Over the past couple of days, I’ve been talking about how your values and your beliefs can become the strongest differentiator for your business and your brand.
I first outlined the danger that Mike Weisman of the Values Institute so aptly described as “capsizing in the sea of sameness,” that arises when we set out to differentiate our businesses solely on pricing or product features. (And how you can avoid that through a values-driven approach to business and branding.) If you missed that, you can read it here.
Yesterday, I discussed how giving your customers something to believe in leads to enduring connections. And I provided Six Ways to Communicate Your Beliefs to Your Customers and Prospects to Facilitate True Connection.
And today I want to introduce you to the first and most powerful of those six forms of communication: the manifesto.
What is a manifesto?
A manifesto is a public declaration of your beliefs and values. They may be your personal beliefs. They may be the beliefs of your organization. They may be a combination of both. Regardless, in a manifesto, you say them out loud – with clarity and specificity – to your clients, your prospects, your employees and associates, and the rest of the world.
A manifesto can take any number of forms. Some are written as directives. Others, poetry. Some are communicated through beautiful graphic design. Others are songs or videos. How you communicate your manifesto should be a reflection of your company’s brand personality and style.
Why create a manifesto?
Because people don’t connect with companies. They connect with ideals, beliefs, and world views. And customers aren’t looking for transactions. They’re looking for connections.
Think about it. We hang out with people (both in person and online) who think and feel like we do. Values congruence is one of the most powerful variables in a successful relationship. And it’s no different when consumers buy our products or services. If we’re going to turn prospects into customers, and customers into repeat customers and fans, then we need to work on relationships.
You might create a manifesto for any (or all) of the following reasons:
To find your juju, or get it back.
Let’s face it: running a business is hard. There are days when we want to give it up. There are days when we forget why we started in the first place. And there are times when we need to dig deep for inspiration. A manifesto provides that. If you’re not sure why you’re in business (aside from the cash), or if you find that the reasons you started are no longer relevant, then a manifesto will give you a serious burst of juju. It will get you out of bed in the morning. And it will keep you out of trouble, by reminding you of what’s truly important in moments that require tough decisions.
Recently, I helped an amazing business owner named Shelley Hancock find her juju through manifesto. You can hear her manifesto and her experience writing it, here.
To provide guiding principles for your employees, partners, and associates.
If you’re going to differentiate your business based on values, then you need to start with your employees and associates. You’ll have to show everyone who works with and for your company what it LOOKS like when your beliefs and values are in place. And when you do, you’ll create a team that’s dedicated to a higher purpose – and a group much more willing to go the extra mile. You’ll also be able to weed out those who have a difference in values, and may derail your mission.
Randall Grizzle, whose business Closer Secrets provides sales teams for internet entrepreneurs offering high-ticket items, differentiates his business from every other by the behaviors and motivations of his salespeople. Together, we created his manifesto, called The Closers Secret Code. As further inspiration, we created a custom song for the code, written and performed by the amazing Wes Car. When you hear Randall’s code, you know exactly what it means to work for or with him. And if you hire Randall, you know exactly what you’ll get from him. You can listen to it here.
To build community.
When your prospects or customers really relate to your beliefs, they have a chance to belong to something: a community of believers. This connection goes far beyond transaction. We all want to be part of something larger. We want to know there are others like us out there. And we want validation for our decisions. In my online branding course, Unforgettable U, entrepreneurs and business owners complete a manifesto workshop. And Keisha Jo Lawler, the founder of Trepadora, a hair care product created especially for curly hair, truly nailed this sense of belonging in the company’s manifesto. I was especially excited about Trepadora, because as someone who’s had curly hair my entire life, Trepadora’s manifesto makes me feel like “one of them.” And it lets me know the company celebrates me, feels my pain, and was created to serve my curly-headed tribe. When I read this manifesto, I felt like one of the cool kids.
To communicate enduring promises to your customers, and build trust and excitement.
A manifesto is one of the most clear and poignant ways to show your customers that you share in their dreams. That you understand what they want, and that you have a clear vision of what it will look like when you’ve delivered it to them. Alison Galvan, an amazing artist who completed the Unforgettable U program, created her manifesto to show how art affects the lives of those who buy it and create it. Her manifesto is a promise to her customers that art will change them, empower them, and give them a voice. Through her manifesto, she partners with the buyers of her art, offering her pieces as a form of their self-expression:
In a nutshell, your manifesto is about connection. It’s about joy. It’s about kindred spirits and community. It’s about why you’re here, why you keep coming back, and why your customers should keep coming back. And, most importantly, it’s about how your business is different… from every other business is the world.
What does it cost to believe in something? Nothing.
What will it give you? Everything.
If you’re looking to create a brand differentiated through enduring connection, join us in Unforgettable U. You can complete the program on your own, or with me as your strategy coach. And if you’re looking for help with writing your manifesto, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a coaching/copywriting package created expressly for this purpose.
Because I believe in brands that believe in something.