Module 2, Step 3:
When the going gets tough, you have your Mission Vision
I’m not going to belabor Mission statements. Some marketers will have you think you need to do a spiritual retreat in order to define them. You don’t.
But, with the serious work that we’ve done defining our companies already, I’d be doing a disservice to not take us through this exercise. First, let’s define Mission Statements in practical terms. We used to talk about them in terms of how we’ll change the world and WHY (for pete’s sake, we MUST define the WHY!), but as I’ve worked with more and more locally-based companies, I began to see the futility in trying to convince the dentist, his staff and clients that we were going to “change the world for the better, one smile at a time”.
A good Mission Statement will define the What (product or service) we do, Who (target audience), and How (method that differentiates it) of the company. They are just two or three sentences and articulates what the company is about.
Expert tip (if you can address employee culture or community influence, you’ll knock it out of the park).
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A quick aside about Vision Statements
I’m bypassing the need for Vision Statements at this time, but I will define it for you in case it seems pertinent to you.
The Vision Statement is about the company’s future goals – ideally what this company would like to accomplish if it fulfills the company’s Mission consistently over X number of years. It’s a company’s passionate belief statements. Your own Vision Statement should make your heart pound a bit faster.
A Vision Statement is more based on the WHY rather than the What, Who and How. It should intentionally appeal to the emotions of interested parties.
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A PRACTICAL Mission Statement
A Mission Statement really should come from the business owner’s basic ideologies. It should act as a reminder of What are original intention was and HOW we respectfully help (Who). It should be inspiration for the tough times that lie ahead… because there will always be plenty of those.
It should also be a compass for employees to relate and buy into. And when they don’t, it’s clear they are not part of the culture that you’re trying to keep established. A GREAT Mission Statement ties the company’s ideology and goals to their employees… and often even clientele.
I have a client (periodontist) that wrote his own and I think its brilliant:
Cleveland Dental Implant Center: Our Practice & Core Values
Our goal as an office team is to consistently deliver appropriate periodontal and dental implant treatment in a caring and professional manner.
Our team is dedicated to work towards these objectives in a spirit of mutual respect and fun while we appreciate each other, our patients and our teams of referring doctors.
He has no illusions of becoming a world-famous periodontist. But, I will say this — his office absolutely exudes these two sentences. They are very caring, professional, respectful and fun. He even includes his referrers! All bases covered. It’s framed and mounted on the office wall as a constant reminder.
I’ll provide a couple more lofty Missions…but, I think they’re completely appropriate to the size and scope of the company:
“The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.”
The Coca-Cola Company
“To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.”
Getting started on our own Mission Statements
As with Value Propositions, service definitions, even our slogans, I think we should constantly be evolving and improving them. As we get a deeper understanding of our industries, our brands, our customers and our partners, we become adept at shaping them into powerful marketing messages that drive all of our promotional efforts.
Let’s get started below with the basics. Make a couple good efforts at shaping those basics into a meaningful definition of your company’s intentions, and then keep an open mind for future evolution via epiphanies, spouse/friend feedback, future partners with big ideas and so on.