the power of the gods, lead a revolution against the deforesters and their multinational employers in an apocalyptic, only to awaken two days later in an El Salvadorian hospital with two toes missing on your left foot, hobble out of Central America, up through Mexico, across the Sierra Madre, where you break down, have your first cigarette in four years, accidentally start a wildfire killing off the endangered species that once served as your occupational distraction, finally make it back home only to find you've been replaced at work by a guy named TJ and that things at home are not what they used to be. You're not going to do any of these things. But what you can do is follow the frog. Buying Rainforest Alliance Certified products ensures the future of our rainforests so that you don't have to do the things you shouldn't do anyway. Just follow the frog.
 
The Girl Effect, “The Clock is Ticking”
We have a situation on our hands. And the clock is ticking. When a girl turns 12 and lives in poverty her future is out of her control. In the eyes of many, she’s a woman now. No, really she is. She faces the reality of being married by the age of 14. Pregnant by the time she’s 15. And if she survives childbirth she might have to sell her body to support her family. Which puts her at risk for contracting and spreading HIV. Not the life you imagined for a 12-year-old, right? But the good news is, there is a solution. Let’s rewind to her at 12. Happy and healthy. She visits a doctor regularly. She stays in school. Where she’s safe. She uses her education to earn a living. Now, she’s calling the shots. And it looks something like this: She can avoid HIV. She can marry and have children when she’s ready. And her children are healthy like she is. Now imagine this continuing for generation after generation. You get the picture, right? 50 million 12-year-old-girls in poverty. Equal 50 million solutions. This is the power of the Grirl Effect. That starts with a 12-year old girl. And impacts the world. The clock is ticking.
 
CoorDown, “Assume that I Can“
Hey bartender. You assume that I cannot drink a margarita. So you don’t serve me a margarita. So I don’t drink a margarita. Your assumption becomes reality. And parents. You assume that I cannot live on my own. So you don’t encourage me to live on my own. So I don’t live on my own. Coach. You assume that I cannot hit harder. So you don’t train me to hit harder. So I don’t hit harder. And teacher. You assume that I cannot learn Shakespeare. So you don’t teach me Shakespeare. So I don’t learn Shakespeare. But hey If all your assumptions become reality Then assume that I can drink a margarita. So you serve me a margarita. So I drink a margarita. Assume that I can live on my own. So I live on my own. Assume that I can hit harder. So I hit harder. Assume that I can learn Shakespeare. So I learn fucking Shakespeare. You assumed I couldn’t swear, right? Assume that I can do that job. That I can go to parties. That I can have sex. That I can be on stage. Assume that I can. So maybe I will.
 
 

This is our story

Use case

A close relative of Purpose manifestos. This is a captivating telling of your heritage, your history, or your journey. Many brands want one of these, so be careful here. Story manifestos can be a trap. They’re rarely needed, which is why there are so few examples of good ones.
The best versions of these tend to come from legacy brands with a strong point of view. The piece becomes a lesson in resilience of what it took to believe in something.
When crafting your own, learn about the full depth of your brand’s history. Focus and own the negatives. Show how that transformed or galvanized better action.

The secret: surprise

It’s crucial to only tell this story if it’s interesting. Nobody cares about your happy perfect story. They want triumph over struggle.
This might be why Story manifestos are often the longest ones in the archive because the only brands who knock out good ones have a lot to say. I recommend waiting until the story is so good you can’t shut up about it, then give it a go.

Examples

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Johnnie Walker, “The Man Who Walked Around the World”
Hey, piper! Shut it! Here’s a true story about a young lad named John. Just a local farm boy, but there was something special about the lad, a glint in his eye, a fire in his belly, a spring in his step. And one day he went for a walk. Now, this walk began when his father died. The year was 1819 and he was just 14 years old. Bereavement counseling? Well, these were the days when young boys sent into the fields, the mills, the mines, tough times. But young John was smart enough to be lucky. His father’s farm, where he was born and raised, was sold and the proceeds used to open a grocer’s. Big responsibility for the wee lad. His own shop in Kilmarnock, with his name on the door: John Walker. Or Johnnie, as the world now knows him. Back then, all grocers stocked a range of local single malts, but they could be a wee bit inconsistent. For John, that wasn’t good enough. He began blending different malts together as a way of offering his customers a consistent, unique product. Now, this back-room art quickly developed into a commercial proposition and a very profitable one. And because there’s nothing like a commercial proposition to stir Scottish heart, it grew quickly into an industry filled with ambitious entrepreneur distillers. John thrived in this environment, and so too soon would his sons, Robert and Alexander, who joined him on his journey. The Walkers became the biggest name in a rapidly growing industry. They were unstoppable. In one bolt bit of 19th-century corporate raiding, they bought the famed distillery at Cardhu, lock, stock and… ensuring their supply of this silky single malt, and guaranteeing, more importantly, that none of the other big blenders could get their hands on it. But young Alexander wasn’t content with being Scotland’s biggest blender. Not ambitious enough for him. No, no. He convinced the ships’ captains of Glasgow to act as agents for him, and drove the whisky bearing his father’s name across the globe. By 1860, he had developed the square bottle, now with a label at an angle of precisely 24 degrees. No big deal, you might think, but you’d be wrong. The square bottle meant less breakages and more bottles per shipment. The diagonal label meant larger type and together that meant Johnnie Walker had unmistakable presence on any shelf in the world. The bottle became an icon, and the rich liquid it contained sought after and consumed across the globe. Quite a character, Alexander Walker. Master of the blender’s art, ambitious, uncompromising, Mr. Walker. It was John’s grandsons, George and Alexander II’s turn to join him on his journey. They led the brand into the 20th century. By 1909, they had developed the iconic Red Label and Black Label, and persuaded Tom Browne, the best young illustrator of the day, to sketch a striding man on a napkin during a business lunch. In the stroke of a pen, the Victorian grocer was transformed into an Edwardian dandy. By 1920, Johnnie’s walk had taken him through 120 countries, and he continued walking through the brand’s advertising over the next 50 years, into the fabric of global culture, deep into the dark hearts of several wars, to the pleasure palaces of the aristocracy, immortalized by screen legends, celebrated by filmmakers, singers, songwriters, novelists, shoulder-to-shoulder with the great sportsmen of the age, winning countless international awards for quality and even being awarded the Royal Warrant by King George V. No going back after that. No that going back would even have occurred to Johnnie or any of his family. By the end of the 20th century, the familiar Red Label and Black Label were joined by the Green Label, the Gold Label and, the grandest of them all, Johnnie Walker Blue Label. By the beginning of the 21st century, Johnnie Walker wasn’t just the world’s biggest whisky brand, but an international symbol of progress, the brand’s ‘Keep Walking’ mantra adopted by pro-democracy protestors and parliamentary speech writers. What would the farm-born Victorian grocer have thought of all of this? He’d have loved it. A Victorian farm-born grocer he might have been, but he, and the family that followed him, were possessed by a fiery ambition, with the skill and intelligence to match. Two hundred years later and Johnnie Walker’s still walking. And he’s not showing any signs of stopping.
 
DDB, “Let’s Tell the Truth”
"I got a great gimmick. Let's tell the truth.” —N.M.Orhbach. Doyle Dane Bernbach was given this advice 22 years ago by our first client, and we still like it. It's a gimmick that has some fantastic advantages. In the first place you go to heaven. In the second place other people can't lay a glove on you. And in the third place, telling the truth is the best known way of moving merchandise. Of course, telling the truth isn't always easy. After the fact some of DDB's problems don't look so tough. But at the time, it took a lot of stamina to use our gimmick. Take that automobile we do the advertising for. Back in the beginning that car was strange looking creature. At least to Detroit-conditioned eyes. In fact, it looked like a beetle. So we called it a beetle. We sold cars. Or take that rental car company we called "number two.” That was practically un-American. The consumer wasn't supposed to be impressed unless you called yourself the biggest, or the fattest or the most important. Something. We took a chance on truth. We rented cars. We have a bank client who asked us to advertise mortgage loans. Instead of advertising low-cost mortgage loans we prepared a 1400 word, 240 line ad describing all of the terrible shocks and blows you are subjected to at a mortgage closing. That was doubly ridiculous in as much as nobody reads copy. Right? They read copy when you're telling them something. Not only did the bank's mortgage business shoot up, they were able to spread their name all over town because of some 100,000 reprint requests. Another word for truth is information. Supplying information to potential customers is where advertising started. And it is still the most important job. Done believably, memorably, entertainingly sometimes, but done. That's why at Doyle Dane Bernbach, we pay as much attention to print today as we ever did (including this ad). Print is neither "hot" nor "cold"? It's honest. Inherently. You're out there on the page, naked, without so much as a guitar. Just your product and the word. And you're out there with that ordinary man in the street, who turned into a consumerist skeptic and who has learned to spot a hedge three columns away. And with print he can take a long, slow, devastating look. We've got a confession to make. It's got nothing to do with heaven. People are as smart as we are. That's why we tell the truth.
 
Chrysler, “Born of Fire”
I got a question for you. What does this city know about luxury, hm? What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well I'll tell you. More than most. You see, it's the hottest fires that make the hardest steel. Add hard work and conviction. And a know how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That's who we are. That's our story. Now it's probably not the one you've been reading in the papers. The one being written by folks who have never even been here. Don't know what we're capable of. Because when it comes to luxury, it's as much about where it's from as who it's for. Now we're from America, but this isn't New York City. Or the Windy City. Or Sin City. And we're certainly no one's Emerald City. This is the Motor City. And this is what we do. SUPER: The Chrysler 200 has arrived. SUPER: Imported from Detroit
 
 

This is our process

Use case

Similar, but distinctly different to Story manifestos. Process manifestos bring people on the factory tour. (Even if you don’t have a factory or anything to tour.) Don’t go into your history here. Focus entirely on what you’re doing now.
Like Story manifestos, these can also be a trap. You shouldn’t use these when you want to establish expertise. A better choice for that are Difference manifestos. Why? Without tension, you’re just bragging. Make it fun, or funny, or stupid.
Process manifestos should be purely for entertainment purposes only. Don’t make people sit down in a classroom with a notebook. Put them in a tram and give them a beer.

The secret: secrets

You absolutely have to give away your secret recipe. That’s why people go on the tour. If you don’t, people hate you for wasting their time. Give them the magic. They’ll feel special.
Here’s a trick: if you need to make it more interesting, just make it up. (And make it obvious that you’re doing so.) You can have fun with it, make jokes, go over the top.
You’ll get away with this if the hyperbole is in service of the genuine truth. The Aviation Gin spot is 100% bullshit, but you walk away from it knowing they care a lot about making great liquor.

Examples

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Aviation Gin, “The Process”
Y’know, people come up to me all the time and say, “What makes Aviation Gin so delicious?” Most of the time, I run away because non-celebrities frighten me. But here is the answer. It begins each morning at 4am. The distillers of Aviation Gin rise to great the new day with four hours of silent meditation. From there, it’s a quick scoot down to the grove. The citrus fruits are misted only with the tears of Aviation’s owner. Me, Ryan Reynolds. All of our botanicals are humanely caught. Cage-free and grain-fed. The reason some people don’t drink gin is that strong juniper taste. So, after apologizing to each berry individually. We beat the living hell out of them. Creating a smoother, more refined finish. To ensure that heavenly taste, every bottle of Aviation is Ordained by the Unitarian Church of Fresno California. And then, before it departs home, serenaded with the healing music of Sarah McLachlan. Some might call this overkill. But the next time you visit your local mixologist and you murder that silky-smooth Aviation martini, well who’s the killer now, asshole. SUPER: Aviation. An American original. Now owned by a Canadian.
 
Apple, “Intention”
If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy. Abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus. The first thing we ask is: What do we want people to feel? Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection. Then we begin to craft around our intention. It takes time. There are a thousand no’s for every yes. We simplify. We perfect. We start over. Until everything we touch. Enhances each life it touches. Only then do we sign our work: Designed by Apple in California.
 
Dollar Shave Club, “Our Blades are F**ing Great”
Hi, I’m Mike. Founder of dollar shave club dot com. What is dollar shave club dot com? Well, for a dollar a month we send high quality razors right to your door. Yeah, a dollar. Are the blades any good? No. Our blades are fucking great. Each razor has stainless steel blades and aloe vera lubricating strip and a pivot head. It’s so gentle a toddler could use it. And do you like spending 20 dollars a month on brand name razors? And do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle, a flashlight, a back scratcher and 10 blades? Your handsome-ass grandfather had one blade, and polio. Stop paying for shave tech you don't need … and stop forgetting to buy your blades every month and start deciding where you're going to stack all those dollar bills I’m saving you. We are dollar shave club dot com and the party is on. SUPER: Shave time. Shave money.
 
 

This is our difference

Use case

For this genre, you always want to focus on a perceived negative. Don’t tell us a difference is a positive, such as you care about your customers. Nobody will care. But what if you came out and owned that you don’t care about your customers? Now that’s interesting.
Great versions of Difference manifestos flip perceived negatives into USPs. To do this, find the thing you’re proud of that’s being attacked, insulted, or doubted.
If your competitors insult you for going slow, demonstrate why it’s insane to go fast. If they say you’re behind the times, show how patience gives you perspective that benefits the consumer. Whatever it is, flip it, own it, and make sure you say it so well that they can’t punch a hole in it.

The secret: confidence

This manifesto is not for timid brands. You absolutely need to have the confidence to take a strong point of view. If that doesn’t feel good, no problem. Just pick a different genre.
The best Difference manifestos don’t actually talk about the competition directly. They make hard-hitting points that make the competition’s argument irrelevant. The only choice the opposition should have after this is to pick a new attack or focus on something else.

Examples

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Avis, “We Try Harder”
Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So why go with us? We try harder. (When you're not the biggest, you have to.) We just can't afford dirty ash-trays. Or half-empty gas tanks. Or worn wipers. Or unwashed cars. Or low tires. Or anything less than seat-adjusters that adjust. Heaters that heat. Defrosters that defrost. Obviously, the thing we try hardest for is just to be nice. To start you out right with a new car, like a lively, super-torque Ford, and a pleasant smile. To know, say, where you get a good pastrami sandwich in Duluth. Why? Because we can't afford to take you for granted. Go with us next time. The line at our counter is shorter.
REI, “#OptOutside”
I’m Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI. This Black Friday, we’re closing all 143 of our stores. And we’re paying our employees to get outside. Because we believe a life lived outside is a life well lived. We’d rather be in the mountains than in the aisles. Join us on November 27th and opting outside. Thanks!
 
Volkswagen, “Think Small”
Think small. Our little car isn't so much of a novelty any more. A couple of dozen college kids don't try to squeeze inside it. The guy at the gas station doesn't ask where the gas goes. Nobody even stares at our shape. In fact, some people who drive our little flivver don't even think 32 miles to the gallon is going any great guns. Or using five pints of oil instead of five quarts. Or never needing anti-freeze. Or racking up 40,000 miles on a set of tires. That's because once you get used to some of our economies, you don't even think about them any more. Except when you squeeze into a small parking spot. Or renew your small insurance. Or pay a small repair bill. Or trade in your old VW for a new one. Think it over.
 
 

This is our advice

Use case

This is when brands take the opportunity to encourage, motivate, and inspire a specific group. Make sure your brand either has permission to do this, or is related enough to the group that it can ring genuine.
Use these manifestos when you want to help elevate your audience. When you see them making the same mistakes over and over, or when you’re concerned they’re going in the wrong direction. Help show them the right way. These manifestos work best (and maybe only) when your brand is successful, beloved, or admired.

The secret: authority

Here’s a good pressure test: if you need to establish your authority in this space, you shouldn’t do one of these manifestos. Nike didn’t write manifestos like this in year one. But now they have the credence to do it whenever they want.
Your authority needs to be known the moment you start talking. The reason why this is so important is because you can only focus on one thing. Don’t muddle it up with anything but the point you’re making.

Examples

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TBWA\Chiat\Day, “Do the Brave Thing”
Don't do the right thing. God knows, you'll be tempted. The right thing sounds so good in meetings. It looks fantastic in charts. The right thing soothes racing pulses, and settles churning stomachs. Everybody can get on board with the right thing. The right thing is "good enough." But good enough is not enough. Don't do it. Don't do the right thing. Avoid it like the plague. So, what are you supposed to do? The wrong thing? Of course not. Do the brave thing. The thing that troubles your sleep. The thing with a million unknowns. That seems ridiculous one moment, and genius the next. That's the thing you should do. Chase it down. Do the thing that disrupts. That upends. That doesn't just defy the status quo, but reshapes it, forever. You can do that. You have that in you. To do the right thing or not, is a choice. To disrupt or not, is a choice. Let's do the brave thing.
 
Axe, “Find Your Magic” 
C’mon, a sixpack? Who needs a sixpack when you got the nose. Or a nose when you got the suit. Now you don’t need a suit when you got the moves. Or moves when you got the fire. Or fire when you rock those heels. And heels when you ride those wheels. Looks? Man, who needs looks when you got the books. Or books when you got some balls. And who needs all that when you get the door. When you got the dough. The brains. The touch. The aww. That’s right. Who needs some other thing when you got your thing. Now work on it. SUPER: Find your magic.
 
Nike, “Dream Crazy” 
If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do — good. Stay that way. Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult. It's a compliment. Don't try to be the fastest runner in your school, or the fastest in the world. Be the fastest ever. Don't picture yourself wearing LBJ's jersey. Picture LBJ wearing yours. Don't settle for homecoming queen or linebacker. Do both. Lose a hundred-twenty pounds then become an Ironman after beating a brain tumor. Don't believe you have to be like anybody to be somebody. If you're born a refugee, don't let it stop you from playing soccer for the national team at age 16. Don't become the best basketball player on the planet. Be bigger than basketball. Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything. When they talk about the greatest team in the history of the sport, make sure it's your team. If you have only one hand, don't just watch football play it. At the highest level. If you're a girl from Compton, don't just become a tennis player. Become the greatest athlete ever. So don't ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they're crazy enough. SUPER: It’s only crazy until you do it. SUPER: Just do it.
 
 

This is our inspiration

Use case

The opposite of Advice manifestos. This is when you know want to honor the thing, person, mindset, or idea that inspires your brand. Doing this well means that your audience will likely find inspiration in this thing, too. Find beauty in unacknowledged places.
Done well, these feel like gifts to your audience or the group in question. Some have saved lives.
This is the perfect manifesto to use when you don’t have anything to say—no products to release, no initiatives to announce, no success to brag about. Inspiration manifestos are how to talk about your values in a genuine way. These also work great in overcrowded categories.

The secret: restraint

The hardest thing to do with these manifestos is to only focus on the thing that inspires you. You can’t talk about yourself at all. You might be able to sneak in a single line, but even that is risky.
This manifesto needs to be about them. It’s a tribute. Don’t turn the camera around or it will look like you’re using them. Treat this like a portrait.

Examples

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Apple, “The Crazy Ones”
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. Think Different
 
Nike, “Dream Crazier”
If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. If we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy. But. A woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking—crazy. Coaching an NBA team—crazy. A woman competing in a hijab, changing her sport, landing a double-cork 1080, or winning 23 Grand Slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more? Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, and crazy. So if they want to call you crazy—fine. Show them what crazy can do. SUPER: Just do it.
 
Puma, “After Hours Athlete”
Backspin on a warped table under bad light. A kiss off the 8-ball, a bank on the six. Double bull on a single throw, three pints in. Picking up a spare in the final frame. Singing on-key, off-key, and, losing keys. Steady hands, blurry eyes. Bars, billiards, basements. Bacon sandwiches with extra hot sauce. Surviving buzz-kills, third-wheels, cock-blocks and cabs in the rain. Finish lines drawn by dawn. These are the providence of the After Hours Athlete. When last call calls, don't answer. The night, too, is for sport. And they are the champions.
 
 

This is our perspective

Use case

The final and broadest range of manifestos. This is the one to use when you have a strong point of view about something that you want to share. It could be a response, an apology, an objection, a rebuke, a defense, and so on.
This is your chance to make an impact in the conversation and change it to your favor. This needs to be a mic drop. Don’t go in soft. If you’ve got something you want to say, make sure that you leave no doubt whether you truly believe it.
This is the perfect use case if the thing you’re talking about is temporary. Perspective manifestos aren’t about sharing your primary mission or cause. If it were, you’d use a Solution manifesto above. Instead, this is an opportunity to rise up, make your point, then go back to your corner.

The secret: authenticity

The worst mistake you can make with this manifesto is do what people think you should say. You have to do the opposite. You have to say what you think.
If you’re supposed to apologize but you think it’s stupid, say so. If people expect you to say something’s stupid but you feel bad about it, then apologize. Be true to what you really feel, and you’ll get respect. Go the other way, and it’s worse than saying nothing at all.

Examples

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Krispy Kreme, “Donuts are Bad for You”
Donuts are bad for you. So are cream cakes, lie-ins and loud rock music. So is sugar. If you take it in your tea, stop immediately. If you take two sugars in your tea, obviously you're trying to commit suicide and it's a cry for help. Don't do it. Your life is precious. Not drinking enough water is bad for you. You must drink 6½ pints a day, or you'll get dehydrated and that's bad for you too. Don't drink too much though, that can be really bad for you. If you drink over 14 pints at once it makes you feel drunk. So don't drink too much water and drive. TV is bad for you. Watching too much can cost you your friends. None at all and you've got nothing to talk to them about. Lack of exercise is bad for you. But getting addicted to gyms is bad for you too. Also, some gym towels aren't laundered properly and spread germs. Germs are bad for you. Stress is bad for you. Well, at least too much stress is bad for you. Not enough and you don't realize you're alive which is bad for you too. The thing is, life and the living that is involved is bad for you. It must be, because it kills everyone in the end. At Krispy Kreme, we think the key to life, by which we mean eating doughnuts, is balance. Sure, if you eat them morning, noon, and night and they are brought directly to your armchair, then that would be bad. But then if you've never felt the pleasure of eating a delicious fluffy original glazed doughnut hot off the line and, heaven forbid, you get struck by lightning, well surely that would be really bad. Really really bad.
 
Bodyform, “The Truth”
Hello Richard, I’m Caroline Williams, CEO of Bodyform. We read your Facebook post with interest, but also a sense of foreboding and I think it’s time we came clean. We lied to you, Richard. And I want to say sorry. Sorry. What you’ve seen in our advertisements so far isn’t a factual representation of events. We actually created those films to protect you and other men from the harsh realities of womanhood. You’re right. The flagrant use of visualizations such as skydiving, rollerblading, and mountain biking (you forgot horse riding, Richard) are actually metaphors. They’re not real. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this but there’s no such thing as a “happy period.” The reality is, some people simply can’t handle the truth. In the past we’ve tried to be more honest in our approach. In the 1980s we ran a series of focus groups to help us gauge the public’s reaction to periods. The camps, the mood swings, the insatiable hunger. And yes, Richard, the blood coursing from our uteri like a crimson landslide. So, we’d knew we’d have to change our strategy. And so, from that day to this, we have manage to maintain this illusion. But you Richard have torn down that veil and exposed this myth, thereby exposing every man to a reality we hoped they would never have to face. You did that, Richard. Well done. I just hope you can find it in our heart to forgive us. (SFX: Fart) Sorry, you did know that we do too, didn’t you?
 
My Black is Beautiful, “Unbecoming”
The tell women like us that we need to become. That reward is there for us if we become patient enough. We’ll find love if we become desirable enough. Manageable enough. That our hair is something that needs to be done. They tell women like us that beautiful is something we become. When really, beautiful is something we have always been. When we unravel ourselves, we’re free to define beauty as who we are. Unbecoming. What’s unbecoming of a black woman is becoming who you are. SUPER: My black is beautiful