How Your Benefit Corporation Takes a Stand

Photo by  Charlie Hammond  

Photo by Charlie Hammond 

You know your business stands for something special in the world as a benefit corporation.

But do your key stakeholders? Your partners, customers and clients?

Do they understand your plan to make a help create an equitable world? Can they feel the passion that fuels your fire, serving others and making the planet a greener, healthier place to live?

If you're uncertain about that, I have one word for you: manifesto.

A brand manifesto differs from your mission statement. Their intentions may be the same. But their language is not. While the mission statement is very left-brain and logical, the manifesto is right-brain and emotional. Well-crafted manifestos can last for decades if not centuries.

Think Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" masterpiece, the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Ten Commandments. A manifesto is your bold plan for a better world, for healthier communities. It's a moral compass that will guide and define your brand to both external and internal audiences.

Is a manifesto right for your business? Consider the following criteria we believe must be a part of one:

  1. Communicate Your Deep Emotional Principles. What is your business's reason for existence?
  2. State Your Core Values. What is it your business stands for? People? Environment? Integrity?
  3. Speak the Truth. Are you authentic? Does your language and ideas reflect that?
  4. Relate to Your Audience. Are you using emotion to touch your audience's core?
  5. Differentiate. How does your business differ from others appealing to your audience?

The manifestos we admire and that resonated with us all share things in common. These elements include:

  1. Speaking in the Collective Voice.
  2. Speaking in the Active Voice.
  3. Looking to Change the Status Quo.
  4. Serving as a Compass for Future Decisions.

For contemporary examples of well-crafted manifestos, we happen to be particularly fond of t-shirt manufacturer Holstee's manifesto. And if we may toot our own horn, we also like the Benefit Corporations for Good manifesto.