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When you are developing a brand for your company, one of the most important considerations is your mission. It is your mission that should drive everything else that your business does. I look at it as the internal anchor for everything else that you do in your business. It’s that important.

Up until this moment, you may not have considered a mission statement to be very important…or relevant to you. Perhaps you are under the impression that mission statements are just for non-profit organizations or Fortune 500 corporations. And let’s face it – you’ve probably read a lot of mission statements that are reeeeeally boring. They don’t get you all fired up.

Unfortunately, in recent years mission statements have become watered down in the corporate world to the point where they are essentially meaningless and have negative connotations. In some business circles, mission statements are received only slightly better than tax increases.

In addition, most marketers don’t talk about your mission because they don’t think it has anything to do with your brand.

But they’re wrong.

Your Mission is Your Core Purpose

Knowing your mission will accelerate your brand like nothing else can.

“I believe that purpose and principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they’ll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs.” –Dee Hock

Why You Should Have a Strong Mission Statement

Kinesis approaches branding as a process (not a project) – one that has deep roots inside each company’s mission. A well-crafted mission statement can provide the focus and motivation you need to take your business to the next level. These are the values that drive your business personality, customer service, and marketing messages. In fact, your mission is the soul of your brand. It is your Why. It is the very reason that your company does what it does.

Your mission is about getting really clear and staying really focused. It provides your company with direction. It helps you find the right customers…your most profitable customers. I call this your internal branding. Your mission is something that you should write and post in places where every single member of your staff can see it. As the leader of your company, look at your mission often during the day. Remind yourself of it. Then live it and breathe it. Every. single. day.

Your mission statement should be the driving force behind everything that your team does within your company, and externally with prospects, customers, vendors, and associates. It also shapes your internal corporate culture.

One of the reasons your team needs this anchor is to stay on track. It is so easy for business professionals to get bogged down in the day-to-day of our business lives. We get our to-do list tunnel vision and lose sight of the big vision. Your mission statement always reminds each person in your company of your overarching raison d’etre…where you are going…what you are doing…and why you are doing it.

How to Develop Your Mission Statement

To develop your mission, here are some questions to ask:

  • What do we do?
  • For whom do we do it?
  • Why do we serve our clients in the way that we do?
  • How do we serve our clients in the way that we do?
  • Why are we in this industry?
  • Why did we start this business?
  • What image of our business do we want to convey?

When writing your mission statement, use vibrant, exciting words. Get really clear about your passion and values for operating your unique business. Create dynamic, visual images and inspire action. Describe your purpose using unusual, colorful verbs and adjectives to spice up your statements. Drop in words like “passion,” “sizzle,” “outrageous,” “fun,” and “marvel” to add zest. Keep your mission statement fairly short and make sure that it feels really good when you read it and say it. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business’s goals and the philosophies underlying them. It signals what your business is all about to your customers, employees, suppliers and the community.

And, woweeee!

When you live your mission through your business brand, then amazing, phenomenal things start to happen. Your perfect, dream clients are drawn to you. People get really excited about what you are doing. They spread the word to their friends, they sign up for your services, they give you great testimonials. You get more customers, make more revenue, and your business grows with ease. And best of all – your team is more creative and having more fun than ever before because everyone is in absolute alignment with your Why. (Click here to read more about your Why)

Examples of Mission Statements

Let’s look at some phenomenal examples of other brands and their mission…their “reason for being.” This should help you get some ideas for developing your own.

Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

Chevron: To be the global energy company most admired for its people, partnership, and performance.

Amazon: To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.

Intel: Delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.

Ebay: Provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.

Here is my challenge to you and your company: Write a mission statement with a goal that’s an action, not a sentiment. Make it quantifiable, not nebulous. If you have an old wonky mission statement that sounds like a corporate Hallmark Card (you know what I’m talking about), then take it and rip it to shreds. Then reflect on your true passions and values, and write a mission statement using the guidelines above that reflects the difference your business will make in the world.

After you write your mission statement, your next step is to make sure you have strong company values. We have two articles to help you:

How to Write Remarkable Company Vales Part 1 and

How to Write Remarkable Company Vales Part 2

Hire Kinesis to Grow Your Business

Developing a mission is one of foundations that we emphasize in our work with business leaders. Click here to learn more about the Kinesis approach to marketing and business consulting.

Wendy Maynard

Wendy Maynard is the Strategic Director and co-founder of Kinesis, an award-winning marketing firm and business consultancy. She has over two decades of experience as a marketing strategist, business consultant, and executive coach. You can find her on Twitter and

Read more of Wendy's blog posts.


Comments (17)

  • I couldn’t agree with you more! Mission statements answer the “Why?” part of why a customer should care.

    A well crafted, not full of bull, mission statement can guide the development of not only a useful product, but also an innovative marketing strategy.

    By skipping the mission statement all together, or by glossing over it with technical garbage nobody wants to read, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

  • Sarah Miller says:

    Wonderful insight! I love your comment about the corporate Hallmark card, and yes, we all know exactly what you’re talking about! The days of cheesy fluff are over.

    The mission statement is simply, “What do you do, how do you do it, and WHY do you do it?” This question can be difficult to narrow down, but once you have it, it’s gold. If you can repeat your mission and apply it to everything you do for the company, it’s a winner.

    Sarah

  • Anna says:

    Great article Wendy. This really gave me the direct pointers I was needing to hear to revamp my mission statement.
    Thanks!

    Anna.
    annacaitlinphotography.com

  • Eva says:

    This was very useful! I’m helping a friend start a business and we need all the help we can get, especially since we’re not in the business of retail. It’s more of a conceptual, advice business and a mission statement is exactly what people are going to refer to when they hear of us (eventually). Thank you!

  • Robert Shinn says:

    Very good and insightful. How do you create a mission statement for a start up? Do you use these questions and give the answers you would like to see?

  • Wendy Maynard says:

    Hi Robert,

    Yes. It’s essentially the same process but you have to make some assumptions since you don’t have all of the experiences under your belt. One of the things that you should also consider is “Why am I starting this company? What about the idea drives me forward?” A company’s mission is typically something you (and any other partners in your start-up) hold near and dear.

    In a year or so, revisit your mission to see if it needs refinement based on your actual work with customers. It doesn’t have to be static, a mission can be dynamic and evolving.

    Also, stay tuned to the blog – I have a post coming out that provides my further philosophies on company missions.

    Thanks, Wendy

  • I love what you guys are up too. Such clever work and coverage!

    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve added you guys to
    blogroll.

  • Wendy Maynard says:

    Thank you so much!

  • Lisa says:

    Hi, Wendy.

    This is perfect insight on Mission Statements for our Marketing Management class project. Very well written with so many pointers.

    Thank you!

  • Wendy Maynard says:

    Thanks Lisa – glad it was helpful to you!

  • Crystal says:

    Would you say that now that it’s almost 4 years after you wrote this article that it is still relevant? I’ve read several things that say that mission statements are becoming gibberish and are losing their relevance. Thank you!

    • Wendy Maynard says:

      Crystal – Oh my gosh, thank you so much for writing that question! Yes, yes, unequivocally yes! Everything that I wrote is not only true, but becomes increasingly so. As it becomes easier and easier to copy products, the only truly defining unique attribute a company has are it’s people and the way in which it does business. People are driven by purpose, which a mission which is lived by a company provides.

      Best, Wendy

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