The mission statement has become the text equivalent of the elevator pitch. It distills the entirety of your company — from culture to product, to experience to process — into a single piece of text. No pressure, right?
A mission statement has become so much more than a simple description. It serves as a kind of organic thesis statement, guiding your agency and culture forward while driving customers to your business. As the web increasingly becomes the first meeting place for businesses and their potential customers, the line between “mission statement” and things like “tagline” get blurred. There’s also an incentive to have a mission statement that fits inside a “description” meta tag — in other words, shorter, more concise mission statements make SEO sense.
It’s an important balance. Catchy but meaningful, pithy but not too simple, relatable but interesting enough to grab someone’s attention. At its core, despite how flashy, clever, funny, or sincere a mission statement is, it still has a few key questions to answer:
- Who is your customer?
- What do you do?
- How do you do it better?
Thinking about the purpose of a mission statement can make the task of writing one seem less daunting. Ultimately, if a person were to hear one statement about your business, what would it be? There are, of course, a variety of approaches. Here are just a few examples.
“Our passion crafts beautiful, thoughtful, brand-driven mobile solutions that take your business to new heights.”
Who is their client? Why, you, of course. This may seem obvious, but sometimes a mission statement can be a great way to communicate not only what you do, but what kind of clients you’re interested in working with.
What do they do? They craft mobile solutions. This is specific in medium, but broad in potential scope, and this is likely no accident.
How do they do it better? There are keywords sprinkled through this statement (beautiful, thoughtful, brand-driven) that subtly communicate the kind of culture you can expect from their agency, and their general commitment to quality.
“Yippa is a web & graphic design studio. We work with nonprofits and progressive organizations to create unique, creative and usable design solutions.”
Who is their client? “Nonprofits and progressive organizations” is targeted, yet flexible. Nonprofits, companies that support nonprofits, and progressive companies in general — their mission statement targets people who want to make positive change.
What do they do? They create designs.
How do they do it better? They have experience working with a specific subset of organizations, which gives them an advantage in the space. Additionally they emphasize uniqueness, creativity, and usability.
“Not your average design studio. We’re a family of freelancers. Hire one (or more) of us if you’re looking to cheer up. Pick your favorite Ghostly Fern and get in touch. Or else”
Who is their client? You. In a more general sense, the way this statement is worded implies a level of quirk (or at least an appreciation) that their likely clients will possess.
What do they do? Design work.
How do they do it better? They’re a “family of freelancers,” which implies they draw in talent with a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skill-sets, but calling themselves a “family” assures us that they’re not just a group of people who work together, they’re tight-knit and caring. I’m not looking for design services, but I still kind of wanted to email them. They seem fun. I like that.
Your agency’s mission statement doesn’t have to be bland and descriptive. It’s a crucial chance to distinguish yourself from the pack and tell your own personal story. So do it — tell your story. Sell your potential customers and employees on the intangible stuff that makes you different. A well-crafted mission statement makes a lasting impression, but a lackluster one just fades into the background noise.
A well-crafted mission statement will help you communicate with potential customers and reinforce core values with employees, but perhaps most importantly, will guide your agency into the future. Particularly the “how you do it better” section serves as an important way to remind your clients, your employees, and yourself why you do it, and what you bring to the table. Your customers have lots of options. So tell me, before we get to the lobby: why should I pick you?