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August 01, 2004


Sean Moffitt


Thanks for your inspiring post caused me albeit three years later to write about the Seven Reasons why Manifestos trump Mission and Vision Statements...have a read

Long live the Mantra!

Amolegbe Michael

I really enjoy your article on Brand of Manifesto, but I would have love to read more class governor manifesto. i.e to be a candidate in class governor contestation and how to write a manifesto for the class to be voted for.

Amolegbe Michael

Jeff Barson, Nimble

It's either the manifesto or the shot and pithy sayings of 37 Signals.

john edelson

I just blogged this and started to revisit the idea of my brand - Time4Learning - see .

Of course, a start-up branding exercise is sooo different than the management of an existing brand.


There has to be an unguarded, human quality to it that compells you to believe. It somehow has to raise the metabolism, cause the organizational molecules to spin differently.

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Enjoy the posts in this forum, very thoughtful and provocative.
Would like to add that after having written several manifestos for organizations, there are elevated expectations implied by "manifesto" as something you will respond to more emotionally than a mission or vision. There's a bias for action in a manifesto. I've had the most success with challenging language, provocations that directly encourage stakeholders to do something, believe in or be motivated a certain way. For me, if a manifesto doesn't disarm me, it doesn't work. There has to be an unguarded, human quality to it that compells you to believe. It somehow has to raise the metabolism, cause the organizational molecules to spin differently.
One of my favorites is Bruce Mao's "Incomplete Manifesto for Growth". While it pre-dates blogging, it's "incompleteness" has a foreshadowing of extendability, a story that's never completely told.

Jean-Marie Le Ray

Hi Jennifer,

Congratulations for your post. Very well said.
Would you autorise me to translate it in French into my blog?
Kind regards,

Jean-Marie Le Ray


I have written many manifestos when I took the election. Personally, the good manifesto comes from your passion. Try to love it before you let other people love it


Very valuable info

Will Keller

Great post. Others may refer to this process as defining your company's vision and/or mission. Whatever the term, the point is that a company with a strong shared vision does not have to be tightly managed--- it tends to manage itself. Everybody's on board. Nevertheless, as you say, defining it is very hard work. I recently took a shot at writing a brand manifesto for my accounting company and tried to think big. Many drafts later, here's what I came up with (if anyone's interested):

jennifer rice

Damon, to answer your question...

A manifesto, as I defined it, should outline both the brand vision AND the tactics to make the vision a reality. Therefore, a manifesto should guide employees to create the 'direct experience' that matches the brand vision. The manifesto doesn’t change customer's experience directly; it changes it indirectly by guiding employees along the brand path.


"I define brand as the idea about your company in the minds of stakeholders."

If that's true, how can a manifesto change or influence anyone's opinion? Aren't those ideas formed via direct experiences with the company?


Thanks for one of the best bits of writing I've come across recently. It raised a few questions for me related to some of what I've experienced.

The thing that often doesn't get addressed is how do you go about maintaining the spirit of the manifesto through growth? On the practical level, once a company reaches a certain size, once it has shareholders to answer to, the vision expressed through the manifesto is often lost, or at least overshadowed by the immediacy of quarterly earnings etc.

While the manifesto may inform a smaller company, especially a new one, how do you maintain it when a company is dealing with 10,000 or more employees, a broad customer base, and when it's trading on the market?

Perhaps it's not possible; I don't know. I think Seth Godin has written about this (though I don't recall where - and I could be wrong). But in the situations I've seen where companies are quite large, vision is the first thing that goes in the pursuit of process.

So I wonder what everyone's thoughts on this might be.

Shafeen Charania

Hmmm... what's the difference between a brand manifesto and a statement of the organization's values and raison d'etre?

I think that successful (and lasting) brands are those that embody the organization's essence and represent the "truth" of how they really operate. Lexus comes to mind as a great example of this.

And I like your premise that this is what turns words into reality; one reason why this manifesto must be authored by the CEO.


Great post!

Once again, you are breaking new ground.

Keep it up. I really enjoy your ideas.

Kiran Max Weber

Although it's a not a brand manifesto per se, check out Damien Newman's "The Designer's Guide to Brand Strategy."

About the Guide

In writing this Guide, I've tried to outline the basic elements to the process of design and development of brand strategy in a way that would best support the people involved in actually designing brands.

This is not to say that designers can't read eight hundred paged books on Managing Brand Equity, but that there are some very simple elements of developing the attributes of business behaviour and that all designers should understand their vital role in improving business behaviour.

To date the PDF has been downloaded just over ten thousand times. I figure it's been read once or twice because people still enjoy pointing out smelling mistakes. If that's all you get in touch about - please do, I'd like to one day release a version that is lean and clean.

Download it here:

Great site Jennifer.

johnmoore (from Brand Autopsy)

Nice post ... well written and well said. The folks over at Change This recently published their Manifesto on Manifestos. Good stuff too.

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