The 2024 Bird & Emmy Manifesto.

HNY! And godspeed to us all for the year ahead.

The start of a new year is when we are most encouraged via social media (insert your app of choice) or blogs, videos, newsletters and the web (version 2 or 3) to do the reflection thing. Acknowledge, celebrate, document, ditch what doesn’t serve us and hold on to what does etc etc. I like this as a way to leave one year behind and go into another; we’re all pretty busy as people, in all aspects of our lives, and very good at just keeping on keeping on. No judgement, it’s pretty much the way of it for most of us and I am definitely very good at it! 

I do suck at journalling though. So, instead, I like to spend some of the festive season and into January wading through the year that was – what I liked and want more of, what was a bit of a buzzkill and needs to either go or be tweaked for the new year. I set a bit of a theme, so to speak, and take that with me into the year. This goes for my business and personal life. 

As a Freelancer, it’s pretty important to constantly remember (and remind) ourselves that we have the power and ability to run our business’ anyway we like (within the realms of society, HMRC and being a kind person obvs) and that means changing / keeping / ditching or doing more of what we love and what works for us. 

I sound good at this, but it’s only something I took a hold of in the last 2 or so years so don’t be dazzled by my words – we’re all a work-in-progress.

2024 inspiration. 

When I first started working on the reflection and goal-setting (of some kind) process, I came across the manifesto from Jessica Walsh on the &Walsh Instagram page and subsequently got sucked into the manifesto-rabbit hole on the wepresent page. A pretty awesome way to spend some time really. 

I really liked the manifesto piece and already having that 2023 highlights and lowlights list, as well as an idea of what I want to grow and expand on in 2024, I wanted to explore what the Bird & Emmy Manifesto would like alongside that … and I love what I put together!

So here it is, the Bird and Emmy Manifesto.

Trust your gut. 

You know. Even if you don’t think you know. Or you need to go away and have a think and do some more research, you still know. Trust your gut. Your intuition. That “feeling”. Whatever you want to call it! Roll with it. And see the next point. 

Be bold, but not reckless. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it on repeat to retirement: bold, daring, brave or anti-carbon-copy-marketing will win the race every time. It’s the tortoise in your “Hare and the Tortoise” marketing tale – often not glamorous or loud, can be slow to build momentum, but ultimately the winner. Never reckless though! With brand, or copy or boundaries or people. Do your risk assessment!

Don’t be precious about your work.

Your work, like art, life, opinions and someone’s coffee preferences are subjective. Don’t be precious about your work, it won’t be for everyone and that’s the point. It’s also ok. It will be for your target audience. Or your client’s target audience. 

Know when to jump, when to roll over, when to hold the door open for someone else and when to give a leg up.

I wrote this for a client’s “marketing guiding principles” that sit above the marketing strategy and I love it so much I stole it for my manifesto! Sometimes we need to do / learn / practise more and sometimes we need to ask for help or bring someone else in to do the job or mentor someone else to do the job that you know you can do.

No quick wins. 

We’re building a sustainable business here, this means strong foundations that last and can be built upon; nothing that hovers on quick sand or gives you vertigo from going too high too fast. 

The quality of your work is not measured by the length of time it takes to produce it. 

Experience can make you faster in some areas of the marketing mix, this is a good thing. Results are measured by strategy objectives and not by the time it takes to build something. 

Be a nice person. 

Be helpful. Empathy is cool. Kindness is cool. Share, collaborate, recommend, review, introduce and refer. There is definitely enough room for all of us. 

Your idea is not original, but you are. 

Authenticity yes?! No idea is original and most of every kind of creative work builds on something that already exists. That is a big statement and there are loads of layers to that conversation, but ultimately you are the unique factor in the work you do.  

Make space for creativity to bloom. 

Stare out the window, take a walk, visit an art gallery, museum or coffee shop. Take yourself out for lunch or park up and watch the ocean. Give yourself time and space to let creativity grow, bloom and flourish. 

Messy is worth it. 

Break a process, tear up the plan, scribble on the strategy document and let yourself “sit” in the mess. Either you’ll come out of it with something better than before or you’ll come out of it full of fire for the thing you already had. Neither of those options suck. 

Ask more questions than you answer and embrace “I don’t know” and silence.

In my opinion, the best marketers ask a lot of questions and are more than happy to say “it depends”.  They are also super comfortable saying they don’t know and going to find out from someone more experienced or schooled in that subject or element of the marketing mix. 

Surround yourself with good people. 

And watch out for silos or echo chambers. Good people still tell you “no” and a social media audience of your fellow marketers is a community not a business tool. Make sure your circle is a healthy mix of cheerleaders, good critics, people to learn from, people to teach and people in totally different industries or communities than you. Sameness killed the marketing business.

More manifesto-rules to work by overall than 2024 specific, but a pretty decent start to the new year either way! See you on Instagram #BirdandEmmy

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