Originally published on November 10, 2014. Updated on April 13, 2020.
As someone who works in marketing and advertising, you might be surprised that I wasn’t a huge fan of mission statements until recently. I generally thought of mission statements as aspirational words that we use to describe how we want people to perceive us, which don’t really translate into real actions. Integrity, honor and fair play sound great, but what does that really mean as far as the company policies and practices?
How did I become a believer in the importance of the mission statement?
It’s an interesting story. A few years ago, we recently hired an amazing business consultant (more about that later), who assisted us in improving our processes and company culture. She helped us in so many ways and we are beyond grateful that we took the time to work on our business from the inside out. Our original vision and plans concerning Beacon Media + Marketing are now more aligned than ever with our daily actions.
Need help developing your mission statement? Contact us for a free consultation.
What makes a good mission statement
It was our business consultant that clearly showed me the importance of a clear mission statement. Not one that was general, with big sparkling words, but one that really gets to the heart of the matter. Why are we in business? What matters to us and why?
The mission statement itself is just the beginning. It’s the foundation on which your business is built with action. It took a lot of thought and soul searching, and what we found both delighted and surprised us. It was the story we’ve been trying to tell since we merged and formed Beacon Media + Marketing, but now it’s clear and intentional for all to see and hold us accountable to our principals.
In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, researcher Greg McKeown talks about the importance of clarity of purpose. A mission statement isn’t an airy statement filled with buzzwords and nice-but-vague intentions. It doesn’t matter what other people think of it. What matters is that it sets a clear and achievable goal that you can take micro-steps toward achieving every day.
Here are some examples:
- American Express: Our mission is helping others accomplish theirs.
- Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
- Patagonia: We’re in business to save our home planet.
- TED: Spread ideas.
See what we mean? Each one is very simple and very clear in its intention.
Read more: What is corporate branding?
Why mission statements matter
Mission statements aren’t just about sounding great to prospective clients. They’re about defining your company culture and allowing your team to work to the best of their ability. Say, for example, that you’re not able to attend a meeting yourself. The mission statement will provide a set of values that allow a team member to attend the meeting on your behalf, make decisions on your behalf and ultimately help the business move forward.
Here are three examples of how mission statements can help:
- Your Team: When you hire and train staff to represent your company, they are looking for evidence of who you are as a company. If you want them to represent your mission and values well, they have to know the foundation of where you stand.
- Your Clients: Famed business expert, Steven Covey, says it best. “People are hungry for authentic leadership that is mission-focused, leadership that draws on their lives’ meaning and purpose to prosper,” he says. Frankly, do you want to do business with a company that really doesn’t care about anything besides making a profit?
- Yourself: When days get rough as an entrepreneur, and they do sometimes, it’s easy to forget why you are working this hard. Does it really matter? A mission statement that is truly birthed from an authentic place of your vision and purpose for your business can bring you back to the why you are doing this and inspire you all over again!
Business has its ups and downs and plans constantly change and evolve to suit supply and demand. Getting the mission statement right will help your company stay on the right trajectory as it continues to grow.
Read more: Why is corporate branding important?
Real mission statement example
Marketing is a highly-competitive industry, because everyone is great at promoting their own brands. So how do you know which one to choose? It comes down to values. Are you and the agency a good fit for each other?
An easy way to figure this out is to look at each agency’s mission statement, because this will show if they “walk the talk,” so to speak. It will give you an insight into the agency’s values. One of the things we pride ourselves on at Beacon Media + Marketing, for example, is our transparency. Here is our mission statement:
To be a beacon of light in the often-murky waters of the marketing world. To operate with transparency, forward thinking, excellence and to always be competitive in our value and services.
We are Inbound Marketing and Social Media Experts currently serving Alaska and Arizona. We offer services in the areas of marketing, PR, social media management, event planning, graphic design, website development, brand development and management. We also offer niche publishing and publicist services.
Beacon Media + Marketing puts people and relationships first. Our founder, Adrienne Wilkerson, started our company because she saw a need for quality design and unparalleled customer service. She wanted to create a design team that focused on the goals of the client and needs of the audience, a strategic partnership between client and designer. Thus, Beacon Publishing + Design, LLC, was born.
In 2012, things changed for the better. Jennifer Christensen, from Amazing Grace Media, met Adrienne through mutual clients and they discovered just how dynamic they could be as a team. Amazing Grace Media became a division of Beacon and new opportunities began opening up for both companies. Through this partnership, Beacon is now a full service advertising and PR company with a fantastic suite of services to offer.
Our mission statement reflects who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going next.
Jennifer Christensen, Vice President of Marketing.
Let’s talk about your mission statement. Contact us today for a free consultation.