As a company, your brand reflects what you stand for. A mission statement is the core piece of branding that the rest of your brand identity hangs on, so getting it right is critical. You want to make sure it aligns with your company’s goals, beliefs, audience, and purpose.
Here’s how to build a mission statement that’s purposeful and on point.
Your Road Map
Crafting a mission statement is a high-stakes endeavor. That’s because your mission statement is central to the direction of your business. You can think of it as being a roadmap for your company, one that sets standards and provides a pathway to success.
It’s important to note, that a mission statement has two audiences: internal and external. It tells your customers where you stand and what you stand for, inspiring them to identify with your mission and shift their loyalties to you. It also does the same for your employees, vendors, and partners, providing a clear, coherent and consistent vision for them to get behind. The more carefully honed and dialed in your mission statement, the easier it is to understand, commit to – and share.
That’s because in addition to providing clarity around what your company is, it also by default specifies what it isn’t. This is vital when it comes to launching new products, services, and campaigns. With a mission statement to refer to, you can see immediately whether a change or expansion is in keeping with your brand.
Crafting Your Mission Statement
So what does a mission statement look like, and what goes into creating one that eloquently captures your brand? In short, a mission statement is a one or two sentence statement that outlines your who, what, why, and your intended impact on the world. It’s the path by which you’ll achieve your overall vision for your company.
To develop your mission statement, ask your team to brainstorm words in these four areas:
- Purpose – the goals and opportunities you have in mind for your customers or clients
- Culture – the atmosphere and “feel” of your workplace and approach to work
- Value System – what you care about and how you define your responsibilities to others
- Business Strategy – how you’ll stay in business, what direction you’ll take and how you’ll succeed.
From there you can identify recurring motifs, refining them until you have group consensus. At that point, it’s a matter of condensing your findings into a single sentence that accurately and concisely reflects what you stand for.
In doing so, get input from others. Don’t be afraid to cut, refine and adjust. You’ll also want to remove any buzzwords, hype, empty phrases or claims that are hard to measure. It’s easy to add phrases like “green” or “best-in-class customer service”, but harder to actually live up to them. Unless they’re part of your core promise, avoid them.
A Mission That Stands Apart
Importantly, your mission statement shouldn’t just sound like you; it should sound uniquely you. Take a look at some of the following statements (more here).
Google: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Nike: to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Chanel: to be the ultimate house of style, defining style and creating desire, now and for forever.
These aren’t generic, interchangeable statements – they’re precisely aligned with world-class brands. You know this because we all know these brands and the faces they present to the world. When crafting your own mission statement, ask whether your competitors could use exactly the same language and phrasing. If so, rework yours to make it unique and ownable.
Finally, know that while your company approach should align with your mission statement, change is constant. As your company evolves, so too might your mission statement. Be true to it, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to adjust it to suit the changing face of your business. After all, change means growth, and growth is always a good thing!
Need some help developing a brand identity and mission statement? Get in touch!