My New Year's posts on Instagram and Facebook were about the two words I'm choosing to focus on in 2016: "uncomfortable" and "intentional." I explained the "uncomfortable" part in my posts there, but this blog post is about the "intentional" part.
Some of you reading this know that I worked in advertising before starting my company. Writing company manifestos, taglines, and mission statements for our clients was part of my job. It's one of those building blocks of a brand that any strategist or marketing expert would say you need pretty much before you do anything else. And in general, I agree with that. But because I DID do this work for so long and I had such a clear idea of our brand in my head, I never did any of this stuff in a formal way for my own company. (Also contributing: the fact that other problems always seemed more pressing -- like something was literally on fire in the other room.)
But in the last several months, it became clear that I needed to go back and do this work. For the last three years, I've mainly been reacting instead of planning, which is not a great business strategy. We've also found ourselves saying yes to things that I realized later weren't central to the brand I wanted to build, which then took time away from more important things. Now is the time for us to plan, strategize, and really get clear on what our company is about. So recently, just a couple of years behind the 8-ball, I've been focusing on honing the brand in the way I was trained to do.
After much thought and deliberation, I present the Emily McDowell Studio manifesto!
None of this is new for us, of course, but when your intentions are condensed into a few carefully chosen words like this, the result can be really powerful. Of course, having this written down as a handy reference tool helps us decide what types of products and ideas we want to produce, but it also helps us determine what to post on social media, what kinds of things I want to write about, what kind of speaking I want to do, and what kind of business and marketing partnerships we want to engage in.
Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People recommends that everyone write a personal manifesto, which of course I never did (a word to the wise: The habits are not effective if you read the book but don't do any of the stuff in it), but after doing this, I can absolutely see the value in it. And honestly, I would write one now, if my personal manifesto didn't align so closely with that of the company.
So, I'll be really curious if this translates in ways that you guys notice or not. But it's definitely influencing us internally.
...And since a bunch of folks have asked, this manifesto will be available soon as a print! Get on our mailing list (signup is over there to the right) if you want us to let you know when it's out. We're releasing another new print and a new tote along with it shortly, too.