Founder and CEO of Netwave Interactive Marketing, a branding, strategic and creative marketing agency.
Developing a mission statement calls for a mix of brand strategy, marketing analysis and emotion. Too much of one or too little of another, and the recipe just isn’t quite right.
When I ask clients for a copy of their current mission statement, it is almost always a conglomeration of everything they do crammed into one long-winded sentence (with superlatives sprinkled in). If phrases such as “best of breed,” “market leadership” and “outstanding customer service” are present, chances are the mission statement is overcomplicated and impossible to follow.
It’s time to boil your business down to a unified direction that every employee in your organization can uphold and every potential customer can understand. Here’s how to do it.
Distill Your Mission Statement
A mission statement identifies your purpose, which in turn helps you determine how to fulfill that purpose. Don’t play mission statement Jenga; rather than building it up, focus on distilling it. Keep it concise, and remember that there will be many opportunities to expand on what you do.
Consider the powerful and direct mission statements of some leading brands. You’ll notice that very few of them venture into the realm of specific product or service offerings. They are also devoid of the vague phrases I mentioned above.
Simplify Your Services
While the mission statement may not (or more likely should not) involve sales language, you can bring the same clarity and brevity to the way you market your services. You’re going to want a whiteboard for this.
First, list every service you offer, down to the nuts and bolts. Then, begin to group the pieces into service lines. For example, if you’re a financial institution offering several different mobile banking tools, they all fall under mobile banking.
Continue to condense. Mobile banking and online banking might be combined to become simply “digital banking.” Look for consistencies to guide your groupings. Keep going until you eventually reach one overarching service, which might very well be synonymous with your mission statement.
If your mission statement resembles a laundry list of services, it’s going to fall flat before it ever leaves the executive suite. You’re asking your clients to sort through your services on their own, which probably is not going to happen. Give them the essence of what you do instead, and you have a more compelling pitch that often leads to an immediate “gotta have it” response. It’s quite possible that your one single service could inspire a descriptive tag line for the homepage of your website or even for your entire brand.
Empower Your People
No matter how buttoned-up your branding, marketing and messaging may be, your services don’t sell themselves. Your people are the ones who make sales happen. Communicate what your one service requires from them — not just in sales, but also in customer relations and support. Choosing a team member to serve as an internal brand ambassador can help keep everyone connected and committed to your cause.
Welcome To The Age Of The Quick Win
It can be painful to simplify your business, and you may very well need the help of a professional who can approach it objectively. But realize that touting one broad service does not necessarily relegate you to a niche. It’s more of a tool to encompass everything you do. It also reduces your risk of failure when you start with one area of expertise in lieu of overpromising or biting off more than you can chew.
Whether you’re a business enlisting a service or a customer making a purchase, almost everyone is seeking an instant sense of assistance, accomplishment or security while navigating the current times. Do one thing, and do it well. Give them that one thing, right now, and grow the relationship from there.
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