Mission Statement: The Do's and Don'ts
What is a mission statement?
A good mission statement is a useful tool for a well-run business. It’s the “why” of your branding strategy.
A mission statement defines a company’s goals in three important ways:
It defines what the company does for its customers
It defines what the company does for its employees
It defines what the company does for its owner
Your business mission statement must come before your marketing. It’s where you ask why do we, as a business, exist? Your mission statement and your brand strategy will go hand-in-hand. You may have one, but perhaps it isn’t properly defined. I will give you a real-life example of what I mean by that.
I recently spoke with a potential client and when I asked her why she was restructuring her business this is what she told me…
I’m tired of dealing with difficult clients. I want to make the most money in my (interior design business) by getting the wealthiest people to use my service. I will do this by selling them interior design services at high prices, as well as shutting them out of the process, so I can get in and out as fast as possible
That’s not a joke, that was real. I told her honestly, those are your objectives, and they are all about you. They don’t help your customers, they don’t appeal to them either and they are all about making you happy as opposed to about what you stand for. Creating your brand marketing around these points would be ridiculous.
We ended up not working together for other reasons. But I wanted to highlight what not to do.
I am very aware that most sole proprietors and small businesses don’t use professional branding services so they have no real brand strategy let alone a mission statement or any real strategy behind the marketing they are creating. I am also aware the marketing is very very difficult without a clear definition of why you are doing what you’re doing. So I am writing this post to help those who insist on DYI branding.
In this post, I’m going to:
Show you an example of a mission statement
Show you how to write a mission statement
The ready-to-assemble furniture retailer was started in 1943 in Sweden by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad. Their mission statement is:
At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Writing Your Mission Statement
To work, your mission statement has to be all about your customers’ ‘pain points’. What’s keeping them up at night? What will you do for them? Not, what you will sell to them.
Your statement needs to clearly define:
The core audience target
What you will deliver to the audience
The major audience take away
If we look back at the IKEA example again, their core audience target is ‘as many people as possible’, in other words, the everyday person. What they will deliver: ‘functional home furnishing products’ at ‘low prices’. Finally, the major audience takes away, or the outcome is ‘to create a better everyday life’.
Any content IKEA creates will abide by these principles. It will help their customers with their problems in relation to what IKEA offers. What the mission statement does, is make everything easier for you and them.
What’s Next? Now the marketing you are producing will be served by your mission statement. It is a great filter for looking over your marketing content and deciding which is needed and which isn’t. It streamlines your marketing big-time!
Depending on your company, your statement may change over time, and this is fine. But this will also mean your content marketing will change too.
Now, how about putting your mission statement at the top of the About Us page on your website? Spread it to the places where your target audience can see it. Have it on the wall in your office so everyone who works for you knows what you are aiming to achieve.