Why a Brand Manifesto Is a Life Sciences Must—and How to Craft a Kick-Ass One

3 min read

Why did Apple, Martin Luther King, and Pfizer's Sarah Tweedy achieve greatness—when so many others failed? How did they create movements and inspire loyalty in their followers and audience?

They all started with why.

Every leader can learn to apply the power of “why” to their organization. And the life sciences industry is no exception.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” Simon Sinek says in his TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. They’ll only buy into a product, service, movement, or idea if they understand the why behind it and it makes them care.

Want to inspire your audience to select your brand and drive loyalty? Focus your core company narrative on your organization’s purpose—not on what your product is or how you make it.

This isn’t just Sinek’s opinion. It’s rooted in psychology.

Using Brain Science to Fuel Your Corporate Growth Strategy

Articulating your life sciences company’s “why” taps into the limbic system, the part of our brain that controls feelings—such as trust and loyalty—and more importantly decision-making.

If you can connect with your audience and pull at their emotions then you stand a fighting chance at changing their behavior. And that’s at the heart of company growth and success. It’s not about being the best or being the first or any other rational element. This is called brain science and it’s what all companies, regardless of industry, need to recognize to drive market interest and adoption.

The way you can muster up a strong emotional response from your audience is by crafting a compelling brand manifesto that describes why your company exists and is an unrivaled changemaker—and inspires them to join your cause (or buy and use your product).

The Brand Manifesto: What It Is, What It’s Not

A brand manifesto articulates what your life sciences company stands for. It’s a declaration of purpose and intent, or your vision for a future, better state of the world. “It is explicitly NOT about a brand’s product or service, but rather speaks to the heart of why they sell it in the first place,” says Chris Langathianos in Demystifying the Brand Manifesto. The brand manifesto should answer questions: Who are you? Why do you exist? And why should your customer care?

The brand manifesto is often thought to be the same as a mission statement, which most companies have defined. While both are meant to unite people behind a cause, they are two different things. Your mission statement helps your audience understand what you do. Your brand manifesto tells them why you do it.

It’s probably hard to remember any of the mission statements of companies you’ve worked at over the years. Because mission statements can be pretty dry, forgettable, and often pretty darn generic. I get it: Everyone’s out there trying to improve patient lives.

On the other hand, the brand manifesto is memorable, is focused on the future state you’re trying to create, and should evoke emotion. It’s bold. Passionate. Authentic. Concise. Compelling.

Most importantly, the brand manifesto lights a fire—for employees, clinical partners, and sometimes even investors.

Traditionally, brand manifestos have been used internally. But more and more, they are being used externally (“manifesto marketing”) to share an organization’s cultural DNA. With a compelling manifesto, people want to help you change the world and buck the status quo.

The Must-Have Manifesto

A brand manifesto isn’t nice to have; it’s essential for your bottom line.

Beyond resonating with your audience (and influencing a purchasing decision), a well-crafted brand manifesto can:

Proven and Powerful Life Sciences Brand Manifestos

Our GMM team worked closely with Avalon Healthcare Solutions to create compelling brand manifestos.

3 Key Steps to Developing Your Business’ Brand Manifesto

  1. Identify your brand’s purpose. The brand manifestos above succeed because each company, across therapeutic areas, clearly understands its brand purpose—the overarching reason why their brand exists and its (perhaps future) contribution to the world. These days, it takes more than price, product quality, and customer experience to stand out. Being a purpose-driven brand can give your organization a competitive edge. Take Unilever, for example. Nearly half of its top 40 brands focus on sustainability. Beyond helping society, these brands benefit Unilever’s bottom line, growing 50% faster than the company’s other brands and contributing more than 60% of the company’s growth.
  2. Place your audience into the story you’re telling (Write in first- or second-person). Using words such as “I/we” or “you” personalizes your copy and pulls your audience into the story you’re creating. Note the language Nike uses in this part of their brand manifesto:

    “...Somehow, we’ve come to believe that greatness is only
    for the chosen few, for the superstars.
    The truth is, greatness is for us all.”

    And remember, to create connection and community around your brand, lead with emotion and use the power of storytelling.
  3. Describe how your brand’s purpose will positively impact the audience’s lives. It’s human nature to look for ways to make our lives better. So help your audience imagine a better future—where your product or service will meaningfully improve their lives. Here’s a great example of a life mantra to never stop exploring from The North Face:
“Why do we explore?
…We explore so we may know the earth better and,
along the way, ourselves. The equipment we rely on is more than our tools.
It’s how we transport ourselves from who we are to
who we will be…”

The key: You have to ground your manifesto in the reality of what you do and then examine the highest-level emotional impact of why that matters.

Ready to ignite a corporate growth strategy that will unlock market momentum and domination? Contact Grey Matter to take the first step: developing a brand manifesto to spark connection with your audience.

Want to uncover your brand's purpose?

Grey Matter Marketing is a full-service, award-winning PR and marketing agency working exclusively with life sciences companies. Learn how you can define, build, and market a brand purpose that feels true to your company—and forges a real connection with your ideal customers in the process. Get your brand purpose out into the world now. Contact us and let us help you take your company to the next level.

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