Build the Brand | Part III: Creating Your Mission Statement

In Branding by Ed Williams

Mission statements have been these really drawn-out, poor dissertations that don’t mean anything to anyone but the person who made it. And even they can lose meaning in it. In the past, we’ve made these statements lofty, fancy, and inactionable. But today, we’ve seemed to have finally gotten it together and make them useful.

Your mission statement should be a statement that people can actively check their work ethic, client interactions, and projects against to make sure they are aligned with it. If it follows the terms and conditions below, your mission statement will be able to create culture that becomes an asset, and create a living set of beliefs for your organization.

You want to create a statement that challenges, inspires, and pushes the people (or you!) in your organization to meet and exceed it as it will end becoming your call to action and soul of your brand.

The 7 guidelines

We’re not into the business of winging it and hoping for good fortune. Remember: we’ve always have to be deliberate and intentional with our success. These 7 guidelines will get you moving in the right direction with your mission statement:

  1. Your mission statement must be Practical. Leave the ambition in the vision statement. We’re physically in the now with this statement.
  2. It must be Tangible.
  3. It has to be Clear and Simple. Don’t dress it up with difficult words and fancy sentence structure. There’s dignity in simplicity.
  4. Avoid elaborate language and buzzwords. No jargon necessary.
  5. You can Easily explain it to others. Can you remember 5 paragraphs of a mission statement? I surely can’t. You should know your statement inside out and sum it up in a few words—even if it might be a few sentences.
  6. It Should not be confused with your Why or Vision Statement.
  7. Last but not least, it Should be recognizably yours. This is an elaborate way to say don’t copy someone else’s mission structure. Develop your own. Don’t worry about your competition. You’ll soar more being different and providing value and meaning to your target audience than doing exactly what someone else is doing.

Develop your mission statement with these 7 questions

Now that you’ve got your do’s and your don’ts, let’s get into constructing one with these questions:

  1. What do you/we do?
  2. For whom do I/we do it?
  3. What’s the broadest way to describe the work?
  4. Why do I/we serve our clients the way I/we do?
  5. How do I/we serve our clients in the way that we do?
  6. Why am I/Why are we in this industry?
  7. Why did I/we start this business?

Keep your answers simple. 1-5 worded answers if possible to keep focus and avoid fluffing it up. Pull focus in first, then broaden it. And use exciting words to inspire action. Your answers should also capture business goals and philosophies that underlie your organization and be an expression of your brand’s personality.  

Conclusion

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

From Gmail, to Google Now, to Google Photos, all of the Google’s projects meet that statement. From Project Loon, which will put free wi-fi enabled hot-air balloons in the air to get Internet to everyone (universally accessible), to Google Inbox, which turns email into a streamlined, to-do list (useful), everything spinning out of Google is to move that mission statement forward. It’s simple, memorable, timeless, and to the point. And your mission statement can be too.

What issues are you currently having with your mission statement? Is it too long? Too confusing? Isn’t actionable enough? Let me know by emailing me so we can get to the bottom of it.

All the best and God bless,

-Ed