Writing & Manifestos

“Writing is hard, especially when delivering a clean and concise piece.”

This is how I feel since two random things happened together last weekend. Firstly, I was asked to write a short piece for a cultural trend agency (I will paste it here below). It is a very good exercise if you are interested at concise writing and producing your own trend reports. But as you may know, my first attempt here have a long way to get to perfection.  So welcome any critiques and advice!  Second thing happened last weekend is that my mate and I were working on a brand brief. By helping him (maybe not), I was able to focus on lots of brand manifestos I read before. Those manifestos are usually a short piece of writing: clean, concise, punchy, emotional. They are great sentences that get into your heart when you first read it and that may be remembered for ages. They may create a brand image, but most importantly they tie deeply into our culture and influence/change the way we are thinking and doing things. This impact of manifesto gains audiences’ hearts and enables consumers/passengers to become brand’s super fans. As Fried et Hansson mentioned in their book Rework “all companies have customers. Lucky companies have fans.”, when you have these groups of fan and loyal audience, they will come to you instead of buying their attention.

So Here are the luckcy companies who have fans and brand manifestos :
1. Holstee. Life Manifesto


2. Moto X. Made in US

3. Apple. Design by Apple in California


4. Apple. Think different.

Not competing with those great writers yet,  here is my first attempt to become them. One thing is for sure I should keep practicing.

The power of short online videos

1. Scope:

Clicking a video link is becoming much more effortless than switching channels on your TV. Usually, a three-minute comedic online video can easily light up your mood in a short break while a five-minutes online iPad review allows you to quickly make a buying decision based on what you see and hear. People like online videos, especially short videos that fit into our modern fragmented timetables (Mintel, 2012). Culturally, this new media form is rapidly becoming another influential medium (just next to TV and film) after the Susan Boyle and Gangnam Style global hits (Khan, 2009) (Kaufman, 2013).  So what does it mean for businesses and brands?

2. Case studies:

There are more and more businesses adopting a new strategy of online videos. TheVerge, who has overtaken Engadget as the most reliable technology news source in less than 2 years, is a new company who heavily focus on 90-second online videos on daily tech news and well-curated medium length online videos (less than 30mins) on deep technology reports (TheVerge, 2013) (Webbyawards, 2013). Other similar heavy online video presence can also be found in booming businesses like Holstee, Lego, TED (Holstee, 2013) (Lego, 2013) (TED, 2013) (Mixergy, 2013). By adopting short video as means to tell brand stories, it not only enables those businesses to communicate with their younger Internet-generation audience but also cultivates a sense of community and belongingness that turns their consumers into cultural super fans (i.e. subscriber numbers).

3. Context:

The power of short online videos lines with other cultural trends:

  • Sharing it: Well-produced short videos are easy to share and gain friends attention immediately.
  • Everything visualised: Short videos are easy to consume. People read less and less now. The popularity of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest indicates this behavioral trend.
  • Review & Unboxing. Tech review and unboxing video are one of the most popular categories on YouTube. It features peers recommendation and a more realistic 360-degree presentation of the product. When making decisions of online shopping, especially high value item, online video can be a very important source of information.
  • Rise of Entrepreneurship: New tech Start-ups, personal stories of giant tech company founders (i.e. Facebook, Apple, Google) and popular TV program Apprentice are examples of videos celebrating the value of entrepreneurship (Griggs, 2011) (Rao, 2010) (Denham, 2013). By adopting short videos on consumer friendly websites and revealing stories behind founders/designers/creators, it can create positive feedback from consumers’ sense of achievement.

The success of online short video meets consumers’ demand of free and short entertainment on their smart mobile devices. Instead of reading small and long text on those devices, audience could enjoy much more visual and musical stories that fit better on small screens and segmented times. The format of episodes also works for brand building and allows more frequent communication by updating videos on regular basis.

4. Insights and Opportunities

  • Online communication could focus more on short video formats.
  • Frequently updating online video channels and releasing new episode can create closer links with business audiences.
  • Short video content could range from product reviews, designing process, start-up experience/journal, well-made TV ads to short commissioned independent films.
  • Short videos can apply to online shops, company websites and other online communications for most industries.
  • Good online video/stories can bring cultural advantage to brands and businesses.

As John Grant concludes in his book Brand Innovation Manifesto, a brand is not just about “image” anymore but should become “cultural innovation” that creates new lifestyles (Grant, 2006).

5. Relevant data and links to support the above.

Denham, J., 2013. Apprentice fever strikes as one in four new graduates consider entrepreneurship. [Online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/apprentice-fever-strikes-as-one-in-four-new-graduates-consider-entrepreneurship-8720311.html [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Grant, J., 2006. Brand Innovation manifesto: how to build brands, redefine markets and defy conventions. Kindle ed. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Griggs, B., 2011. Steve Jobs biography is top-selling book in the U.S. [Online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/03/tech/innovation/steve-jobs-book-sales [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Holstee, 2013. More about the design. [Online] Available at: http://shop.holstee.com/products/holstee-manifesto-poster-in-reclaimed-wood-frame [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Kaufman, G., 2013. MTV.com. [Online] Available at: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1705859/psy-gentleman-youtube-views-gangnam-style.jhtml [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Khan, U., 2009. Britain’s Got Talent church worker Susan Boyle becomes youtube hit. [Online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5152638/Britains-Got-Talent-church-worker-Susan-Boyle-becomes-YouTube-hit.html [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Lego, 2013. Youtube Lego channel. [Online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjG9nfY2nsk [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Mintel, 2012. Video on Demand-UK-2012. Market research. London: Mintel Mintel.

Mixergy, 2013. Holstee: Profitable By Putting A Mission Before A Product – with Michael Radparvar. [Online] Available at: http://mixergy.com/michael-radparvar-holstee-interview/ [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Rao, L., 2010. Opening weekend: the social network tops box office with $23 million in ticket sales. [Online] Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/03/the-social-network-ticket-sales/ [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

TED, 2013. TED. [Online] Available at: http://www.ted.com/ [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

TheVerge, 2013. [Online] Available at: www.theverge.com [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].

Webbyawards, 2013. Award winners. [Online] Available at: winners.webbyawards.com/search?keywords=verge [Accessed 10 Augustus 2013].


6. Further reading






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