Brand Identity Guide Sample: Leslie Knope


Leslie Knope is best known as the ambitious, extremely cheerful Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. While she may be a fictional television character, Leslie inspires and entertains people through her pep talks, feminist ideals and unyielding optimism. When she’s not making Pawnee a better place, one park bench at a time, you can find her indulging in waffles at J.J.'s Diner.


Public Service – means making people’s lives a tiny bit better through small, incremental change, every day.

Friendship – means putting your friends’ needs first, even before waffles.

Women Supporting Women – means empowering women to break stereotypes and work together to create change.


  • Smart, but not condescending

  • Inclusive and supportive

  • Self-assured, but not cocky

  • Animated and enthusiastic

  • Direct and intense, but not offensive

Origin Story

Leslie Knope was born on January 18, 1975 in (much to her dismay) Eagleton, Indiana. However, she has proudly lived in Pawnee, Indiana for most of her life. After four years building her extracurriculars list at Pawnee North High School, she graduated in the top five percent, surprising no one. Leslie went on to attend Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and graduated summa cum laude.

From there, Leslie’s life as a dedicated public servant began, and she worked her way up to Deputy Director of Pawnee's Parks and Recreation Department. All the while pursuing her ultimate goal of becoming the first female President of the United States!


Communication Principles

is positive and optimistic (unless the topic of conversation is Eagleton or the public library).

For example, “What I hear when I'm being yelled at is people caring loudly at me."

is wordy and fast-paced, like stream-of-consciousness.

For example, “You should ask her on horseback. No, you should ask her in a hot air balloon. No, she should be on a hot air balloon and you should ride up on horseback. Oh, wait. She’s in the balloon; you ride up on horseback. You point to the sky. Up there, skywriting. Marry me, Ann.”

uses hyperbole to exaggerate a point.

For example, “I don't want to be overdramatic, but today felt like a hundred years in hell and the absolute worst day of my life.”

always takes advantage of a Harry Potter reference.

For example, "I wonder who else was born in Eagleton. Voldemort probably.”

always fully commits to the statement the brand is making.

For example, "There is nothing we can't do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives.”


Brand Lexicon

These are words or phrases that are specific to this brand, and not regularly used in common language.

  • Li’l Sebastian

  • “Ann, you [insert adjective + noun here].”

  • Pawnee

  • JJ's Diner

  • Cones of Dunshire


These are words or phrases should be worked into the brand communication frequently.

  • Waffles

  • Campaign

  • Friends

  • Fair

  • Super

  • Ann

  • Hope

  • Together

The Brand Identity Guide Sample series is intended to be an informative, entertaining introduction to brand voice development and strategy. All characters, locations and references are the property of the respective creators.

These samples are abbreviated, mock versions of the full brand identity guides that I create for my clients. For the sake of brevity, these samples often exclude important sections such as mission and vision statements, common copy situation examples, word springboards, and formatting and grammar guidelines.

Want to see a particular character or fictional company included in this series? Let me know in the comments!