I never knew the mission of the first organization I worked for. Throughout my career I’ve seen missions on elevator doors, on conference room walls, in small frames at front desks and on letterhead. But I always wondered, who were these external placements really for and was anyone stopping to really read and process?
Brand missions are partially what got me into this whole thing. I loved knowing them, dissecting them and mostly writing them. It had become apparent to me that far too many organizations had missions that they felt didn’t connect to their work or that were uninspiring. And then others had missions that quite candidly didn’t make a lot of sense or left you puzzled about what the statement actually meant.
There are several organizations out there who still think a mission is something they have to write, either for their bylaws, for their 501c3 application or for their audience. But what so many are missing is that a mission is first and foremost for themselves, and then it’s for others.
At Ladder, brand mission is defined as: Your present state and purpose. What you do, who you do it for and how.
Companies invest time and dollars into writing foundational corporate statements as part of their initial business development, but once you have a mission statement, it’s a start, not a completion. Don’t let it just be a statement, bring it to life.
We’re all living in an age where people are seeking and choosing mission-driven brands, so now more than ever it’s clear that your brand’s mission matters.
“Sixty-eight percent of Americans say they are more willing to share content from Purpose-driven companies with their social networks over that of traditional companies. But these consumers are willing to share more than just information about commitments to society and the environment, they are just as likely to share product information as well as promotions and sales and the company's overall mission.” (Cone Communications, 2018)
Here’s a few more reasons why having a brand mission statement matters:
Purpose: It’s a reminder of your reason for being and why you do what you are doing each and every day.
Strategic Decision-Making: It allows you to define your purpose and then realign with it at any time, when making any decision and considering a new partnership, program or event, you can ask yourself “does this align with my mission?”
Employee and Consumer Engagement: It provides another way for you to engage your employees and consumers, how can you bring it to life for them? How can you create ways for them to live your mission too?
Motivation: It’s for you. When you start an organization it’s because some need drives you or compels you in such a way that you can’t not work towards solving or improving it. Your mission should not only be a reminder, but a motivator of this.
Simply put, mission matters. And you should know yours without looking at a sheet of paper, but if you do have to look at it, then do so and ask yourself these three important questions:
1. Does it answer why my organization exists?
2. Does it motivate me or feel like a catalyst to serve an unmet need?
3. Can I recall a time or a specific moment when I’ve seen my mission in action?
This is the second post in a four-part series on strategy, mission, values and voice and why these things matter to your brand. Check back for Why Brand Values Matter, coming soon.