How to Write a Good Mission Statement

August
4th, 2016
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
August
4th, 2016
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder

Having a solid mission statement is like making a great first impression. It sets the tone for the relationship between you and your customers and serves as the backbone to your entire brand.

In a few concise sentences, it captures the essence of your organization’s personality—including your goals, values, philosophies, and more. One might even say your mission statement is the soul of your brand. (I just did.)

When done right, the process of creating a mission statement gives you the opportunity to institute an overall sense of brand identity. And so there’s no reason to shy away from incorporating it into sales and marketing, customer service, and branding campaigns of your organization. It shouldn’t be something you dread creating, but rather something you’re excited about as you dive deeper into the purpose of your organization.

“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, founder and former CEO of the Visa Credit Card Association

The Questions to Ask When Writing a Mission Statement

So how does one go about creating the soul of a company? Start by asking and answering these four questions: What? Who? How? Why?

  • What: What do we do? What industry do we serve? What is the nature of our products and services?
  • Who: Who do we do it for? Who are our customers? What can we do for them that will enrich their lives and contribute to their success? What roles do you and your employees play?
  • How: How do we do it? What level of service do we provide? How do we serve our clients in the way that we do?
  • Why: Why do we serve our customers in the way that we do? Why are we in business? What value are we bringing? What image of our business do we want to convey?

How to Start Writing Your Mission Statement

Writing (or revising) your mission statement is a process that should be treated with the right amount of time and dedication. Here are some tips that will help get you started:

1. Keep it Short, Simple, and Specific

This is a statement, not a paragraph or essay. In a few sentences, your customers should be able to read your mission statement and understand how you provide value to them. On that note, avoid buzzwords. Your mission statement should be understandable by anyone who reads it, whether or not they work in your industry. Be straightforward and provide genuine information on the purpose of your organization and the value you bring to your stakeholders.

2. Find a Balance Between Realism and Optimism

When answering the questions above, define what it is that your company really does and how you provide value. Then, convey that in your mission statement. Once that part is clear and concise, weave in language that is inspiring and optimistic. Hone in on what you’re set-out to do and then describe it in a positive way.

3. Don’t go it Alone

Test your mission statement with your team members. Better yet, include them in the writing process. Send out a survey or conduct a brainstorming session, and then distribute drafts of the statement to every team member, asking for edits. These team members are the heart of your company, and their opinions should shine through in the final version of the mission statement.

4. Let it Grow With Your Company

As your company evolves, so should your mission statement. Too often, mission statements are born with the creation of the company and then never looked at again. Instead, taking the time to update and revise your mission statement gives you the opportunity to be intentional about your company culture and brand as you grow.

5. Live it out in Everything you Do

Your mission statement isn’t something you write, put up on the wall, and never think about again. You’ve spent a lot of time developing it, so let it shine through on all of your culture and branding initiatives!

Examples of Great Mission Statements

See how the following companies utilize their mission statement by creating a brand entirely out of that one statement.

how-to-write-a-good-mission-statement-life-is-good

Life is Good takes the power of optimism to the next level with their mission statement, which expands into much more on their website. Read more here.

how-to-write-a-good-mission-statement-patagonia

Patagonia keeps it real with its straightforward mission statement. In just one sentence, they were able to convey their value and include an emotional connection. Read more here.

how-to-write-a-good-mission-statement-honest-ea

Honest Tea does an awesome job telling us exactly what they do and then adding in their main value props, leaving us excited to try anything they offer. Read more here.

how-to-write-a-good-mission-statement-stripe

Stripe exudes confidence in their mission statement by coming out first and foremost with their best qualities. We automatically trust them from the start and want to learn more. Read more here.

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