July 20, 2016
Nail your mission statement and speak to the right people in exactly the right way.
Focused but all-encompassing, professional but personable, your mission statement can and should do it all.
For AAA mission statements, always make your words relevant to your customers, partners and employees.
Your company’s mission statement can make a stunning first impression, or it can fall completely flat.
In just a handful of words, your mission statement needs to accomplish several goals:
That’s a best-case scenario, and often company mission statements don’t even nail one of those goals. But done well, mission statements can be leveraged to create a bond with whoever your targets are, from new clients to new employees.
Mission statements reveal everything about your business that readers need to know. It needs to pack a punch, draw people in, and be actionable in some way.
Writing the perfect mission statement for your company means asking the right questions. What’s your key demographic? What value does your company offer those people? And more than what you do, how does your business conduct itself?
But there’s no need to overthink this. Writing a great mission statement boils down to five important guidelines. So let’s jump right in, shall we?
Want to hear a really bad mission statement?
Building a better future. Together.
What does that even mean? How are you building a better future? Why do you need your customers to help you? What are you even selling?
It’s all fluff, and fluff makes for terrible mission statements. This company could be selling anything from wind turbines to after-school tutoring, and we’d never know based on the mission statement alone.
Give your statement substance.
Even if your company targets multiple buyer personas, your mission statement has to cover the bigger picture in order to avoid alienating any one group of customers.
If you find yourself struggling to come up with a mission statement that’s both overarching and focused, consider this simple question: what connects everything you do? Is it technological advancement? Ending poverty? Making money for you and your clients?
Base your mission statement on something everyone relevant to your business can relate to.
What happens when your mission statement fails to deliver emotion? Boredom.
The greatest way to slight any person you meet is not to insult them, but to ignore them. Anger and happiness are opposite sides of the same coin, and both demand attention. And while we’d rather not leave readers of your mission statement feeling angry, we definitely don’t want them feeling absolutely nothing.
Your mission statement doesn’t have to do it all, but it should create some strong emotional response in your target—whether that’s inspiration, happiness or something else altogether.
If you were a plastic surgeon, the last thing you want to do is make a mission statement about “delivering precise results with a methodical, data-driven approach to patient service.” You can just picture the image on their home page, right? A smiling doctor holding a clipboard or something like that? Yeah, me too. And I’m not trying to make fun of anyone hear—the fact is, bland messaging causes people to associate you with cliches and we do not want that.
Instead, you’d want to focus on the happiness and new-found self-confidence plastic surgery can bring—positive emotions every patient wants to experience.
Different from creating emotion, your mission statement must connect with key buyers personas and to do that, your brand must behave like a person instead of a distant corporate entity.
The key to acting like a person is by talking like one. Use conversational language—you might think it makes your brand look amateur, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Readers of your mission statement want to feel that your business “gets it,” and the fastest way to convince them otherwise is by writing a mission statement like a robot or a college textbook.
Continuity is not the same thing as rigidity. Like your business, a mission statement unable to grow and evolve over time isn’t long for this world.
At the same time, your mission statement can’t be so formless and nebulous that it can’t be firmly grasped by prospects. While your mission statement needs to have focus, it must also remain broad enough to survive tweaks and changes to your own business and branding strategy without alienating customers and potential employees.
If you run a non-profit bakery that donates proceeds to animal shelters, you shouldn’t make your mission statement focus solely on baked goods—if you ever shift gears or expand to other areas, all of a sudden your mission statement becomes obsolete.
Again, find the unifying theme that ties everything together.
Creating a mission statement might seem like a lot of work, and maybe it is. Put a lot of thought into your statement and get it right the first time, and you’ll have a powerful mission statement built to evolve with your company, cover all your bases, and speak to everyone who’s relevant to the success of your business.
It’s a tall order, but the results are worth it.
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