Rob Croxford is a local government specialist who assists and advises clients to deliver the right services at the optimal costs because he believes this is the key to improving community satisfaction levels.
The manifesto word cloud sets out what Croxford Consulting stands for.
“I believe that your communities deserve to receive excellent local government services.”
Suzanne Mercier is a Sydney-based coach,
author and speaker. She works with business owners,
entrepreneurs and leaders to help them recognise and develop their potential. She
is considered to be Australia’s expert on identifying and moving beyond
limiting mindsets including the Imposter Syndrome … a key barrier to
Disclaimer: I helped Suzanne create this
manifesto as part of my coaching services.
Suzanne offers a Purposeful
Coaching Program and her manifesto highlights the importance and key principles
of purpose for all people in business.
Purpose gets us out of bed in the morning. Purpose allows us to find meaning even in the face of life’s challenges. Purpose helps us live longer and happier lives. Purpose is about making a difference and leaving a legacy.
is NOT a bandaid
Purpose is not something you add into the mix. Purpose is an organising principle – the central tenet of your business upon which all other business goals and levers are based.
Purpose is the only path to sustainable business success
Profit is necessary for sustainability. But profit isn’t the reason we’re in business. We need to breathe to stay alive. But we don’t exist to breathe. Focus on profit leads to short-term decisions with longer term consequences. Purpose emotionally engages stakeholders at a deeper level, inspiring them to make their own unique contribution. Purpose reframes barriers as challenges, not stop signs.
Purpose multiplies Profit
It provides authenticity, clarity, focus and a filter for business decisions. Purpose delivers the highest influence on employee engagement, increasing bottom line. Purpose is the key principle to align all goals and inspired actions within the business, maximising impact and profit.
Purpose is certain in an uncertain world
Purpose is a fundamental truth for your business. It is the foundation NOT a bandaid slapped over existing elements of your business model. Purpose holds true in dynamic business environments, although its expression and delivery may change. Purpose provides the foundation for both evaluation and recalibration in the face of significant change.
Purpose inspires your brand
Purpose is an expression of the service you are dedicated to providing to others including clients. The best brand positioning provides a strong emotional connection. Finding your Purpose naturally guides development of your value proposition.
The six points of this manifesto present a
clear and simple statement of why purpose in business is important.
This is a crucial point for business people
presenting their ideas to the marketplace: you need to make it really clear why
your clients need what you offer.
And I don’t mean: sell, sell, sell.
Instead, through your manifesto you can educate your audience about what they
might need in their business. In this case, Suzanne believes every business
The six statements claim this space well.
The first is strong, clear and definitive:
purpose is everything. In other words, without purpose you have nothing. That’s
Also, I like that they are a mixture of
Sure, they all start with the word ‘purpose’
– this gives a consistent rhythm to the message. Most are only 3-5 words in
length – short, sharp declarations.
There is also a ‘not’ statement here: ‘Purpose
is NOT a bandaid’. When you’re dealing with something that everyone knows something
about (eg purpose), you need to be strong and clear about what you believe it
is and what you believe it is not.
This is part of claiming your territory and
leading people through you view of the world.
Studio Co-creative is a Canadian based
‘anti-marketing marketing agency’. Robyn Hounjet is the Founder and CEO,
Mikayla Grace is the Creative Director and COO, and Lexie the Westie is their
“We believe that the best brands are built
from the soul up.” That’s the slogan for Studio Co-creative and this sums up
the purpose behind their manifesto.
Everywhere you look, you’re seeing the product of
marketing. In a world where you’re constantly encouraged to buy more, we
believe there is a new way, a way that’s rooted in connection and
Entrepreneurs are faced with an interesting challenge
in today’s technology-based world. It’s never been easier to create a business,
but all of the tools and platforms that we have access to can be overwhelming.
There’s always a new trend, a new strategy, a new tip to try.
Heart-centred entrepreneurs have an even harder
challenge to overcome. How do we allow our gifts – our light – to translate
into the online sphere? How do we balance traditional “marketing
strategy” with nontraditional business?
We won’t argue that mainstream marketing strategies
work. But even with the most technically perfect strategy, if it doesn’t
resonate with the heart and soul of your business – let’s find a different way.
Through being more real, less perfect, more relatable and approachable, we find
our purpose and impact.
We believe in energy. vibration. resonance. We believe
in what we call the lighthouse effect: your tribe will
arrive in your harbour, so long as you are authentically shining your light.
And ultimately, we believe in co-creation (in case you couldn’t tell).
Co-creation means not only collaborating with each other and others to help you
shine, but also co-conspiring, if you will, with forces seen and unseen. The
earth. The cosmos. The seasons and cycles. The true source of inspiration.
So, what does this mean for you? It means that we
want to uncover the best and truest version of your brand. The best and truest
version of you. Chisel it away, polish it up, and put it out in the
world so that those who need you can find you.
We won’t promise you perfect, but we can promise you
beauty. Because beauty is found in truth. In purpose. In service. And in great
are an anti-marketing marketing agency.
We are the ones who do things differently.
We are inspired and we are inspiring.
We are spiritual AND bad-ass.
We are beauty-makers and visionaries. We are co.creative.
While this is a good manifesto, my feeling
is that it’s merely a starting point for an ongoing deeper exploration of the
issues facing marketing today.
It starts with the bold statement of being
‘the anti-marketing marketing agency’. Being the ‘not-this’ in your category is
a useful starting point but only until that new alternative emerges. What is
the new thing that replaces that old one?
The classic example is the ‘horseless
carriage’, which was an early term for the ‘motorcar’ or ‘motor carriage’. It
describes the new thing in words that reflect the old thing. Now it is simple ‘a
car’ and has nothing in the name to hint of its evolution from horses.
I’d love to know what the new marketing
agency is – the one that goes beyond current thinking. An anti-marketing agency
simply suggests something has begun but we’re not sure what that new thing is
There are some strong clues though in the
Co-creation manifesto. Their tag line “the best brands are built from the soul
up” offers three potential ideas:
A soul-marketing agency
A soul-branding agency
Or simply, a soul agency.
These ideas start to present a new concept
– a new something. They are not simply ‘an anti-marketing agency’.
Another option is a ‘Co-creation Agency’. What
would that look like if we took it all the way to its likely conclusion? It
doesn’t speak marketing but it does say, ‘we work differently’.
I also love the ‘lighthouse effect’ concept
– How about ‘a lighthouse agency’. What would that look like?
One of my benchmarks for a good new idea is
to be able to say your concept to people and create intrigue and interest.
If we were at a networking event and I told
you that I run ‘a lighthouse agency’, your curiosity would almost definitely be
piqued and you would simply have to ask ‘what is that?’ Tell me more… thus
A crucial part of all manifestos is the new
context you are creating and sometimes this takes courage and boldness to claim
it, name it and declare it: this is that new thing.
Yvonne Rainer’s No Manifesto is a very clear ‘anti-manifesto’. It provides very clear examples of what to do instead of the traditional dance moves.
Microsoft is a US based international
technology company that produces both software and hardware. They are best
known for their Microsoft Office software suite, Xbox video game consoles and
the Microsoft Surface touchscreen computers.
“The scientific consensus is clear. The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world’s climate. Already, the planet’s temperature has risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.”
While the world will need to reach net
zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so.
That’s why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce
and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint.
By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon
negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon
the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it
was founded in 1975.
We recognize that progress requires not
just a bold goal but a detailed plan. As described below, we are launching
today an aggressive program to cut our carbon emissions by more than half by
2030, both for our direct emissions and for our entire supply and value chain.
We will fund this in part by expanding our internal carbon fee, in place since
2012 and increased last year, to start charging not only our direct emissions,
but those from our supply and value chains.
Taking a Principled Approach
Whenever we take on a new and complex societal
issue, we strive first to learn and then to define a principled approach to
guide our efforts. This has been fundamental to our work around the protection
of privacy and the ethical development of artificial intelligence, and it’s the
approach we’re taking to pursue our aggressive carbon goals as well. We’ve
concluded that seven principles, or elements, will be vital as we continually
innovate and take additional steps on an ongoing basis.
Grounding in science and math. We
will continually ground our work in the best available science and most
accurate math, as we describe further below.
Taking responsibility for our carbon footprint. We
will take responsibility for all our emissions, so by 2030 we can cut them by
more than half and remove more carbon than we emit each year.
Investing for new carbon reduction and removal technology. We
will deploy $1 billion of our own capital in a new Climate Innovation Fund to
accelerate the development of carbon reduction and removal technologies that
will help us and the world become carbon negative.
Empowering customers around the world.
Perhaps most importantly, we will develop and deploy digital technology to help
our suppliers and customers reduce their carbon footprints.
Ensuring effective transparency. We
will publish an annual Environmental Sustainability Report that provides
transparency on our progress, based on strong global reporting standards.
Using our voice on carbon-related public policy issues. We
will support new public policy initiatives to accelerate carbon reduction and
Enlisting our employees. We
recognize that our employees will be our biggest asset in advancing innovation,
and we will create new opportunities to enable them to contribute to our
This is a great example of a manifesto in
action – and a good model to follow.
It starts with the motivation: “The world
confronts an urgent carbon problem.”
Next is the declaration that says – this is
what we are going to do about this: “By 2030 Microsoft will
be carbon negative.”
Then to turn the idea into a plan,
Microsoft have identified 7 key principles to follow.
The principles are the strategy for how
Microsoft will become carbon negative by 2030.
This includes the key point of who is going
to be involved here and what we need to do to engage and support them – empower
customers, enlist employees and importantly use their voice to lead the
Finally, they point to big opportunity as
impacting their entire supply chain. It’s not just a ‘we’ll look after our own
backyard’ approach. Instead, it’s a holistic and ultimately collaborative
“Company values provide the guiding light
for our vision”
the value of the cloud. We meet you where you are and get you where you need to
go, helping you realize the power of digital transformation without the
complexity and expense of managing it on your own.
We deliver unbiased
expertise through our comprehensive portfolio of managed services — across
applications, data, security and infrastructure on the world’s leading cloud
platforms — with proven results.
And we wrap all of our
services in Fanatical Experience™: the proactive, results-obsessed approach to
serving customers that has driven us for two decades.”
Fanatical support in all we do Results first, substance over flash Committed to greatness Full disclosure and transparency Passion for our work Treat fellow Rackers like friends and family
I’m a fan of having values and identifying
what’s important to you.
I’m not a fan of the way they are typically
used – particularly in organisations.
Too often I see a handful of words written
on a website or even in the foyer of the main office that say grand things
like: We value integrity, honesty, self-reliance…
But that is all. The values are never seen
or heard of again.
If you simply leave your values at the
level ‘a word’ then the meaning and benefit of having them is lost because no
one knows what they mean and nobody lives true to them.
The Rackspace values are at least a short
phrase. They provide greater context and sharper intent than a single word. For
instance, ‘fanatical support’ is a clear intent. It’s not just ‘support’; it’s
Also, I love the naming of their community:
Rackers. It might not be the most elegant name and it is a strong call to
identity. By having a name for your people it’s more likely you can call to
them and ultimately unite them.
Geoff McDonald, author of Done and curator
The Seven Rules – They
are rules because they are principles, guidelines, actions, procedures and
hopefully useful! They are the seven key ideas that allow us to move from the
usual way of doing project planning to the more holistic view of project
1 Stop planning!
The old saying
suggests that ‘if we fail to plan, we plan to fail’. But planning is not enough
– particularly when it only describes what are we are going to do. We need to stop planning and start
designing to include our motivations, inspirations, and passion for our
2 Don’t fix your problems
We all know what we
want. But most of what we want is to fix something that went wrong in our past.
This is limiting and it’s not satisfying either. Instead, we need to clear the
decks of our past if we want to create a truly compelling future.
3 Inner over outer
When we fail at
things we presume we are the failure. And that we are fatally flawed in some
way. That’s human nature. But the real problem is we fail because we choose the
wrong type of goal. We need to focus on our internal motivations to keep us
going when we face the dip, an obstacle or simply when it all gets too hard.
4 Rules rule!
As the world has
become more complex our plans for the future have also become more complex.
Fighting complexity with more complexity is a recipe for confusion, chaos, and
disaster. Instead, we need to develop simple rules to make it easier to
navigate in complex situations. Think traffic lights!
5 Ship smaller sooner
Traditionally we aim
to deliver one big thing at the end of our projects. The problem with this
approach is the lack of feedback. This leaves us wide open for creating something that nobody wants.
Been there, done that! That’s a short cut to “Why did I waste my time doing
that?” Or worse, “What is wrong with these people, don’t they recognise my
brilliant work?” That’s not going to lead you to a happy place. Instead, we
need to create smaller versions of our final big thing to find out what will
6 Structure shapes success
The usual story is
that we fail because of a lack of willpower, discipline or focus. This only
tells part of the story as there are forces bigger than us at work impacting us
in invisible ways. Therefore, we need to design our environments to promote the
behaviours we want and to stifle those we don’t.
7 You have to change
When we create our
projects our focus is naturally on the end result. However, if that’s all we do
we miss a big opportunity. The real purpose of our project is to create a
change in our situation and to make that change stick. To do that we need to change!
The language we use in our manifesto is the
key to giving it a decisive edge.
There’s something strong and definitive
about saying things are ‘rules’. It implies following them, sticking to them
and using them as boundaries.
Compare this to principles, guidelines,
things… All useful but provide a different flavour to our message.
Further, the rules that follow also need to
have a mix of familiarity and intrigue. I believe some need to be relatively
obvious – for instance, most people will understand ‘rules rule’. It implies
that rules are important.
In contrast, ‘inner over outer’ is less obvious. It begs the question, what specifically is ‘in and out’ referring to? In this case it’s about inner and outer motivation styles.
Stop Planning is another interesting rule because it is provocative – it challenges our usual thinking.
Plus, we want our rules to be sexy and
slightly clever (not too clever). For instance, the alliteration (using the
same sound or letter) of ‘Ship Smaller Sooner’ rolls off the tongue and becomes
a snappy idea. It’s much more engaging than ‘Get things done quicker’.
When you’re writing your manifesto, pay
attention to the words you use – words have meaning and impact. Choose
carefully. Play with a thesaurus to figure out the right ones. And test this
with a live audience face-to-face to reveal their emotional impact.
Qantas is one of the world’s oldest
airlines formed in 1920 in outback Queensland. Qantas is a leading long
distance airline and one of Australia’s strongest brands.
“We are Australia’s leading premium airline
and we are dedicated to being the best.
We aim to meet your expectations
every time you fly, and so we continue to invest in our business and will
always strive to provide you with an exceptional level of service.
With this charter, we want you to
know what you can expect whenever you choose to fly on a Qantas (QF) coded
service from anywhere in Australia. Below we set out our commitment to you and
provide links to our website where more detailed information is available.”
We will never compromise on
We are committed to getting you
and your bags to your destination on time
We will look after you if
things don’t go as planned
This is a strong clear airline specific
customer charter that is consistent with what I see the Qantas brand to be.
(There is a paragraph that goes with each
of the points above that I felt was too long to share all of it here.)
In comparison to the Easy Jet Customer Charter the difference in brand personality and therefore the words used in this charter are clear – Qantas is more formal, Easy Jet is more casual.
Given they are both in the same industry
you would expect some similarities. The obvious one is number one for both
companies: safety first – even down to the wording ‘we never compromise’.
I particularly like that where Qantas say ‘We
are always on hand to help’ they share a phone that you can call and a link to further
ways to contact them.
Also, under the section ‘We value your
opinion’ they offer several ways to this with them – phone, website form and
even Twitter. Plus, if things go badly they even share the details of the
Airline Customer Advocate service.
This is all part of the ‘backend’ or
supporting actions that you will want to consider when you create your
manifesto and in particular your Customer Charter. You don’t want to be seen to
be offering hollow words. You do want to be seen as acting consistent with what
you say will you do and who you will be for your customers – especially when
things don’t go as you plan.
This is a deceptively simple and clever
With only four components, it’s easy to
digest. Great start!
The first (the stills) states the quality
of equipment they use. The second and third pillars (water and botanicals)
point to the quality of the ingredients they use. And the fourth pillar
addresses the quality that the makers will bring to their craft.
Given these are all qualities it’s a highly
aspirational set of company values. What I like about it is that they are
practical values rather than the usual personal values (eg integrity), which
can be vague when applied across an entire organisation.
The purpose statement (above) is simply
included in a story about their business. For me, it’s shows that this
manifesto likely started out from the maker’s perspective – these are the
things we need to do to make world-class gin.
That’s a great place to start with your
manifesto – what do you need to do to be successful in your chosen field?
Aspire to these qualities.
However, like all great brands, these
internal qualities also become the external ones that your customers measure your
For me, I don’t know anything about gin. I
rarely even drink it. But, I do know from reading this manifesto that there is
a pursuit of quality here that is validated by the international awards they
have received. As a potential customer, it gives me a reference point for
trusting them and trusting their product, which makes it more likely that I
would buy it compared to others that lack this.
Also, if you read their website, there are
some gentle stories which add flavour to the message.
In particular, I loved the story: “…We took
delivery of our own custom-built still from Carl of Germany, and we called her
Wilma (after Cameron’s beautiful but explosively tempered late mother). And
Wilma turned out to be amazing, drawing extraordinary botanical flavour from a
combination of rare, native and traditional botanicals.”
Now, that’s bringing your values to life
for your customers!
Finally, pillars. A pillar is literally a
column or upright structure used to support a building. Pillars are strong. The
language you use to define your manifesto is important. Do you have values,
pillars, a pledge, commandments or even a manifesto?
In this case, they have literally taken
these pillars to heart and named their business: Four Pillars Gin. Now, that’s
putting your manifesto in the centre of everything you do. While not essential,
it is a strong statement.
Choose your words wisely because they provide
an edge to your meaning and your branding.
Apple CEO Tim Cook shared the following
when he was Chief Operating Officer (COO) under Steve Jobs.
During the period when Steve Jobs was
unwell and on medical leave, financial analysts asked Tim Cook how Apple would operate
without Jobs. This was his reply.
There is an
extraordinary breadth and depth in our more than 35,000 employees, who are all
wicked smart. And that’s in all areas of the company from engineering to
marketing, operations and sales and all the rest. The values of our company are
all extremely well entrenched.
We believe that we’re
on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We’re
constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex.
We believe we need to
own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make and
participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying
no to thousands of projects so that we can focus on the few that are meaningful
to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross pollination in order to
innovate in a way others cannot.
We don’t settle for
anything other than excellence in any group in the company, and we have the
self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
Regardless of who is
in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do
extremely well. And I would just iterate a point Peter made in his opening
comments. I strongly believe that Apple is doing the best work in its history.