A mission statement serves no useful purpose other than decorating the wall in your lobby.
Business leaders and teams embrace with great enthusiasm the tried and true mission statement. For all the attention and effort the crafting of a mission statement receives from business leaders and the teams who create them, most of them sound something like this:
“Our mission is deeply rooted in a strong commitment to build long term, high impact relationships with our customers so we may leverage the existing equities within our effective product innovations to stay competitive in tomorrow’s challenging business environment”.
One of the components of my corporate identity and brand development consulting practice is helping business leaders and their teams define their unique value and why they matter to people.
Inevitably the process begins by the CEO who exclaims to his/her team, “We need a stronger mission statement!” Upon hearing these words, members of the team nod their heads up and down and the great work of crafting the definitive mission statement begins.
In my experience, most of these efforts are a complete waste of time and energy. Nobody outside the group cares.
Allow me to suggest something much simpler, far more powerful and useful.
Create a Mantra.
A mantra is defined as a word, sound or statement repeated frequently to aid in concentration of thought. In Sanskrit, mantra literally means “instrument of thought”.
Unlike a mission statement, a mantra is a short 3-5 word statement that clearly defines your promise to the marketplace and why it matters to people.
A mantra is a powerful, energy infused chant everyone inside and outside your organization can instantly get into their heads.
A mantra is far more useful in stating the value of your business to the marketplace than the verbosity of a mission statement.
To help you get started, here are mantras of some well-known brands:
Federal Express = peace of mind
Target = good design for everybody
Nike = authentic athletic performance
Patagonia = eco-friendly outdoor fashion
You get the idea.
There’s nothing complex, romantic, or clever about creating a mantra. A good mantra can even become a customer facing tag line. “We Try Harder” is a classic mantra example from Avis.
If you are in the process of tweaking your mission statement, perhaps you might create a mantra instead. Make it easy for people to know what your brand stands for and why it’s the one and only choice for customers.
Make sure it’s no longer than 5 words.
By the way, the mantra here is “inspired success”. In two simple words you know what benefit I promise to provide you and your business. I don’t need a mission statement to do that.
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