How to use your mission statement to create a powerful brand strategy
I talk to a lot of small business owners who get really stuck when it comes to talking about their business and explaining exactly what they do to serve their customers. I hear these things all the time:
‘I don't think I need a mission statement for my for-profit business.’
‘What’s the first thing I should say to capture their attention? I have hundreds of things that come to mind!’
‘I go blank when people ask me about my business.’
‘I’ve always thought of myself as a good writer but the more I try to do this, the less I feel confident in figuring this out.’
‘My business offers so many solutions, I don't know how to make it sound simple.’
The truth is it can be very hard to communicate what makes your brand unique and different in a concise and powerful way.
Is a Brand Mission Statement Necessary?
A business without a mission is like a plane without a flight plan. It’s going somewhere, but it's figuring it out as it goes! A mission is absolutely essential. It gives you a concise way to communicate a clear sense of purpose.
Without it, your sales team, employees, partners, customers or clients will be confused about what you do, because your brand message won’t be clear.
Unfortunately, most company mission statements are simplified overviews with vague summaries about their products and services.
As a result, their brand message ends up being either too bland, too long, too confusing, or, even worse, inconsistent.
This confusion is demonstrated on their website and marketing collateral, often leaving potential customers more confused about what the business does than they were before they visited the website or read the social media posts!
When people know what you do within a few seconds of talking to you or landing on your site, they have clarity, assurance and trust in your brand and are more likely to engage with you.
When you have a clear explanation of what you do and why you do it, it's much easier for people to give you referrals because it’s easy for people to remember!
What Happens When You Don’t Have a Clear Mission Statement:
People don’t understand what you do. And then this happens:
They leave your website or don’t buy because they don't want to spend time trying to figure it out.
You’ve missed an opportunity to build a connection and trust with someone who could benefit from your product or services.
People who actually do like you but are confused won’t tell others about what you do because they don't know how to explain it either.
They don't engage with your brand because they don't have a way to get to know your brand easily.
How to Create a Mission Statement that Instantly Connects with Your Clients
Use the Grunt Test (this is a StoryBrand concept). As you’ve probably heard, website visitors will leave a site if they don’t find what they are looking for really quickly (within 3-7 seconds) or if the site is ugly.
Help your potential customers know exactly what you do within 3-5 seconds of landing on your website by a crafting a mission statement with this easy formula:
What do you offer?
How will it make my life better?
What do I need to do to buy it?
As you write your statement refine it by making sure that it simply and accurately explains what you do all while differentiating your business so it stands out.
5 More Questions You Can Use to Differentiate Your Mission Statement
A meaningful business mission statement isn’t something you just throw together by listing your services. As you write your statement refine it by making sure that it simply and accurately explains what you do all while differentiating your business so it stands out.
There are questions you can use that will move you closer to creating one that resonates:
1. What is important? What do you value? How is your business connected to those things? What is the core purpose of the business?
2. Where do I want this business to go? What exactly do we do, and who do we do it for?
3. What does “the best” look like for this business? Describe your best possible result.
4. How do you want to people to describe your brand? How is what we do different from our competitors?
5. What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind? What kind of impact does your brand make? How do we make life better for our customers?
Bonus! Use it as a Decision-Making Tool
Once you have a clear mission, you’ll easily know if a certain activity or activity begins to steer you outside the mission you’ve established. When something seems a good idea but you have some reservations, you can regain your focus and re-establish your direction by asking these questions:
Is this opportunity/request/project:
A good reflection on this business?
Congruent with the direction the business is trying to go?
Part of the purpose behind the business?
Examples of Some Good Mission Statements
“To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.” (Warby Parker)
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” (Patagonia)
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” (Google)
These mission statements tells you who these companies are, what they do, and how they are different. They are also simple, clean and crisp. In the case of Patagonia and Warby Parker, they clearly state how they are carving out a unique offer for their audience while conveying their strong commitment to socially responsible business, a key part of their guiding principles as a company.
This article from HubSpot gives some great examples of how 10 brilliant companies are killing it when it comes to differentiating their brands.
☑ Take Action
If you’re interested in taking this a step further, check out Business Made Simple University. It’s an online learning platform which currently includes the course Mission Statement Made Simple.
You can also book a call with me if you decide you would like some 1:1 guidance as you start to create and implement a mission-based strategy that works for your business. I help businesses clarify their marketing message & brand story, and would love to hear from you.