Express your vision with passion
Do you remember the first time you saw a mission, vision and values statement? Perhaps at an induction for your new job. Or as part of a guidelines document you were given?
They may have been strong, clear statements. But did they move or energise you? Or did you find them a little on the flat side?
And values – I mean sure – they seem nice. Four to five lovely words like inclusivity or accountability. But did you really understand what they meant? Or how they were really supposed to shape how you would do things?
It’s not the strategic thinking that’s the issue. It’s how it is translated out. Often, your strategy just needs an injection of passion and emotion to truly connect with your audience – internal and external – so people who are not part of the process get it. And get excited about it!
And this is exactly what a Brand Manifesto can do. It can help you express your vision with passion and can provide the basis from which all other elements of your brand identity can be developed or refreshed.
Asking the hard questions
Before you look at how you communicate your brand strategy to others, you first need to understand it. And it’s no easy task. Only someone who has been through a strategic review process or a brand strategy workshop will understand the level of work involved. To say they are full on, would be an understatement.
Generally, they involve getting ALL the key stakeholders from across the business together. And from process mapping, approval, enlisting experts, research, and co-ordinating attendees – before strategy sessions ever kick-off, there will have been a huge amount of work that will have gone on in the background.
And then – well – everyone questions everything! From what you stand for, what you do and where you are going too. And when you start finding the answers, you then need to start condensing that down into meaningful statements of your vision and mission.
Going through that process once, will leave you with a new appreciation for the level of critical thinking, creativity and problem solving that has been poured into each word selected for these types of statements.
And after all that work, too often they are left to the side and become irrelevant very quickly. They sit in internal strategy documents – get posted in the about sections of websites – and get referred to less and less as time goes by.
And for our clients Cork Chamber – that was exactly what they didn’t want to happen. They had just gone through a very robust strategic review process that had redefined their focus as an organisation.
They had absolute clarity on where they were going, but they needed to evolve their brand to better express that vision and their ambitions for the future.
Communicating your purpose
Traditionally, mission and vision statements have been used to communicate organisations’ purposes to stakeholders. And both do quite distinct things.
A mission statement looks more at the now. It describes who you are as a business and what you value. It addresses the questions of why you exist and what you are here to do.
For Cork Chamber, this was:
A vision statement looks to the future and is generally more sussinct. It answers the question of what you want to become or what you want to achieve in the future.
For Cork Chamber, this vision was to make:
And their four core values – Dynamic, Purposeful, Inspiring and Responsible – communicated how they would go about achieving that – their unique set of beliefs and their guiding philosophy.
Internally, everyone in Cork Chamber had clarity on where they were going and why. But they needed to engage their members. They needed to inspire a new sense of magnetism and relevance for the Chamber brand – one every member felt like they belonged too, with a shared a vision for the future.
So before looking at how we could refresh and reposition their brand identity – we stopped and looked at how we could better communicate this new purpose outwards.
Inspiring and connecting
A brand manifesto is your declaration to your audience. To the world. It doesn’t say who you are – it shows who you are. It’s form and structure doesn’t matter – it can be long or short. It can even be a series of promises or statements. The key is that it evokes emotion. It connects with readers. And people don’t just understand who your organisation is and where it’s going – they feel it!
For Cork Chamber this involved the creation of an empowering statement that put YOU at the centre of everything they were doing…
And this manifesto didn’t just act to inspire members. It inspired our entire creative team. In fact, it inspired the entire brand refresh. Because from it flowed the tone of voice, the brand’s visual identity, the messaging hierarchy and the key messages for each tier of membership.
Abracadabra – just say the magic word
In Hebrew, the phrase “Abracadabra” means “I create what I speak” and that is very much the philosophy we take when we look at tone of voice.
You become a champion by sounding like a champion. And we were able to develop and define that voice of a champion from the manifesto, in a way that brought each of the Cork Chamber’s values, vividly to life. And create detailed guidelines that could guide all staff and third parties – so no matter who was writing, or speaking, on behalf of the Chamber – it was the same voice. The voice of your dynamic business champion.
But what about the what?
Tone of voice guidelines can tell you how to say things. But figuring out what to say and who to say it to, can be difficult. For Cork Chamber, they are doing so much from policy and lobbying, to events and training, to attracting investment and helping Cork companies to go global.
We couldn’t tell everyone everything at the same time. So, Cork Chamber needed some way to organise and priorities their most important messages – a hierarchy. And what could have been a very difficult process, was made easy – as it all flowed naturally from the Manifesto.
The Manifesto talked to YOU! But it talked to three very different YOU’s who needed three different messages:
Go that last step. Be brave.
After all the incredible hard work and insight that goes into creating a strong and clear vision and strategy for the future, don’t let it just be parked on the about section of your website.
Take that extra step, and express it with passion through a brand manifesto – a brave declaration of what you believe in and what you stand for. It won’t just allow your internal and external stakeholders connect with your strategy and brand. But, it will inspire its entire development.
To view more samples of our design work for Cork Chamber, click here.