Every changemaker needs a manifesto — and so do we.

At the Brandling, we decided to eat our own dog food last week. In our toolkit, training and client work, we are evangelising the creation of manifestos. Manifestos help you connect with like minded people. They incite discussion and action. Drafting a manifesto with a team is a great way to get aligned with each others vision and the ethics that guide your behaviour. It builds a sense of company culture. It is a way to get your internal team rallied behind a shared sense of purpose and to attract like minded people out there in the world. We had wanted to do this for two years but it kept being de-prioritised. Like so many things, it seemed important but not urgent. But recent events in the world made us realise, no: it is important and very urgent, as a matter of fact, we’ve already lost time. Here’s the result — let us know what you think.

Now is the time to be an optimist

Despite clear evidence that the world is now safer than ever, it seems pessimism rules and not without reason. We are witnessing the demise of common sense, the destruction of the natural world and the erosion of human rights. At The Brandling, we are blessed to work with people around the world who get up every morning to create real, systemic change for our communities, economies and environment. They have turned us into optimists. Now, more than ever, we need to come together to support them.

Change happens when you are optimistic about peoples ability to make a difference.

Let’s do great ideas justice

In a perfect world, great ideas would spread purely on their own merit. We do not live in a perfect world. In order to make real impact, we need to brand ideas for change professionally. Branding is often misinterpreted as styling or misused as a cosmetic cover-up. We see branding as a method of thinking that can help advance people, products, services and ideas for good. Through intelligent branding we can get large audiences to adopt new habits and choose better products. Brand thinking is the skill to lift up young leaders and make them heard.

We can discuss the good and evil of branding for a couple more years, or we can roll up our sleeves and get to work.

We’re doing the latter.

Away with branding gurus, we’re all brand thinkers…

Branding is an inherent human practice of all ages and all cultures, and the way of thinking that lies behind it can be taught. All you need is to understand the method behind the magic and how you can use it to your benefit.

…and when we say all, we mean all

We believe talent is present in every corner of the world and that great ideas for change are born every day, not only in San Francisco and London but more importantly, in Nairobi, Mumbai, Amman and São Paolo. However, branding knowledge is distributed unevenly across geographic and economic lines. We commit ourselves to creating world-class, affordable tools, training material and knowledge resources to build your brand thinking skills, accessible whether you live in Canada or Kenya.

Brand thinking is a leadership skill

Big change will be created by great leaders. Whether you are an activist, banker, scientist, surfer or CEO, if you want to lead change you need a clear vision for change and how you can get there, and be intentional about how you will attract thousands of people to follow you on the journey. Brand thinking is the skill to do just that. Therefore,

Brand thinking should be an integral part of leadership development.

To brand is an act of courage — our tribe has your back

The attempt to create change is an act of courage, and by extension, so is branding your efforts. To create a brand is to step into the spotlight and send your idea out into the world in the hope of attracting bigger and better audiences. The desired goal is to be influential, but the journey makes you vulnerable. We see the blood, sweat and tears; we hear the challenges and questions. That’s why we are building a tribe where change makers and branding, marketing and communications experts, come together to support each other and to share their learning. Together we are better.

Purpose is the next paradigm shift we need

We can’t stay niche; we need the big boys to come on board.

We want to see a world where all businesses have a social and environmental purpose by default. In order to get there, we need innovators within these companies to have the wind in their sails. We need social ventures to become so attractive that they outperform traditional businesses and attract the best talent, the largest investments and the most customers. So much so that traditional ventures will need to start competing on ethics, purpose and sustainability. Branding will help us get there.

Let’s #brandthechange together.

More resources on Branding for Social and Environmental Change:

Brand the Change, the guidebook
A full guide to building brands for change, with 13 case studies, 22 tools, the anatomy of a strong brand explained, and 5 guest essays by brand experts with tips and tricks on everything from trademarking to PR.

Brand Thinking Canvas — our go-to-tool to build stronger brands for change

Brand the Change Tribe — a community of social entrepreneurs and brand experts sharing experiences, tips, questions and resources

The Brandling Newsletter — sign up to stay up to date on live events, training and resources on branding for change

TED Talk: How branding can accelerate social change

Social Good is Always Good Branding, or is it? — essay for Stanford Social Innovation Review
Why putting social first is not always effective, or as impactful, as it appears to be.

Three Dysfunctional Beliefs about Branding — blogpost
Beliefs that hold social impact ventures back from reaching the audience they deserve

The Brand Architecture Exercise that Saved a Social Venture Millions of Dollars — blogpost
Think twice before creating multiple brands or sub-brands for your company

Working to see the day when organisations with positive social and environmental impact outperform traditional ventures. Weapon of choice: branding.