Your Mark, Your Mission: The Fine Art of Mission Statement Development

| by Christina McQuilkin

 

When a prospective customer wants to know more about your business, what do you think they look for? A long-winded, in-depth company history on your website? An elaborate, blog-length outline of everything you do that results in a ten-minute read? Absolutely not.

 

Connecting with your target market is a double-edged sword—on one hand, they want a transparent view of who you are, as they are far less inclined to buy from brands that they don’t know and trust. On the other hand, today’s communication is done in bite-sized bits, and keeping your message concise is one great way to hold their attention. This leads us to the age-old question: how do you tell them everything they need to know without losing them on the delivery?

 

That is precisely what your mission statement is designed to do. Widely considered one of the fundamental elements of branding, your mission statement breaks down the who, what, and why of your business. If you’ve been wondering how to give your customers an open window into your world, this is the ticket, and we’ve got some tips to help you nail it.

 

Mission-Making Done Right

In essence, a mission statement is your company’s declaration of purpose—a brief overview of what you hope to achieve, what you believe in, and what impact you want to make on the world. While these are pretty vast and vague concepts, the process of selecting yours is probably less overwhelming than it feels. A lot of your mission is rooted in your brand identity, so hone in on your big-picture focus before you put pen to paper (so to speak).

 

 

We’ve mentioned the need for brevity in mission statements, so you could be wondering just how concise they have to be. While there’s no official guideline, keeping it short and sweet while hitting your company’s high points is recommended. In need of some ideas? Here are a few famous examples of mission statements that work well:

 

1. Honest Tea: “To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.”

Keeping it simple, Honest Tea took an excellent baseline approach, giving tea-drinkers around the globe a glimpse of the products they can expect to find with their label on them.

 

2. Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Always forward-thinking, Tesla took the focus off of the items they create and put it on their inventive nature, telling folks what they do before they know how they do it.

 

3. Universal Health Services, Inc.: “To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.”

In a stark contrast to the first two, United Health Services Inc opted for a very direct breakdown of the groups of people they serve, letting the public know exactly where their interests lie.

 

Pro tip: You may see both “mission statement” and “vision statement” thrown around in your research, and while the terms are different, they’re often blended to make their appearance more cohesive. Mission statements tend to be more fact-based and frank, while vision statements encompass the ideals and goals of the organization. That said, it’s perfectly acceptable to combine the two into one killer statement.

 

The Perks of Defining Your Mission

While we’ve touched on the importance of mission statements to your target audience, that’s not the only benefit they afford your business. Having a clearly defined mission promotes internal confidence as well, offering your employees a “true North” to rally around. Whether you’re going through the hiring process or you’re trying to strengthen your core team, giving them a mission that they understand and are proud of can do a lot to pull you all together.

 

Imagine you’re trying to fund a business expansion, and you have to meet with investors to describe your company’s goals. A mission statement could come in handy here, letting you drive home one central idea that you really believe in. Beyond that, understanding your mission can lend to confidence in your own organization’s efforts, which is pivotal for business owners at every stage.

 

 

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating Your Mission Statement

 

Do: Be Genuine

The most important element of your mission statement is authenticity—if you’re not being real with your customers, they’ll find out, and the result won’t be pretty. Be realistic, don’t make any crazy promises, and give them an honest view of your company’s strengths.

 

Don’t: Overthink It

As a business owner, no one understands your company’s vision better than you. Don’t sweat the candor of making a public statement, because your goal for your organization is already in place. All you’re doing is making it known. Go with your gut!

 

Do: Be Flexible

Contrary to what you may think, you can change up your mission statement even after you’ve decided on one. Should you find that your original idea doesn’t cut it, keep revising until it feels right. It’s worth the effort it takes to do it well.

 

Don’t: Be Afraid to be Inspired

While your mission statement must be totally your own, it doesn’t hurt to do some Googling to find out what other companies have to say about themselves. Take a peek at mission statements made by your favorite businesses (or even your competitors) to get a better idea of what yours should look like.

 

Do: Consider Your Targets

Understand that your mission statement will likely be equated with your brand in the public eye, and decide exactly what they need to know about you. Consider how your shareholders, customers, and employees will feel about it, and don’t be afraid to get some input from those closest to your business.

 

Don’t: Hesitate to Get Help

The ugly truth? We’re not all wordsmiths, and regardless of how good you are in your industry, you may not have a knack for writing well. That’s okay! There are digital marketing companies available to help you develop the right mission statement, and Disrupt Ordinary Marketing is here to do just that!

 

In the meantime, check out our Free Brand Development Worksheet by clicking below!

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Author: Christina McQuilkin

Christina helps small business owners craft content and strategies that focus less on "the sale" and more on the unparalleled value that we can bring into the lives of others.