What Makes a Great Mission Statement?

By December 2, 2019Branding, Content Marketing

Donald Miller, creator of the StoryBrand Framework, raises a great point about the fundamental marketing message that most companies spend countless hours on, saying, “Most mission statements are forgettable and boring.”

In his workshop, Miller explains that a mission statement should grab attention, introduce a challenge, convey what the company does, define a destination and motivate employees all at once. That’s a lot to pack into a sentence or two, which is why the mission statement is often the topic of extensive meetings, reviews, and revisions. Through all of the wordsmithing, how do you know when you’ve finally arrived at an impactful and effective mission statement? Gut-check your message for the following:

Clarity

Many companies spend so much time refining their mission statement that the editing becomes counterproductive. You reach a point where tinkering turns solid copywriting into marketing garble.

If your mission statement reads more like a paragraph, trim it down. First, remove one unnecessary word at a time; maybe you even end up finding entire phrases that can go. Once the length is shortened, take a look at the types of words you’re using and consider replacing any fluffy language with simpler terms. A mission statement isn’t meant to be a mouthful; it should read and resonate with ease.

Authenticity

Does your mission statement include phrases like “superior service,” “value-added,” or the all-time kicker, “best-in-breed?” We’re not going to denounce the use of buzzwords altogether—but if you must use them, sprinkle them into your wordier materials, such as one-pagers or white papers. They don’t carry enough meaning to support a mission statement, where every word matters and any excess is magnified.

Purpose

“Because” and “we will” are great bridges to build around because they force you to get to the heart of your company’s mission. “Because” allows you to present your solution to a problem, while “we will” leads into explaining what you do and how you are filling a need. At that point, you might not necessarily need to single out your company culture, because your mission statement will be so strong that employees naturally connect with it.

In all of the above, the understated key to writing a great mission statement is to go into it with a strong understanding of your audience, values, vision and key selling points. Before you put marker to whiteboard, take the time to craft your brand. See our process at Netwave.