A good mission statement can put you above your competitors, if you have the belief and courage to fulfil the promise you declare.
Muhammad Ali’s speech before he won the world title against Sonny Liston in 1964 is an amazing example of a mission statement:
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
What is a mission statement?
According to www.businessdictionary.com a mission statement is:
‘a written declaration of an organisation’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. Properly crafted mission statements (1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, (2) clearly state which markets will be served and how, and (3) communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organisation
Put basically, it’s a short punchy paragraph which showcases what your value you are creating for your audience and the wider community – it’s your business philosophy and plan, put succinctly.
It’s your purpose.
Why is a mission statement useful for content marketing?
Your mission statement is your guidance of what your company is here to do and should help support and guide your team in understanding how to produce content that upholds this statement.
Your mission statement should act as a reminder to you what you need to produce and what you should stay away from.
As your mission statement should represent what you do, all your content should reflect what you promise in your statement.
Take my website, Murray Dare where our mission statement is:
‘To empower people to consistently grow their businesses with effective value-based content marketing’
From my mission statement you can see what my aim is, clearly. My team and I know from this what we need to do, in terms of producing quality content.
My clients know what to expect too – and the kind of marketing methods I am likely to explore and suggest to them when they hire me.
What does our mission statement do for us?
For us, it means focussing on what we promise and sticking to it.
We are here to support, advise and educate small (and large) businesses to use content marketing so they can grow and build on their brand, spread awareness and get a return on investment.
All our recommendations and approaches align to this mission.
We talk about consistency in our mission statement because our belief is that content marketing delivers results across the board. We believe that the businesses we help will consistently benefit from using our approach.
How does your mission statement align to the problem you are trying to solve?
A solar panels business wants to sell more solar panels.
They come up with a mission statement which looks something like this:
‘To educate the public about the benefits of solar panels and support the widespread transition towards an environmentally cleaner and smarter way to power homes.’
From a value-based content marketing perspective, this mission statement identifies clearly how to strategise and implement their content accordingly – it tells the customer the problem they are solving.
To back up their mission statement they need to give lots of advice and information on solar panels and why they are a better choice, as well as reasoning and evidence as to why homes should make the transition.
What they shouldn’t do is talk about anything else that isn’t directly related to their mission – ie. underfloor heating or broadband.
A good mission statement enables you to stick to your purpose while giving value to the customer – which is offering them a solid unwavering solution to their problem. Everything else should build from this.
Your mission statement is your compass.
So, make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
You need a plan of action to keep you on track and motivate you and your team, the mission statement helps you keep your goals and aspirations at the forefront and informs the ethos, purpose and value behind your content.
You can see it as a guideline for your content – a reminder on how you are solving the customer’s problem.
Examples of good mission statements
A good mission statement should be concise, accurate and memorable.
It should include your long-term goals and describe how you are going to implement them with meaning.
Have a look at some of these mission statements:
Google:“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Facebook” Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together…”
Starbucks:“To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Kickstarter is a funding platform which supports artists and creatives in their endeavours and work.
Note Kickstarter’s mission statement, it is simple and to the point:
‘To help bring creative projects to life.’
What’s great about this is how simple and concise it is. There’s no nonsense, and it is realistic with just the right amount of passion. And, crucially, it does what it promises.
Examples of bad mission statements
Astonishingly, there are some huge brands that have made the most appalling mission statements, some haven’t even bothered to write one.
Take these examples:
BP we seek to display some unchanging, fundamental qualities – integrity, honest, dealing, treating everyone with respect and dignity, striving for mutual advantage and contributing to human progress.’
What does this mean?
Can we gather anything about what BP does from this mission statement?
Altruism is great – but aren’t they an oil company in the first instance? They’re not saying anything about what they do.
Building a marketing plan for BP with this mission statement is impossible – because the statement doesn’t reflect anything the brand actually does.
It is vague and there is no mention of the brand’s main purpose – digging for and selling oil. There is no business goal.
It sounds like it was made up in about five minutes flat.
And an example of pure waffle:
Virgin Atlantic Airways:‘As the UK’s second long-haul carrier, to build an intercontinental network concentrating on those routes with a substantial established market and clear indication of growth potential, by offering the highest possible service at the lowest possible cost.’
It’s surprising that a global brand with entrepreneurialism at its centre has such a bland mission statement.
Creating your mission statement
Before you begin, it will make your life a great deal easier when preparing your mission statement if you do some groundwork.
- Brainstorm your ideas with your team – really identify what are your core values and purpose, and who you help and why.
- Ask around. Once you have your fundamental ambitions defined, ask others what they see as your values, ethos and purpose.
- Be careful to avoid buzzwords and hype and keep it short and concise.
- Check and check again. There’s no limit to the amount of times you can check you are reflecting your values in your mission statement.
Look at your current content marketing
If you want to create consistency and trust, it’s imperative that you align your content to your mission statement.
There must be a connection between these two parts of your identity before you can expect to build a true connection between you and the customer.
Align your content marketing plan to your mission
Once you’ve got everything out on the table and can clearly see where your content marketing aligns with your mission statement, you can then spot where there are gaps or contradictions and re-purpose your content marketing plan around your new statement.
This process will provide you with that all-important consistency your customers and clients need.
You can then rest assured that all the content you have and will create in the future should always be consistent with the set direction you want your business to go.
Find your true north with a great mission statement!