Public relations is a significant part of a business’s success. How do you customers view your company, product or service? How can they know what to expect from you (and inevitably compare their experience with those set expectations)? Many organizations understandably have a love-hate relationship with mission statements. As a result, they are often written out of rushed necessity instead of careful consideration. But what details signify a strong mission statement and why is it so important to have one?
First, a good mission statement will clearly define the following elements: cause, action, and impact. These three elements unite your mission statement. Although it is preferred to state each of these explicitly, the statement remains plenty effective when one is clearly implied. Let’s get into more depth and break down a couple of examples.
Ask yourself these three questions: What do we do? Who do we do it for? Where does it happen? The answer to these three question become the fundamental definition of your cause. Nike’s mission statement is as follows: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” As you can see, Nike’s mission statement includes all three elements of a good mission statement. Short, sweet, and to the point. Even better? It includes buzzwords such as inspiration and innovation that connects with your customer’s emotions.
Amazon’s mission statement is an example of when it works even when one of the elements is implied. Amazon’s mission is “To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.” In this case, what they do is two-fold, while it is implied that anyone in the world with access to the internet is their customer.
Now that you’ve established what you do, you want to briefly explain how you do it. Starbucks does this very well in their mission statement: Their mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Replace the hyphen with the word “through”. You now have your ‘how”: “one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. Gradual change.
This is where your customers’ expectations come into play. When you explicitly tell them how you’re going to accomplish this goal, they know what they can reasonably expect from you and then can hold you to those expectations!
Except in rare cases, this is the one element that is implied most of the time. Your impact includes the changes, both long-, medium- and short-term, you strive to make and see.
From the previous examples, you can see that Nike hopes to impact the world through the reminder that everyone can be/is an athlete. As default, Nike encourages living a healthy life, through exercise.
By making all things available and accessible to everyone, Amazon impacts the world by make it a more affordable and convenient place. That way people can enjoy and put more emphasis on other parts of their lives such as work and their families.
Maybe you thought that a mission statement was irrelevant to your business or that this need was only reserved for Fortune 500 companies. Well, I’m happy to inform you that that’s not the case! Companies big and small benefit from having a strong mission statements. Having one helps a company get really clear and stay really focused. Once you have broken it all down and have a simple answer, this becomes the driving force behind everything your business does. It becomes a guide for any decision you make regardless of how big, small, or number of people it impacts. This includes internally with your employees, teams, and shareholders and externally with your customers, prospects, vendors, and associates.
It also provides a company with direction and outlines goals to accomplish. It’s a road-map to success for your company within certain boundaries like your industry. No one can predict the future, but it gives each member of the company a clear view of what company leaders want the future to look like, thus aligning everyone’s understanding of what we do and where we’re going. Lastly, it shapes strategy and improvement. There is no need to copy competitors and jump on the bandwagon. A mission statement provides room for evaluation, improvement, and innovation. When you know what you’re measuring, you can make changes to insure you’re hitting each benchmark.
You have a mission. Every business does. So, here’s my challenge to you. Take a look at your mission statement and see if yours could use some tweaks. Even if you’re confident in your mission statement, just take a look anyway. Sometimes a mission has changed or modified and your statement should reflect that. If you don’t have one, make one! Just like when you want to accomplish a goal, it’s best to put it into writing. Even if you’re the only one who sees it. Keep it short, make it memorable, let it represent your business well. Because of the end of the day, a well-crafted mission statement can provide the focus and motivation you need to take your business to the next level.