SHOW NOTES Episode 1. Season 5.
Episode 2. Mission Possible - The Mission Statement
Show Objectives - The Why
In this season, we are building your Brand Pyramid.
A brand pyramid is a framework that answers most of the fundamental questions in a diagram that can be easily shared and communicated across an organisation.
Far from a trivial exercise, developing a brand pyramid forces consensus among senior management with regards to what the company wants to be, who it serves, why, how it should make customers feel and what the company’s core values are.
It also clarifies brand fundamentals and sets the strategic foundation.
In short, a brand pyramid keeps everyone rowing in the same direction.
Each week, we discuss the layers of the pyramid, what it’s objective is and give helpful tips on how to develop it.
The brand pyramid consists of:
This week, we discuss the foundation of the pyramid, The Mission Statement.
When putting this show together, I blended my 17 years’ experience with that of others I admire to give you the best advice possible.
Don't underestimate the importance of a mission statement. Every entrepreneur should write a mission statement early as they provide you and your employees with a framework and purpose.
So, how’s it done?
Developing your company’s first mission statement, or writing a new or revised one, is your opportunity to define the company’s goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making.
The daily routine of business gets in the way sometimes, and a quick refresh with the mission statement helps you take a step back and remember what’s most important: the organization has a purpose.
A really good market-defining story explains the need, or the want, or the so-called “why to buy.”
It defines the target customer or “buyer persona.” And it defines how your business is different from most others, or even unique. It simplifies thinking about what a business isn’t, what it doesn’t do.
Imagine a real person making the actual decision to buy what you sell. Why do they want it? How did they find your business? What does it do for them? The more concrete the story, the better. And keep that in mind for the actual mission statement wording:
“The more concrete, the better.”
This isn’t literally part of the mission statement. Rather, it’s an important thing to have in your head while you write the mission statement. It’s in the background, between the words. If you’re having trouble getting started, make a quick list of what your company does and doesn’t do.
Start your mission statement with the good things you do.
Use your why to figure out whatever it is that makes your business special for your target customer.
Don’t undervalue your business: You don’t have to cure cancer or stop global climate change to be doing good. Offering trustworthy auto repair, for example, narrowed down to your specialty in your neighborhood with your unique policies, is doing something good.
This is a part of your mission statement, and a pretty crucial part at that—write it down.
If your business is good for the world, incorporate that here too. But claims about being good for the world need to be meaningful, and distinguishable from all the other businesses. Add the words “clean” or “green” if that’s really true and you keep to it rigorously. Don’t just say it, especially if it isn’t important or always true.
For example, Apple Computer’s 2020 mission statement is:
“Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984.
Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
Apple’s four software platforms—iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS—provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud.
Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.”
Can’t argue with that!
3. Define what your business does for its employees
Good businesses are good for their employees too or they don’t last.
Keeping employees is better for the bottom line than turnover.
A mission statement can define what your business offers its employees.
My recommendation is that you don’t simply assert how the business is good for employees—you define it here and then forever after make it true.
Qualities like fairness, diversity, respect for ideas and creativity, training, tools, empowerment, and the like, actually really matter. However, since every business in existence at least says that it prioritizes those things, strive for a differentiator and a way to make the general goals feel more concrete and specific.
If you have a special view on your relationship with employees, write it into the mission statement. If your business is friendly to families, or to remote virtual workplaces, put that into your mission.
Some would say that it goes without saying that a business exists to enhance the financial position of its owners, and maybe it does. However, only a small subset of all businesses is about the business buzzwords of “share value” and “return on investment.”
Some need peace of mind about cashflow more than growth, and some want growth more than profits. Maybe you’re building a business that is a place where you’re happy to be working, with people you want to work with; so, write that into your mission statement too.
However, this element too, as with the suggestion about including employees, is unusual.
Few mission statements do it. That’s understandable, since most mission statements are outward facing only, aimed at customers and nobody else.
But I believe a mission statement is more internal than external.
Good mission statements serve multiple functions, define objectives, and live for a long time.
So, edit. This step is worth it.
Start by considering developing a full mission statement for internal use and using a vision statement for general publication. That’s common.
Part of the reason people confuse mission with mantra and vision is that many businesses use them together, and many others also redefine them to fit their context. So, what a company does for customers is often called vision, despite the formal definition.
Remember, form follows function, in mission statements, as in all business writing. Make it work for your business. Or don’t do it at all. If you want to call it a vision, and that works for employees and customers, then do that.
We are broadcasting live at 8.30am Australian Central Time every Wednesday.
Join me live or listen later for Building Your Brand with Richard Miller.
In the meantime, remember that great ideas will only ever be clever notions until you make them happen.
Written by - Richard Miller – Brand Director, Crisp & Co.
Innovation, creative content and strategic communication specialist.
Richard started his first business at the age of 14 and has thrived on creating and building entrepreneurial opportunities ever since.
He began his advertising career as Agency Sales Executive for TV network Channel 10 in 2006.
Experienced in both media sales and buying, Richard was responsible for multi-million-dollar media accounts as National Media Manager for Iceberg Media before co-founding Crisp & Co. in 2009 (formally Crisp Advertising).
Taking a pragmatic and results focused return on investment approach has established Crisp & Co. as the go to creative and communications agency for local and national businesses seeking expertise in business insight, creative content and strategic communication.
With a lifetime of experience operating small to medium businesses and working closely with both local and national brands, Richard is well positioned to take a holistic view of a full marketing and sales plan with a keenly trained eye on creative concepts and communication strategy.
Along with wife and work colleague Siobhan Miller, Richard also co-hosts the podcast series Mad Man & The Hospitalian; interviewing highly successful professionals from business, marketing and hospitality backgrounds around Australia, discussing the highs and lows of their careers and asking the ultimate question; ‘what is your definition of a fruitful life?’.
Find out more about Crisp & Co. here www.crispand.co and listen to Mad Man & The Hospitalian wherever you get your podcasts. Connect with Richard on LinkedIn
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