As posted in the Gaston Gazette
We all know that mission statements are a necessity: they’re a great way of communicating a succinct yet powerful bit of information about what your business really believes to loyal and potential customers. But the process of creating one? That’s a different story. Many business owners agonize over crafting the perfect mission statement and they let themselves get controlled by the process rather than feeling like they are the ones in the driver’s seat.
But the mission statement creation process doesn’t have to be painful. With a little bit of guidance, it can be empowering and successful. So where do you start? Here are a few ideas for ensuring that the mission statement you create is a memorable one:
- Make sure it’s a shorthand message of your beliefs. The categories that set most successful brands apart are rooted in one specific area: they are linked to the business’s beliefs and long-term goals. If you want to have a powerful, memorable mission statement, allow that mission statement to function as a shorthand message for communicating your system of beliefs. Take time to think about what really matters to you and what is fundamental to your business. If you can identify these answers, you’ll have a great shot at creating the kind of mission statement that will stick in people’s minds.
- Build a solid framework. One of the first things that will give you the best chance of creating a memorable mission statement is to make sure you start with a strong framework. That framework should define your purpose, identify whom you serve, establish your reputation and measure your success. In order to gather this information effectively, it will be necessary to tap your business’s stakeholders so that you have comprehensive, reliable feedback. It also may be necessary to hire a professional firm to assist you in sifting through the feedback to craft your statement. Using this four-pronged framework as a guideline, you can provide yourself with a strong foundation for launching this project.
- Keep it simple. Once you build your framework and fill in the necessary components, it’s very easy to end up with a mission statement that’s far too long. And one of the most critical parts of this whole process is creating a statement that’s succinct enough to communicate those components and stick with potential customers. So how do you accomplish that? One way to do this is in the way you think about your mission statement’s functionality: If you can craft a mission statement that is information-rich, that makes each word a necessity and that manages to grip customers, then the statement will be a success.
- Make it relatable. Memorable mission statements must be something to which people can easily relate. The mission statement for crowd fundraising company Kickstarter is “to help bring creative projects to life.” This tells customers exactly what Kickstarter’s focus is and gives consumers a clear opportunity for connection. That stands in stark contrast to the mission statement for Sony, which is short and sweet but a bit too cryptic to be effective: “A company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.” While the company’s vision further details what they do, Sony’s mission statement makes it hard for customers to relate to because curiosity is a very abstract term. And if you aren’t clear with your customers, it’s going to be very difficult to help them connect with you and keep them coming back.
- Make sure it evolves. No matter how simple and relatable a mission statement is, it’s not going to work long term if it doesn’t evolve. Sometimes businesses have a difficult time writing an effective statement because they’re aiming for something that will stand the test of time. But the best mission statements actually leave room for change so that they can adapt to the market and the client base. Mission statements such as Avon’s 2013 edition, which rang in at 249 words long and covered the gamut of subjects from fighting cancer to increasing shareholder revenue, can work initially, but sometimes need to be trimmed. The company changed their mission statement to be more specific and focused: “we will build a unique portfolio of Beauty and related brands, striving to surpass our competitors in quality, innovation and value, and elevating our image to become the Beauty company most women turn to worldwide.” Mission statements like this one that are adaptable make for mission statements with the most longevity.
Although the process of creating an effective mission statement can be daunting, the tips we’ve offered here should give you the confidence to start this process on your own. It’s a great step toward establishing a robust base of return customers who believe strongly in who you are and what you do.