Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mission statements

Over the years, we’ve really developed a healthy respect for the power of putting your business and marketing ducks in a row.  Toward this end, we always like to start our branding efforts by taking a gander at our client’s mission statement and, if there isn’t one, we get them to write one. Oh sure, we’ll wordsmith it for them later, but as we always say (okay, this is actually the first time):

More than any other piece of communication that will be developed during the course of a marketing and image management campaign, the thoughts behind a mission statement need to come straight from the client.

So. Why does a company need a mission statement?

A mission statement is your company’s reason for being. It should perfectly and honestly reflect why your company exists and what you want it to do.

Is your mission to make people happy?  Walt Disney company’s mission statement: To make people happy.

Is your mission to make people money? At Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, our mission is to help you build a secure financial future.

Is it to save people money? Wal-Mart: To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people.

Is it to save the environment? Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Is it to save the world? Google: Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Or maybe it's to explore the universe? The USS Enterprise's 5 year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

A mission statement is your organization’s reason for being. It succinctly states the goal(s) of your business and, if it’s done well, it can and should be an inspiring and useful guide for the bulk of your business decisions.
How does one go about writing a mission statement?

Here are some guidelines:

Make it super honest. If your mission is solely to build up your soda pop company so that you can eventually sell it to Coca-Cola, say so. If the mission of your association of evil geniuses is complete global annihilation, say that. Don’t be shy and don’t be coy. Say what it is that you dream. Make it personal.

Make it short. Seriously, the best mission statements can be easily remembered by everyone who has a hand in making it come true.

Make it clear. Please. No jargon, no needlessly big words, no attempts to make it sound important. It IS important already just by the fact of it being your mission.

Make it simple. So that it will look good on a bronze plaque and on a cotton/poly blend t-shirt.

• Make it inspiring. Make it important, make it meaningful and evocative: dream big. This thing is going to be your road map for a long time.

Make it about you and about them. Unless your business only exists to profit itself, include your customer in your mission statement.  Disney, Morgan Stanley and Wal-Mart (above) all do so explicitly. Patagonia and Google do so implicitly.

Keep it current. If you wrote it 5 years ago, your mission might have changed since then. Revisit and start again at the top of this list.

Mission statements vs.vision statements

Many marketers split up the mission statement into two distinct-ish parts: a mission statement that answers the question “what do we do?” and a vision statement that answers the question “why are we here?” Some use the vision statement to put forth their grand goal (“To make the world a better place for humanity”) while others put that in their mission statement. Some use the mission statement to share how their company might make that grand goal a reality (“A laptop in the hands of every person.”) while others put that in their vision statement.

Here at Woodstock Organic Concepts, we like to put them all together in a mission statement that answers both questions: what does your company do and how will it help your customers.

A strong mission statement provides a strong foundation upon which you can build a strong company. If your company doesn’t have one, just sit down and write one, there’s nobody better equipped to do so than you.

Once you’ve got your mission statement done and you’re ready to move on to the next step of image management, give us a call, because…

The mission of Woodstock Organic Concepts is to help clients to better understand and leverage their 
inherent strengths in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

No comments:

Post a Comment