Every public, private or not-for-profit organisation starts with an intention, an idea, a calling, a reason, a goal. In other words, a purpose to achieve a particular outcome.
In many cases, this purpose is articulated through vision and mission statements. A vision is an aspirational future-oriented statement about what you want to achieve (where you are going). A mission, on the other hand, is an inspiring statement about what you will do exceptionally well every day in order to achieve this vision (how you will get there).
It is common to read visions and missions as stand-alone statements, alongside a list of core values, on company websites and various marketing collateral. While this goes some way to convey what an organisation stands for, in my view, these statements are sometimes too broad so lack specific meaning, too nebulous so appear unachievable and too hollow so lack an emotional hook.
An alternative way to bring organisational purpose to life is by developing a manifesto as a public declaration of your intentions, principles and beliefs.
A good manifesto captures the core essence of why an organisation exists (purpose) through an expression of what it aspires to achieve (vision), how it intends to achieve it (mission) and what it believes in (values).
In declaring its purpose through a manifesto, an organisation makes clear, in a deep way, the cause it stands for and why it matters. It also makes clear the ethos of the organisation. This expression of culture serves as a beacon that galvanises the hearts and minds of those working for the organisation.
Manifestos are also an expression of brand, serving as an attractor to people outside of the organsation (eg. customers, volunteers, members, sponsors) who identify with the cause / resonate with the message. As Simon Sinek said in the now classic Start with Why TED Talk, the goal is not to do business with everyone. The goal is to do business with people who believe in your ‘why’; your purpose.
How to create a meaningful manifesto
Manifestos come in all shapes and sizes; however, consideration of the following questions will help you to craft a meaningful manifesto for your organisation:
There are no hard and fast rules about the length or format of a manifesto. However, given a manifesto is a foundation stone of your marketing message, consider that it needs to be long enough to give context and impart meaning, and short enough to fit on a website, poster, infographic or other visual medium for promotional purposes.
There are plenty of examples of great manifestos on the internet. Here’s some of my favourites:
If you’d like help in developing a manifesto for your organisation, I warmly invite you to make contact with me.
©Ros Weadman 2018 Ros Weadman is the creator of the Reputation Equation™, founder of Melbourne PR & Marketing Group and author of BRANDcode®, a marketing guide for small business. Connect with Ros on LinkedIn or via www.rosweadman.com