Every company has a mission statement nowadays. You can’t navigate the web without feeling bombarded by the glorified purpose of some of the leading world brands.
As consumers become hyper-aware of the inner workings of businesses, simply stating a mission is no longer enough. A brand must be built around a mission, and it should practice what they preach.
How to build your mission
Brands such as Tesla, Amazon and LinkedIn are very different, but they are all driven by clear purposes that reflect the values of their customers. This is one of the things that makes them successful.
But how do you create an entire brand around a mission? Or, for those who are already long-established, how do you reconstruct your purpose and employ it across your brand?
Here are some of the tried and tested methods for creating a mission-focussed brand:
- Identify your brand values and beliefs
- Define your mission statement
- Live according to your mission
- Review over time
Identify your values and beliefs
We are all driven by our values and beliefs and a brand should be no different. Values and beliefs act as an everyday guide to drive crucial business decisions. They’re visible in every aspect of your company, from services and culture to marketing and sales.
Core company values may fall under several different categories, including:
Identifying your core values is critical for customer loyalty, business relationships, and the satisfaction of your employees.
According to LinkedIn, 73% of purpose-orientated employees are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 64% of employees who aren’t.
Define your mission statement
It’s easy to create a basic outline of your goals as a company, but this is not what a good mission statement does. Mission statements are concise sentences or short paragraphs that outline core values and give your business a clearly defined purpose. In short, it’s a statement that explains your existence.
The 3 elements that make up this statement are:
A good mission statement allows your customers to understand and fully connect with your brand. It also helps you stay on track and focus on what you originally set out to do.
For consumers, it sets you apart from other brands without limiting your own important business purpose.
Examples of statements that work
A powerful brand mission should stand out from the status quo, inspire your brand strategy, and bolster your company culture. Unlike registered trademarks, such as ‘Just do it,’ a statement acts as a guide or compass for your brand.
Here are a few examples from leading brands:
- Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
- LinkedIn: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
- Nike: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.
- Forbes: To deliver information on the people, ideas and technologies changing the world to our community of affluent business decision-makers.
Live according to your mission
Every decision that you make should be made in accordance with your values, and beliefs. If they aren’t, you could be called into question by your employees or consumers. Not adhering to the same honesty could derail relationships and make you seem untrustworthy.
This could negatively impact on brand trust and future business growth. According to marketing research from Adobe, 71% of consumers will stop buying from a business if brand trust is broken.
Review over time
It can seem daunting to review your mission when you’ve spent a long time defining it. However, it is vital to consider the organisational, economic and community changes that could impact your values and brand purpose.
One great example of an effective company mission would be Airbnb. Airbnb once described its business as a ‘global community’ where you can ‘belong anywhere.’
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the company refocussed and added the idea of connection to its mission. In a statement, Airbnb said:
We are a community based on connection and belonging, and we will continue to design new ways to provide for it.
- We will focus on connection and belonging
- We will prioritise the individual hosts who deliver it
- We will invest in building our community
As the world continues to change, people’s fundamental need for connection and belonging will not.
As with any adjustment, it’s important to practice transparency and keep stakeholders aware of a change such as this.
What’s the difference between mission and vision statements?
Although they are closely related, a vision statement and a mission statement are two different things. One simple way to understand the two would be to think of them in the context of time.
A company’s mission
Focuses on what the business does today, whereas a vision focuses on the company’s future and what the business wants to become.
Another way to understand the difference between the two is in the context of questions and answers.
A brand’s mission and vision
These answer different questions about your brand, which helps people understand your company better. A mission statement considers the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of your organisation, while a vision looks at the ‘why.’
This is a statement that describes the reason for a company’s existence. It considers the function, target audience, and key offerings you have.
This is a statement that looks into the future of a company. Some of the main elements from both statements might cross over. Vision statements, however, always thinks ahead.
Here’s a great example of a powerful vision and mission statement from Tesla:
Mission: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Vision: to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
The following statement from Disney is an example of how a mission statement and vision statement can be intertwined:
“To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.”
The importance of being mission-based
Although these brands are different, they are all driven by clear missions that reflect the values of their consumers. This is what makes them successful.
If your business idea supports your purpose, you’ll have a stronger chance of success. It seems that 63% of people prefer to buy quality products and services from a brand that reflects their beliefs and values.
A better everyday life
Brands and consumers exist in the same world at the same time. During this time, we’ve experienced a pandemic, racial injustices, and an all-consuming dread about the growing effects of global warming. People want brands to want the same thing as they do, and that thing is a positive change.
Mission statements, value statements and even purpose statements are key. Global values are changing, and the world’s leading brands have already started to adapt.