Do you or the place that you work have a mission statement? Do you know the difference between a mission statement, slogan, or tagline?
When I ask people about their mission statement sometimes they’ll try to show me. They’ll pull out a company pen or one of their business cards and they’ll say, “Here it is, on my business card.”
While it may be possible to have one printed on a business card, usually this is a slogan or tagline. The same is true for other advertising materials like promotional flyers, billboards, and anything digitally produced or displayed.
Not sure about what one is? You’re not alone. Even the characters in the hit movie, Jerry Maguire (1996), didn’t seem to understand the difference between a memo and a mission statement.
Not a Slogan or Tagline
Technically a mission statement is a short writing around 150 words or less that represents all that the business or organization is, and all that they do. The length can vary, and I have seen them take up several scrolling pages on a computer screen or represented through just one or two sentences.
At a minimum you should consider:
- Why. The why of the business or organization. Why is it around? Why does it exist?
- Customers. Who are the customers, not by name, but by definition or demographic.
- What. What goods or services does the business produce or deliver.
- How. How does it deliver? It might be through retail, on-line, or a mixture. It might manufacture, sell, or provide services.
When developing a mission statement you’ll want to think about what the organization means to its customers and partners? What is the core purpose, and why does it continue to exist?
A mission statement is typically not used in marketing or advertising, although it is not uncommon to appear on a website.
It’s often considered to be an integral part of a business or strategic plan. It might be something that a bank or loan officer has some interest in so that they can better understand the business model. Your accountant might be curious and your employees should definitely be acquainted with what it is and where to find it.
There are many variables and much leniency. It’s your slate you write it.
Remember that those short blurts of pizazz on a pen or business card are most likely taglines or slogans. They are not a mission statement.
Importance of a Mission Statement
Smaller businesses or organizations (bigger ones too) might fail to see the relevance of having a mission statement. They don’t understand the need or the connection to business success.
Regardless of the type of business, the sector, or even its size, every employee should have a job that somehow connects to the mission statement.
Businesses that effectively understand and properly use a mission statement will have employees that are more driven, more caring, and certainly much more engaged.
Do you have a mission statement?
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.