Your mission statement is a key element of a successful brand – whether personal or business. If you’ve ever seen the 90s Tom Cruise film, Jerry Maguire, you’ll know that a mission statement can have a profound impact on your life. The following read is a deep-dive that will enter the why, what, how of mission statements.
What is a Mission Statement?
To put it simply, a mission statement is your compass and purpose. If you remove the word statement, then you are left with the question of mission – what is your business’ mission.
For startups this is even more important, especially when building a brand. For the purposes of this reading, we will summarize it as a fully-encompassing understanding of who you are, what you do, and why you do it – including generics like your logo and colors, and deeper into concepts like how you make people feel and why. It is your product, your service, and your process.
Why a Mission Statement is Crucial
A mission gives your brand a direction. Without a clear mission you are navigating without a compass and you can’t get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going. Once you have a clear mission – your methods, your product, your offering change and give you a big-picture purpose.
Consider the framework below, where the mission statement stands as the center of everything, managing both upwards and downwards.
How long does it take to create a mission statement
The creation process for a mission is unique for everyone. Some companies can spend weeks and months brainstorming a cohesive statement, and often spend tens of thousands on external consultant to guide them through the process.
Others, can do so in an hour. The biggest factors for this are clarity of vision and the size of your venture. Larger companies must deal with skeletons in the closet, burueacracy, and the understanding that even the smallest changes in purpose can result in massive shifts within the company, externally and internally, often resulting in millions of lost or gained revenue.
For startups, it is completely different. New ventures need a cohesive statement in order to understand what they are building, why they’re building it, and how it differs from the competition. For new ventures, it should not take more than a few days to create a mission statement. Remember, this is not final – read on to learn about pivots and changes.
Examples of great mission statements
Still not sure what we’re talking about. Here are some examples of powerful mission statements from some of the world’s most successful businesses:
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.) – Nike
To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. – Google
Spread ideas. – TED
To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. – Amazon
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. – Patagonia
Belong anywhere. – AirBnb
To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. – Warby Parker
These statements are clear, concise, and memorable. They also communicate the company’s purpose and brand values in a powerful and inspiring way.
How to create a mission statement?
Creating your mission involves thinking deeply about your organization’s purpose, values, and goals. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:
1. Define your organization’s purpose: What is the reason for your organization’s existence? What is its primary function, and what does it aim to achieve?
2. Identify your organization’s values: What principles guide your organization’s decision-making? What values are important to your organization, and how do they inform your actions?
3. Determine your organization’s target audience: Who are your customers or clients? Who benefits from the work that you do, and how do you serve them?
4. Think about your organization’s unique qualities: What makes your organization stand out from others in your industry or sector? What sets you apart, and how can you use this to your advantage?
5. Draft a concise and memorable statement: Use the insights you’ve gained from the previous steps to craft a mission statement that is clear, concise, and memorable. It should communicate your organization’s purpose, values, and unique qualities in a way that inspires and motivates your team and your target audience.
6. Refine your statement: Once you have a draft of your mission statement, review it to ensure that it accurately reflects your organization’s purpose, values, and goals. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it is clear and effective.
A good mission statement workshop should help flush out your mission statement as a key part of building your brand pillars.
Pivots, Change & Mission Statements
Startups and new businesses are creatures of many disguises. What starts as a clothing company, may morph into a tech company and back three times over. With each pivot, your mission and vision may need adjusting. Your mission statement, like your business plan, should be a living document that evolves as your organization grows and changes. Regularly review and update your work to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful.
Sharing your mission statement with your users
Once you’ve successfully created your mission statement, it is advisable to share this with as many mentors, friends and coworkers as possible to gauge its strength.
Externally, your mission statement should be the ‘why’ to your customers and clients. It should help make up their minds and get a glimpse into the working of your venture and help them better understand your organization’s purpose and values, and can build trust and loyalty.
Some ways you can share your statement with your audience include:
1. Include it on your website: Your mission statement should be prominently displayed on your website’s homepage or about us page. This ensures that visitors to your site will see it and understand your organization’s purpose and values.
2. Feature it in your marketing materials: Use your mission statement in your advertising, social media posts, and other marketing materials to help communicate your brand’s message and values to potential customers.
3. Use it in customer communications: Incorporate your mission statement into your customer communications, such as emails, newsletters, and customer service interactions. This helps to reinforce your brand’s values and build customer loyalty.
4. Incorporate it into your products or services: Your products or services should reflect your organization’s mission and values. Incorporate your mission statement into your product design or service offerings to help communicate your organization’s purpose and values to your users.
By sharing your mission statement with your users in a variety of ways, you can build a strong connection with your audience and build brand loyalty.
Your mission statement is a critical building block when it comes to your startup. As a next step you should:
○ Review this reading
○ Conduct a Vision Statement Workshop
○ Finalize the Mission Statement for your venture
○ Proceed to your Vision Statement