It started innocently enough. With a simple question we get often: My brand needs a manifesto, but how do I write one? While we've formed some basic rules to help guide their creation in our workshops, we thought it might be fun to take a different approach in advance of our 2017 Design Week Portland Open House.
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Over the past year, I’ve seen more Manifestos pop up than ever in my life. Partially because we named our agency Manifesto. And like anyone shopping for a car seems to notice cars more, I’ve taken note of the prolific nature of Manifestos in today’s society. But why write a manifesto? What does the emergence of this documentation of ideals mean for us as a society? First, let’s look at the definition. A manifesto is the articulation of a set of beliefs in written form. While it has roots in religious ideals, it's become the tool of choice for young companies, Gen Y movers and shakers doers and dreamers to live by. But why is it needed? Didn’t we have a revolution once? Isn’t that what America is all about? Freedom?
We’re a far cry from the freedom we once knew and today generation Y realizes how far we’ve migrated from authenticity. They’ve watched their parents and grandparents generation work all their lives, uninspired, only to end up on an overplayed golf green somewhere. They’ve watched corporate juggernauts swallow small business alive and discover the loopholes of tax law so they get to take home more cash, while the rest of us empty our pockets. They’ve seen injustice prevail, consumption escalate and grow weary of the onslaught of throw-away goods that seems to only remind them of themselves and their nature for what’s next and new. Not everything they believe may be right, but it's not all wrong either.
Even in the midst of pop culture and its prevailing noise that threatens to dull their minds, a manifesto is the single voice amplified through articulation.
It is the rallying cry before the revolution. The most time-tested simple embodiment of ideals imaginable. Totally digestible if we will but read.
We named our agency Manifesto because we believe brands were meant to stand for something more. And in a world where the power, money and influence is in the hands of brands, there is a choice to make: do brands give or do they take? It’s that simple. When we established our agency in 2011 we made a choice to work with companies who valued more than the bottom line. Organizations that wanted to stand for something and were willing to put their money where their mouth is. We didn’t look for safe clients. In fact, safe was a word that never entered our vocabulary. Manifesto was created to disrupt society and on behalf of the brands we work with, impact the world for good and by doing so, deeply empower the generation starving for authenticity.
As an agency, our very first task was to write our own Manifesto that guides everything we do today. Our Manifesto is a road map, a filter and a rallying cry that keeps us on track and activates the world around us. It is a call to others to join the fray. Not to hold the line, but take the hill. We write Manifestos because we have to. Because what comes out comes from within. In the end we write Manifestos because we simply can’t not. We need to share with the world and the world needs to hear what we have to say.
Tim Dyer Chief Storyteller