Julian Metcalfe is one of the brand CEOs I have the most admiration for. He is the founder of Pret a Manger, the sandwich shop. I'll never forget the email he sent me 24 hours after my post about Pret's use of customer feedback to upgrade their soups.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Pret Manifesto, that was written by the great man himself. I've posted before on writing brand manifestos, having found on brandgym projects that they were a great way of getting teams to work on the vision for their brands. But, in a big service business where the company = the brand = the company, a manifesto is much, much more powerful when it has been created by the founder and/or CEO.
Here are some highlights from Julian's Pret Manifesto:
- Let's not forget what Pret is all about... delicious food made and served quickly by people who take huge pride in their work
- Pret must never sell commodity products. We must create the best stuff, at fair prices
- We are able to do this because we have a secret weapon. It is called a kitchen. With it come team members keen and able to make delicious food
- Never will Pret sell three day old petrol station salads
- Pret is famous for sandwiches. Let's keep it that way
- We will off our customers their favourites, done better than anybody else. We will introduce changes and new products only when we're certain they work and sell well
- We will stay clear of "weird" and "wacky, "complicated and confusing". Less is more
- Pret isn't a shop to pop into. Its a bit of an experience, almost a mini event. It must be quirky, stunning, charming and should always leave customers wanting more.
- We will try to reduce food and labour costs by keeping sandwiches easy to make, whilst maximising taste and value for money
- Many customers want healthier food from Pret. They want food that is lighter but equally "more-ish"
And here's why I like it:
1. Its authentic, and feels like its been written by a leader who cares, not a committee
2. Its jargon-free, using instead its own tone of voice. I especially like the bit about the Pret experience being "quirky, stunning, charming "
3. It gives guidance on strategy, and the need to focus on the core: "We're famous for sandwiches. Let's keep it that way".
4. It has a business element to it: cut costs, but by simplifying, not cutting corners
5. It has a strong point of view on quality, but in a specific Pret way" "never sell 3 day old petrol station salads"
6. It talks about what is unique in the brand: "A secret weapon. Its called a kitchen"
More on the magic of Pret's people in delivering their brand here.