Connecting and resonating with your audience and potential customers is one of the most important things your business will do.
How you connect with them will vary depending on what you do and what you want to convey.
No matter what content you choose to create everything should always relate directly back to and align with your brand mission statement.
Having a brand mission statement gives you a core message that can help to ensure you stay consistent with your messaging at all times.
What is a brand mission statement?
It sounds jargonish the first time you hear the phrase “mission statement” and many businesses will say “we know what we are doing, what is the point in having a mission statement?”
The reality is a mission statement is something that helps provide focus, clarify goals and support your brand.
Boiling it down to what is needed as a minimum your mission statement should explain clearly the who, what and why of the company.
Answering those questions means that everything and everyone in your organisation is working towards the same aims. It also communicates the objectives and how you will meet your customers’ needs.
It should be action-orientated.
SproutSocial.com defines a brand mission statement as something that: “clearly communicates a brand’s purpose, objectives and how it plans to serve its audience. It is action-oriented and gives readers an idea of what your business does and what impact it wants to make. This statement may shift over time as the company grows and redefines its goals.
And HubSpot.com agrees, explaining: “A mission statement is, in some ways, an action-oriented vision statement, declaring the purpose an organization serves to its audience. It often includes a general description of the organization, its function, and its objectives.”
Your mission statement is a declaration to the world. It’s more than just a slogan or a description of who you are. It needs to be something that states what you stand for and what you bring to the table – more importantly, it’s what makes you unique even in a crowded marketplace.
Why do you need a brand mission statement?
Corporate identity at a high level is usually a given, companies spend thousands, even millions ensuring their brand is clear and everyone from their customers and clients to staff and partners know who they are, what they do and why they do it.
Small businesses however usually don’t have the luxury of bringing in marketing and branding teams to cleverly define and identify their unique brand identity and voice.
What this usually means is that they don’t even consider creating a mission statement.
According to Indeed.com there are 7 reasons why your company needs a mission statement: “A mission statement encompasses an entire company or project, so there are several reasons why a mission statement is important. A mission statement is essential throughout all aspects of a company, influencing it in these key ways: creating identity; attracting talent; guiding culture; developing purpose; improving performance; building community; envisioning the future; aligning behaviors and encouraging critical thinking.”
EntrepreneurHandBook.co.uk explains that a mission statement should have two main purposes, they are: “to inspire and delight – not just your workers and shareholders, but your company’s target customers as well….perhaps the more important function of a mission statement is its undeniable role as your company’s internal compass. Whenever you’re unsure if your business is on the right course, the statement provides a clear-cut reference point. It also serves as a powerful accountability tool, constantly reminding the founder of the promises he’s given to his staff, investors and customers.”
As discussed above many business owners will question why they need a mission statement and, in truth, they’re right to ask.
In fact, there may be some businesses who realise that it may be best to say nothing instead of something disingenuous and unoriginal.
How many times have you read a brand’s mission statement and found it to be dull, unimaginative, or blatantly dishonest? For example, companies who boast about “putting the customer first, in everything they do” but then have public spats with clients. Or hold a negative rating on TrustPilot.
Or maybe you’ve seen the companies who pride themselves on fair trade in their mission statement but are then found out to own sweatshops.
It’s easy for a brand mission statement to come back to haunt a company that fails to live up to it. So, it’s easy to see why some business owners would rather not create one.
The truth is, though, you should create a mission statement – just make sure it’s one you can realistically live up to, rather than just a collection of words in a row.
Remember, by creating and having a mission statement you can begin to find your business or brand’s place in the marketplace. It gives you something to always refer back to and it brings meaning to what you do and why you do it.
What should your brand mission statement contain?
So, how do you create your mission statement?
Many people will be tempted to just hand it over to someone else. However, a consultant that can write your brand mission statement without too much input from you aren’t doing their job properly.
Writing your mission down should be challenging, it should be hard to refine and summarise it in a snappy sentence or paragraph that will touch anyone who reads it.
It should almost feel like a battle cry or part of an inspirational speech given during a movie.
Don’t walk away from your mission statement. Certainly you should bring someone in (shameless plug, we can help at Excalibur Press) but before you do you need to really think about what your mission is and should be.
EntrepreneurHandBook.co.uk identifies the following questions as being key to the creation of a good mission statement:
- What does your business do?
- Why are you in business?
- Who are your customers?
- What value do you bring to your customers?
- How does your business address the needs of your employees?
- How are you different from your competitors? What level of service do you provide?
- How should you structure your brand mission statement?
Some other things you need to think about are:
What is your aim?
The first thing you will want to do is think beyond the money objective of profitability. What is your aim?
That aim is delivering a product or service that you are enthused by and why people would want to pay form.
One way to kick start ideas is to look at the mission statements in the market that you are competing in. It may help you identify the themes but yours needs to sound and be authentic and represent your own brand.
What are your goals?
List out your goals and how they will deliver to your customers. This list should reflect the long-term goals but not something that is beyond the medium length objectives. Think in terms of the next two or three years.
Don’t worry if you’re just not completely sure – you can revise and update your mission on a regular basis, you should be reviewing it at least every 18 months anyway.
Some common questions
There are some standard questions you will definitely need to answer such as:
- How does my business add value to my customers’ lives?
- Are the goals I want to reflect realistic?
- Can my mission statement represent every aspect of the business, from employees through to the environment of the business.
Why did you set up your business?
Instead of creating a mission statement to be used as an empty marketing material, look to your company’s history for inspiration. All businesses have a unique origin story, an idea that translated into a company.
It may have been something nobody else had ever thought of, or a desire to create something fresh. What was it you were hoping to achieve when you set up your business, and why is it different from others? Try and identify your “aha!” moment.
By incorporating this element of truth, your mission statement will instantly be more honest and realistic than most others. It doesn’t need to be a promise to save the planet, just something that sums up who you are, why you exist, and what you’re hoping to achieve.
Your unique selling point (USP)
If your business is offering something new and exciting, your unique selling point (USP) will be clear and easy to identify. This will make creating your brand mission statement less of a challenge. It can follow the pattern of:
- This is who we are
- This is something we’d like to share with you
- This is why we think you’ll want/need it
However, if you’re entering a crowded market or offering a service/product widely known by customers, your job will be more formidable. This makes it even more critical for your brand mission statement to stand out and resonate with customers. You need to separate yourself from the herd.
Only you know what your USP is. If you don’t know what it is, then create one and market your business around it. Your brand mission statement is the perfect place to communicate it.
For help identifying your USP check out our blog post 6 Things You Need To Do To Identify Your Unique Selling Point.
Can you champion a cause
A great way to set yourself apart from others is to champion a cause in your mission statement.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the main issues surrounding your industry today?
- How do you feel about them?
- What could you do to help?
This is where many brands come unstuck; their care about an issue seems forced and insincere – coming across like a cynical effort to appear virtuous rather than a genuine desire to do good.
They do it because in their view, philanthropy is the future of marketing. This may be true, in some cases, but a clever business will be less obvious in their approach and their social conscience will come with a story.
Your business model, and in turn your mission statement, needs to come from a place of genuine concern. Therefore, identify a worthy cause, and make sure it’s one that is legitimately close to your heart.
Companies may have supported a charity or do what they can to raise awareness for their cause in the past. But any business can do this, and most do. It’s great that they do, but today it’s not enough. Actions are more powerful than words. To truly stand out, model your entire business arouna cause that’s close to your heart. Can you make it your reason for being?
From here, you can model your corporate identity and brand mission statement around this cause. For example, a fair-trade coffee company employing people in a developing country, paying them fair wages, and ethically sourcing their coffee beans. Their mission statement is finding the best coffee in the world and working alongside the people in that country to bring it to their customers at home.
The company understands that this method of doing business costs them more money, but they’re willing to do so if it means helping others. If you can emulate this kind of idea, you won’t be just another company claiming to care. Your business will actively contribute to improving the world by merely existing, which is the perfect thing to mention in a brand mission statement.
According to Forbes.com: “a mission defines and upholds what you stand for as a company. What is your purpose? What is your reason for existing? How do you serve?”
Top tips for creating your brand mission statement
Don’t try to create a mission statement that you think the world wants to hear. Create one that resonates firstly with you and secondly with the people who work for you as they will be the ones responsible for proving to the customers that you genuinely care about what you have said in your mission.
Not just with others but yourself. If you truly feel you don’t have anything of worth to say in a mission statement then don’t do one. However, if you’re just being lazy or have decided it’s too much like hard work – give yourself a shake. Focus on getting a mission statement that really connects with people – you will be glad you did.
Spend time thinking about what you want to say. Get a sheet of paper or a whiteboard and jot down all the things you might want to say. Spend time on this, allow it to ruminate in your brain and don’t expect to be able to refine it in just one sitting.
Don’t slave over your mission statement on your own, late at night on the kitchen table.
Involve everyone. Whether it is your partner’s input, thoughts of your employees, or even family members. That will help with the initial draft. Once you have reached that stage you can ask the same people, or others what they think of it and make any adjustments that may be needed.
Keep it short
Your mission doesn’t have to be a long-winded statement. A few short sentences would be the maximum. It means that it can be easily understood.
Of course, you will have your longer business plan, financial plan, and employee objectives. The mission statement is instead the embodiment of what you do. A good rule of thumb is to have a version that is no longer than 100 words.
Once you have it honed and ready the mission statement can lead to further steps that will help your business. Brand values, such as ‘sustainable, entertaining and caring’ can flow from the mission statement.
Also the actual branding of the organisation, such as design of logos, social media and overall communications can be developed from the mission statement.
The thing to remember is that few organisations get it right the first time, but the effort is always rewarded through focussing on what you want to achieve.
Examples of good brand mission statements
Apple.com’s mission statement is: “to bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.”
Disney’s mission statement is: “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
Tesla’s mission statement is: “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
Amazon’s mission statement is: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.”
Facebook’s mission statement is: “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
Google’s mission statement is: “Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
DigitalMarketer.com’s brand mission statement is: “We’re on a mission to double the size of 10,000 businesses in the next 5 years. Why? We do it because we believe that small businesses—just like yours—can change the world. We do it because we think marketing is the most challenging, interesting, and rewarding field there is.”
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